Kuru: A Review

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC Kuru: A Review

By Seyi Odusanya.

I must confess I’m not the biggest fan of horror, in fact if I had to pick my least favourite genre of film then horror would be just above romantic comedies. I often find that I just can’t get invested in any of the stories in horror films because the characters are mostly there to die in horrible gory ways and do nothing else. Although every now and then I do find some stories and characters that interest me, Evil Dead being among the first to win me over and show there’s more to the genre than I thought. For the most part Kuru works in this respect. It’s about a woman named Claire. In the film’s opening Claire is in her rather idyllic country home with her fiancé Ethan, however Claire suffers a miscarriage, putting a strain on her and her relationship with Ethan. Months later Ethan leaves to deal with familial problems of his own and Claire is left to her own devices, dealing with the pain of her loss. She finds a strange box among her dad’s old belongings, inside is a weird pod thing that looks like a rancid Cadbury’s Creme Egg. This discovery leads to Claire undergoing a strange and distressing transformation, her hair falls out, she’s vomiting black bile when she tries to eat food, oh and she develops a craving for human flesh which she satisfies by chowing down on the local residents, from neighbours to burglars and even some Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The film doesn’t really reveal much and what little it does reveal doesn’t help illuminate what’s going with Claire. Has she become infected with a strange neurological disease from that box which her dad got from Papa New Guinea? (Name of said disease is Kuru hence the title, thank you Google). Is she possessed? Or has she just snapped and this dark transformation is symbolic of her inner pain and trauma? The answer could lie somewhere in between but to be frank I didn’t care about what the answer was. I wanted to see how the transformation affects Claire, what is her response to this? And her response is complete and utter silence because the film decides to shut her up about 30mins in when she starts her transformation and takes her voice away. She does have dialogue in what could either be flashbacks or dream sequences of Claire and Ethan’s relationship; they talk about their families, the future, how they feel about things, and then Ethan starts beating the ever-loving hell out of Claire because… again I don’t know. It happens so fast it just feels out of place. One moment there having a pleasant dinner, go upstairs for some hanky panky and the next second Ethan is trying his very best to stamp an impression of his fist into Claire’s face. Is Claire a victim of domestic violence? Did that somehow lead to her miscarriage? Is that why whatever dark and evil thing that’s in Claire later takes on the form of Ethan in the final dream sequence? I have no clue! Those scenes of domestic violence could just be in Claire’s head and never really happened, but it created a big disconnect for me.



I will say technically the film is good, the score and location lends to the weird atmosphere and the film being in black and white adds a creepiness to things. The sound design is lacking and this can be crippling for a horror film. When people are killed, stabbed, beaten the lack of sound takes away any impact such acts would have, which again is shame because otherwise the film did creep me out. Kuru is an eerily creepy film; never scary although I was engaged for most of it. That weirdness never goes away and successfully kept my interest, until I got to the ending that made me yell ‘WTF is even going on?!’ Not the good Evil Dead WTF that is both scary and maddening, this was just the frustrating kind.

2/5.


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Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.

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