This Saturday, a new jhorror called POV Norowareta Film (or Haunted Film in English) starring Shida Mirai will hit theaters in Japan. Jhorror has been on a decline recently, but POV looks like it has the elements that made jhorror a global phenomenon, as well as the much needed updates in style and subject matter that will make it relevant today.
POV follows actresses Shida Mirai and Kawaguchi Haruna playing themselves, as they go to a school where they are filming a series for a Youtube-like mobile video-sharing site. This week, their show, which introduces popular videos online and investigates their background, is sharing a video of paranormal activity. But when they roll the camera, strange things begin to happen.
It’s been a while since I last saw a trailer for a jhorror and thought, “I want to see that.” POV has a believable enough plot and the acting looks solid, something that’s been lacking in the genre the past few years. It doesn’t rely on special effects, an area that Japan is weak in. The horror is more subdued and tasteful, something jhorror used to be renown for.
Most importantly, POV’s style reflects the changes that we’ve seen over the past decade in film. Other Japanese films, especially jhorrors, seem to have been left in the ’90s, ignoring the changes in technology such as smartphones and social media. In the last ten years, we’ve come to expect films to be more real. We’ve seen increases in lower budget, YouTube-influenced, found footage-style films like Paranormal Activity and The Devil Inside. With POV it feels like Japanese filmmakers have finally caught up with the times.
POV is directed by Tsuruta Norio, a regular in the jhorror genre. Most of his repertoire consists of straight-to-video horrors, but he has had a couple notable feature length films such as Ring prequel Ring 0 Birthday, Premonition, and manga adaptation Orochi. It stars the very cute Shida Mirai of jdrama Jyoou no Kyoushitsu and 14 sai no haha, who I must add is becoming a beautiful actress. Costarring is Kawaguchi Haruna of jdrama Ouran High School Host Club.
POV Norowareta Film comes out in theaters in Japan on February 18th. Hopefully, we’ll get a chance to see this film abroad sometime soon. Leave your thoughts and comments on the trailer and more below.