JU-ON: Origins' complex narration and atmosphere renews interest in franchise but many triggered by gore

After watching the initial episodes, a fan said, "human behavior is even scarier than the devil. Yes, it's the same in real life too,” echoing what many felt about the graphic violence


                            JU-ON: Origins' complex narration and atmosphere renews interest in franchise but many triggered by gore
Yoshiyoshi Arakawa and Yuina Kuroshima (Netflix)

Spoilers for ‘JU-ON: Origins’

‘JU-ON: Origins’ directed by Sho Miyake, and written by Hiroshi Takahashi and Takashige Ichise, is a six-part J-horror series on Netflix that takes Takashi Shimizu’s story and creates something new out of it. The series strays away from the lore surrounding the tragedy of Kayako and the Saeki family, something that has been a fixture of the ‘Ju-On’ and ‘The Grudge’ films.

The new story it creates while retaining the core idea of a curse born out of anger, affecting a small house in Tokyo and those who come in contact with it, is nonetheless extraordinary. The complex narrative nature of this series, combined with some truly disturbing tales of human depravity makes for an unsettling and unnerving watch. And it ushers in what can hopefully be a new era of ‘JU-ON’ stories -- a fresh start to a now-commercialized and mutated-beyond-recognition franchise.

Fans seem to love this new take. A fan of the new series wrote on Twitter, “The curse of the ‘Ju-On’ franchise isn't dead. Like any new restart, ‘Origins’ started slowly, but it was hard to look away when the mystery started building up. Complex narration with many characters and points of view, wrapped with an eerie atmosphere and gripping gore.”

The show’s atmosphere is indeed eerie. Kuniaki Haishima’s minimalist music and Kenji Shibasaki’s atmospheric sound effects keep the viewers hooked on to the show’s complex plot, complementing the hauntings and the tragedy rather than overpowering them.

Another fan wrote about the series, “We must wait long for the second season,” adding that “this is a good start for a new ‘Ju-On’ mythology that goes in a better direction than the unclear film series.”

A Twitter user noted about the show, “Just watched two episodes of ‘Ju-On’ on Netflix, and I don't think I can watch anymore, because human behavior is even scarier than the devil. Yes, it's the same in real life too.”

This holds absolutely true for the show. In fact, in the show’s second episode, Kiyomi (Ririka) is brutally raped by Yudai (Kohki Osamura). While it takes the story forward -- Kiyomi is never the same after that, and her life goes in a downward spiral -- it is nonetheless not an easy scene to witness. 

Another fan, while appreciating the show’s overall story and effect, alerted other potential viewers to triggering content in the show. They wrote, “I'm watching ‘Ju-On: Origins’ at @netflix and it's impressive how J-Horror is so disturbing. A spiral of evil and tragedy and injustice make the way to the final horrors. Very well directed. Trigger warning: everything.”

Talking about the story’s pace, a Twitter user wrote, “The ‘Ju-On: Origins’ story moves at a leisurely pace and just when you wonder when things will start to happen, ‘Ju-On’ escalates really quickly.”

This is one of those things that make this show more potent. Few things are predictable in this story and the irregular pacing makes it difficult to prepare yourself for what’s to come. 

But there were also fans who missed the original storyline of Shimizu’s films. A fan wrote, “Just finished watching ‘Ju-On: Origins’. Well, that was quite weird like the first films. I didn’t think I’d ever say this but I miss Kayako!”

‘JU-ON: Origins’ is available for viewing on Netflix. 

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