Kuroneko ★★★★★

Oh these japanese period films, all influenced by the great Kurosawa, filmed with the discipline of a samurai without completely abandoning its playful nature. When expertly combined with horror elements we get a creepy gem like Kuroneko. Scenes would start off slow and cautious, almost meditative. The actors move around with such mechanical accuracy, each step a rotating gear, each breath driven by clockwork. Even the dripping sweat that forms a pool on the floor are of perfectly symmetrical radius. Then the film catches us off guard by shrinking its attention span to that of an agitated cat, jumping and scratching around, shattering an invisible system that holds the film together, everything reduced to utter chaos. We are shown, in tiny glimpses, blood dripping off a woman's mouth, a missing lump of flesh, a close up of a black cat. Then silence, and fog. We move on to our next victim.

Filmed in black and white, it effortlessly unsettles its audience, because there is nothing paler than a #FFFFFF face, nothing more visually overpowering than a white phantom floating pass a pitch black sky. The people here talk about phantoms as if they are an everyday occurrence, as if just a small issue to be dealt with, like a pipe leakage, or the appearance of four dead bodies under four consecutive days. This surreal quality is what turns Kuroneko into a true nightmare, not the ones that jolt you awake at night, but a nightmare that lingers in your mind even long after you've woken up, the chilling sensation that you can never seem to shake off no matter how hard you try.


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