The originator of the recent (ish) J-Horror craze? Possibly. Its unnerving, its eerie, it offers up almost no answers at all and serves as a superb progenitor to the director's later Pulse, which updated the key themes and ideas of this for a more technological era.
On the face of it, a simple tale of a cop after a serial killer. However, the film interestingly starts off with a third strand, the cops wife - herself suffering from some kind of amnesia/mental health issues. This link to the other strands is telling as it introduces the idea that something isn't quite right with certain people. We see this illustrated in a throw away scene a little later as the cop is waiting to collect his dry cleaning and he's simply stood next to a guy having a very angry conversation with himself.......
......all of which leads into the idea of the film. There is no real reason behind these horrible killings, no motivation for someone who somehow has the power to make people to do these horrible things. But how? Does he literally have power to make them do something he's telling them to do? Or removing their own inhibitions, helping what's underneath come to the fore? And that's where the film starts to leave us to think on our own. The film ends with just enough to hint at a similar theme further explored in Pulse (a virus?), but its not overt. However by that point the power of the film isn't from this narrative but from its style - almost documentary-like, with no traditional score, just ominous, atonal sound effects and the rundown humdrum modernity of 20th century Tokyo (its only shot in crumbling, old buildings) being punctuated with brief but shocking acts of violence - some of which are graphic (face peel!), some aren't (a hanging reminds of the insanely powerful shot in Pulse of a young person jumping to their death in full view of the camera).
Its great stuff, but it is a hard watch. Rewarding so long as you don't need spoonfeeding, if you liked Pulse, you'll love this.
As Cas's excellent review said, PQ is not great. It looks similar to Pulse and Dark Water, with detail levels fluctuating from poor to ok and a level of grain that is both thick and at times very unnatural looking (not digital or frozen, more like the grain seems detached from the picture and sits in front of it rather than being part of it). The lossless Japanese 5.1 track is better but doesn't have a lot to do other than make the dialogue clear. The extras are interesting but more around the film rather than about the film itself (lots on Kurasawa's career, not a huge amount on the film itself).
Summary - eerie and affecting and similar to Pulse, if being possibly a little less obvious in its narrative, its still a great slice of '90's J-horror. And like almost all discs for peers, its transfer has issues and the extras don't delve enough into the film.
Cure User Review
Superbly eerie, yet knowingly obtuse horror that forces you to make your own mind up about what's going on......Review of Cure Blu-ray by Coz22998, May 13, 2018.This item was purchased for £12.50 (part of the from HMV in 2018. The reviewer still owns this product.
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