J-horror director breaks new ground with film shot in China

Norio Tsuruta, who helped pioneer the Japanese horror film boom, has broken new ground with his latest film, “The Perilous Internet Ring,” which was shot in China.

The story begins when college student Xiaonuo (played by Sun Yihan) receives a frantic call from her cousin who says she is scared.

The next day, Xiaonuo finds her cousin’s dead body.

The police confirm that she committed suicide, but Xiaonuo is not convinced.

She then reads an online novel that was left in her cousin’s personal computer, and begins to be haunted by hallucinations and delusions.

A series of unnatural deaths unfolds in her neighborhood, and he learns that the victims had one thing in common: they had read the novel online.

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Tsuruta, whose work includes “Ring 0: Birthday,” said he was asked by a Chinese film company to produce a large-scale J-horror movie in 2016.

“When I started writing a screenplay, I was told, ‘The Chinese government won’t greenlight a movie that depicts ghosts as real entities,’” he said. “I was like, How can I make a J-horror movie?”

With a producer, who is a member of the Chinese Communist Party, joining the production as supervisor, Tsuruta begins working on the project despite being restricted for a short time.

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“I didn’t want to have ‘it was all a dream.'”In the end, I came up with a story that takes place in the world of virtual reality, but then it was also rejected on the grounds that content that abuses cutting-edge technology cannot be allowed.”

Around the same time, he learned of the “Blue Whale” incident, which caused a serious social problem in China revolving around the Internet phenomenon in which participants urged other users in remote areas to commit suicide.

About a year later, the script penned by a third screenwriter was approved through the government bidding process.

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The completed film tricks audiences into thinking it is a horror flick featuring a similar appearance to the long-haired ghost Sadako before turning into a story that uncovers the perfect crime with the help of police investigations.

It unexpectedly became a neo-genre movie that mixed J-horror and mystery elements.

When I complained about the script, the producer immediately said, ‘Okay And the screenwriter was fired,” the director said. In China, decisions are made very quickly. I learned that we can make good films if we can take advantage of China’s boldness and Japan’s subtlety.

The Risky Internet Episode is currently showing in Japan.


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