No, I did not wait to go to Japan to see a LOT of Japanese movies. Do you know Kurosawa ? No, not this one, though seeing Ran was sort of a life-defining experience for me: the world was not the same after.
Did you hear about know Kiyoshi Kurosawa ? Did you saw Cure ? Were you frightened by Kairo (the Japanese J-Horror masterpiece, not the bad BAD BAD American remake Pulse) ?
OK, I saw Retribution last week. As for a lot of Kurosawa's movies, there's not a lot of action, there's no gore effects, there are some ghosts (who-or which, do few, except stating that they will always be there), and finally there's Japan as an exhausted no-man's land. Unsettling, and a bit morbid, all right, but GREAT !!! And great low-key performance from Koji Yakusho; maybe you will remember him from his role in Babel, but he is a regular of Kurosawa's movies. This time, it is about a policeman, who lives with a strangely absent beautiful young woman. He starts to think that he is maybe the one who killed the woman in red who we see strangled just at the beginning of the movie. Except that he does not remember a thing about that. Except that the ghost of the woman (or is she ?) start to haunt him all the time (doing few, but being scary, because she-or it does not really express the reason why she-or it is here). It appears that just being alive also means being guilty.
The second J-Horror movie I saw just yesterday is Reincarnation, by Takashi Shimizu, who is the one who made the horror series The Grudge. In this movie, a mad professor kills eleven people in a small hotel (including his young daughter and son), while filming all during the killings with a small camera. A lot of years later, a film director starts to make a movie about this story. Apart from its great endings (right through the very last frame, which is very disturbing, though in a purely intellectual way), apart from the beginnings in modern Tokyo (I recognized some of the places they used), this is for me a movie that deals with the power of cinema (some evil power, because it is horror, remember). Needless to say, this film is also scary !!