Cure (1997) by Kiyoshi Kurosawa
The 1997 classic, Cure, is a testament to the power of slow horror, which does not rely on jump scares and gore, but the masterful use of unnerving tension to get under the skin of the viewer.
Detective Takabe is appointed to investigate a series of mysterious unmotivated murders where an "X" is carved into each of the victims’ necks and the murderers have no recollection of their crimes. The investigation fails to make any headway and hits a dead end until a common link is found. Mamiya, a former psychology student, void of any emotion or even a semblance of humanity within, seems to be the conduit for all these mysterious crimes. But the film only raises more questions, as the psychiatrist that aids Takabe tells us, “No one can understand what motivates a criminal, sometimes not even the criminal."
Kurosawa refrains from using plot twists but instead opts to create a hypnotic maze to make a larger philosophical point about the fundamental nature of man. The film shows Takabe descending into a downward spiral as his two worlds, an ailing wife and the bizarre murders, seem to collide. The constant use of static cameras arouses a state of unsettling calm that crawls under your skin. The film slowly builds up to a hallucinatory climax, where the answers are still unclear. The viewer is left to ponder over the film in search of answers.