There’s a difference between horror and terror. Terror is being scared; it’s the long creepy shot of the end of the corridor in the split second when the monster appears. It’s the adrenaline rush. Fear. Terrified. Horror, on the other hand, is the knowledge that something incredibly awful is going on. It’s the grim certainty that a monster will appear: gut-churning time. Horrified.
Reincarnation is interesting, cause you expect J-horror to be a lot of each. In good J-horror, there’s lots of built up tension plus the oft-gory rush to judgment. Reincarnation really isn’t very terrifying; it didn’t leave me looking over my shoulder on the way home. But man, the slow patient playing out of fate is amazingly horrifying.
This is perhaps because it’s so non-surreal. The blurb in the program really wanted this to be the same sort of blurred Takashi Shimizu horror that he’s known for with the Ju-on films. It’s not; the horror comes from the clarity with which the inevitable plays out. You need to see the future clearly in order to understand how doomed the cast is.
Bonus points for clever use of film within a film, not just once (the movie being made about a senseless set of murders in a hotel), but twice (the 8 mm film shot by the hotel murderer himself). That provides the opportunity for a triple overlay of events, which is damned effective. So is the rest of the movie.