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Writings on film. Shock and art. There may be blood.


J-Horror is a genre that originated in Japan in the late 1990s. The "J" stands for Japanese, but Korea has probably produced more films that fit the formula than has Japan. Taiwan and Hong Kong have also produced a number of such films, and several of the most successful Japanese ones have been remade in the US. These are atmospheric yet violent films in which a ghost seeks some form of justice that was denied to them in life. They are rooted in the traditional Japanese Kaidan ghost stories and combine elements of psychological horror with sequences of shocking violence. The ghosts are usually females, who due to the dominance of males in their society are more powerful in death than in life. It is very common for these films to contain some kind of comment on abuse and/or women's status in society. Audition and Freeze Me are related to the genre, although they have no supernatural element. Cure replaces the ghost with hypnotic suggestion.

The genre exploded with Hideo Nakata's Ringu and its hit American remake, The Ring. Sam Raimi hired Takashi Shimizu to direct the US remake of his own Ju-on: The Grudge. Takashi Miike's One Missed Call and Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Pulse are other notable Japanese titles. Korean entries are numerous and of rather consistently high quality. Chinese entries are of mixed quality but are always interesting.


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