Aroview: A cult phenomenon in Japan and everywhere else it’s played, it’s since spawned a sequel, a prequel, both a Korean and American remake, and its spectre has crept into corners of most every Asian horror movie made since.
Ironic, then, that originality is not its strong point, with its stock construction of an urban myth tale – a journalist investigates a series of unexplained deaths, discovering the cause in a demonic video cassette that puts a curse on its viewer, leading her on a time-critical search to source the root of its evil.
Time has slightly dulled its shine (the original novel was published in 1991) with its almost-quaint analogue technology, and the post-pubescent target audience that is the mainstay of its American contemporaries. Still, with no special effects and not so much as a drop of blood, dir. Nakata has an implicit understanding that fear comes from within, and that the deepest, purest anxieties of the human psyche need only be unsettled by subtle manipulation.