A young girl is taken to hospital after fainting in class. There, she is found to have a cyst growing in her uterus. This cyst is actually the remains of the girl's unborn twin sister, who was absorbed into her body while in her mother's womb. The spirit of the unborn child begins to spread a lethal curse to all those who go near it.
The Ju-On series has become one of Japan's most successful horror franchises, spawning something like seven films (two direct-to-video films, two bigger budgeted remakes & a further trilogy of American-made remakes) & has earned a reputation as one of the scariest ghost stories ever to come out of Japan. Indeed JU-ON: THE GRUDGE has been holding the title of 'most terrifying ghost story' until the emergence of the ultra-cheap but ultra-scary PARANORMAL ACTIVITY & its various sequels. In 2009, two directors were chosen to make a pair of DTV features celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Ju-On phenomenon. The films – Ju-On: Girl in Black (also known as Ju-On: Black Ghost) & Ju-On: Old Lady in White (aka Ju-On: White Ghost) – were released simultaneously & run to an hour each.
Ju-On: Girl in Black is one of the most boring ghost stories I have sat through in some time. It is well-made in a technical viewpoint but the story is poorly developed. I understand that Mari Asaro was trying to make the film similar to Takeshi Shimizu's original franchise by using the non-linear narrative structure & bloodless fatal hauntings but Asaro stuffs up the concept & botches the story by relying too much on what has become clichés within the genre. Shimizu at least had the demented genius & made the Ju-On films scary to the point of being life-threatening to those with weak tickers by using some simple but very effective tricks (the unearthly croaking sound made by the female phantom of the franchise & the novelty pop-up effects coming from the strangest locations) but made sure these tricks were supported by the story. Girl in Black doesn't have that luxury. Mari Asaro fails to support the effects with a clear story & the visual effects look extremely cheap. Not to mention that the absence of the franchise's mother-&-son team of ghostly assassins has left a gaping hole in this film.
Having said that, the film does have some reasonable spooky moments but this fails to elevate Ju-On: Girl in Black to anything above functional mediocrity.
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