But I do remember stumbling upon a GI story on Shadows of Mordor earlier this year, and being blown away that neither GB or Joystiq had informed me of its existence. "Isn't an open-world next-gen LOTR game by Monolith a super great idea?" I said. "Shouldn't this be one of the biggest upcoming games?" I said. And LO AND BEHOLD.
(2005 Japanese found-footage movie about a documentary filmmaker who studies paranormal phenomena)
A master class in pure horror cinema. It doesn't concern itself with drama or romance subplots or trying to "say" something about the human condition. It's so relentlessly focused on one goal - creeping you out - that the 115 minute runtime feels long, even though there is little to no padding. There are also not many designated "scary scenes", and few if any jump scares (in a found footage film!) Terror is spread thinly but evenly across the entire movie, like butter on toast, or something.
I still wouldn't call it my favorite, as it's easier to love a conventional protagonist-driven movie like The Thing, but Noroi's execution is unmatched in the genre.
Okay this is not related to any of these movies (though it is a found-footage film) but I need to say this somewhere.
I saw Noroi: The Curse for the first time last night. It's really truly exceptional. Old news, maybe, since it came out in 2005, but on the subject of J-horror I see a lot more people mention Ringu or Ju-On than Noroi, probably because those were remade in English. I like Ringu a lot. Noroi makes Ringu look like a hobo.
You, person reading this right now: if you are capable of liking horror movies in a non-ironic way, you need to see it. And don't be drunk or have annoying friends with you. That's a great way to not enjoy a horror movie.
The black-and-white effect was pointless, since they shot it more or less like a modern color film (not much creative use of light and shadow). The acting was mostly terrible, even for amateurs in some cases (Shifty McMustache). It ran about twice as long as it needed to, and thus was padded with incredibly boring scenes of dude hanging around the house and holograms talking endlessly. The little girl character hurt the tension/sense of dread, and only existed so the protagonist could have some Character Moments (because strong characters are one of the pillars of Lovecraftian fiction.) And then they made the obvious fatal error of showing exactly what the creatures looked like. The CGI was bad, sure, but good effects would not have saved that scene.
I was left unsure whether the film makers saw Lovecraft as straight horror or pulpy, dated camp material. Making it b&w, and pitching it as a throwback to 1930s monster movies, kinda suggests that they were keeping the movie at arm's length, not sure how the final product would strike people. If anything came across as goofy, they could call it "retro".
Call of Cthulhu was not great, but okay. I liked it, because it gave the impression of people who were not experts but at least "got" Lovecraft on a fundamental level, and Whisperer in Darkness did not.