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Kairo

Kairokairo
Released: 2001
Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Do you want to meet a ghost? Or rather, do you like your horror with a side of existential crisis? Is garden variety nihilism just too cheerful for your tastes? If the answer to any of these questions was yes, then Japanese horror has gifted you with a dark, unsettling gem that just may be up your alley.

Kairo was one of the most upsetting victims of the influx of American remakes of Japanese horror in the early 2000s. Some of these remakes got things right, or at least kept the spirit of the film intact (Dark Water is the best example of this), and some of them got things so very, very wrong. If you’ve seen the American remake of this film, Pulse, disregard everything you know about it.

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Loft

Loftloft
Released: 2005
Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Have you ever watched a film that left you so completely puzzled that you’re not even quite sure if your feelings lean towards positive or negative? A film that, if questioned on what the film was actually about, you’d probably stammer for a few minutes before vaguely describing a few scenes in the hopes that somehow you’d start to comprehend it yourself?

That, my friends, was my experience with watching Loft.

I’d heard of this film before – it is, after all, directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, the person behind such brilliant films as Kairo and Cure. I am unabashedly a fan of Kurosawa’s other work, so I certainly was excited to give this film a watch. And it does carry certain traits over that are common in his other works – a crawling pace, for example. Make no mistake, this one has a lot of the same atmospheric charm the others do as well – there’s just a strangeness to it that’s difficult to reconcile with his other films.

Loft follows Reiko, an acclaimed writer who is suffering from writer’s block when trying to work on her new novel. As a way of combating this, she moves into a quiet and isolated house to try and finish up the new book. She becomes intrigued by her neighbor’s strange behavior, and soon learns that the loft she is living in once housed a woman that has since gone missing.

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