Made to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Ju-on series, White Ghost finds sinister events afoot: a delivery driver makes a shocking discovery, there are ghostly visitations, and high school student Akane is haunted by her childhood friend Mirai, whose reappearance is linked to a trauma in their shared past.
The Ju-on series is built around the concept of a lingering curse, a pocket of negative spiritual energy spawned by an act of shocking violence. The seeds of the curse are sown when a person is killed in an act of anger, with the jinx lingering in the location where the killing occurred and infecting those who subsequently come into contact with it. But aside from the fact they also employ this concept of a contagious curse, the pairing of White Ghost and Black Ghost are actually removed from the narrative events of their popular predecessors, meaning no prior knowledge of the Ju-on series is required to follow the unfolding action.
Having said that, there are a few connecting threads present in White Ghost, including an appearance from recurring series character Toshio Saeki, and the involvement of Ju-on creator Takashi Shimizu in a supervisory capacity. Further continuity is provided by producer Taka Ichise, who worked on the original Ju-on movies, as well as those other influential J-horror pictures, The Ring and Dark Water.
As with previous entries in the series, White Ghost is divided into chapters; these being titled after names of the characters, with writer-director Ryûta Miyake allowing his story to unfold in fragmentary, non-chronological form. A series of sinister events play out in the film's opening minutes: a young man takes his own life in snowy woods; a delivery driver arrives at a house, only to make some shocking discoveries; and a taxi driver finds a chilling presence in the back of his cab, immediately after dropping his young daughter at school.
There is a method and a diligence about the manner in which Ryûta Miyake spreads out his – initially, seemingly disparate - story clues before gradually pulling the threads together to establish a tale of madness and betrayal. A tape recording, a police investigation and some dark, dark family secrets prove pivotal in unravelling the full story of the film's ghostly manifestations, with the time-switching between narrative episodes allowing for the full story to eventually emerge without running the converse risk of the game being given away too early on. In the tradition of the original low-budget entries in the Ju-on series which were directed by Takashi Shimizu (prior to him going on to make The Grudge, the Sarah Michelle Gellar-starring US remake from 2004), White Ghost primarily privileges the cranking of tension over full-blown splatter – though there is a little of the latter present here too, with the ultimate explanation behind the recurring image of the white bag proving to be particularly grisly.