Ju-On (The Grudge)

This is, unfortunately, a boring and confusing movie. Any actual horror factor tends to get lost amongst the disjointed manner in which the film unfolds. I don't feel that there is sufficient cause for the deaths; the evil “being” could have had a much more interesting, and powerful, origin. The people who get killed you know well in advance what's going to happen to them; it's like the old reference to the original Star Trek series where, if you wore red on an away mission and weren't a main character, then you were going to die.

When you get down to it, the behind-the-scenes/interviews extras are actually more interesting than the movie itself. Of the various Japanese and Korean horror films I have watched, this one is the most boring and the worst done, in my opinion.

Segment 1:Rika. The guy gives her the file on someone he wants her to check on.

The house she's sent to.

The inside of the house is filthy.

She talks to an unresponsive woman.

She works on cleaning up the house for the woman.

A sealed-up closet. She finds a young boy (Toshio) in the closet holding a black cat.

The kid looks at her.

She sees some kind of dark entity going after the old woman.

Katsuya, the second section.

A youngish couple. I'm doing this as I'm watching it, so some things might change. It appears that we've gone backward in time in the same house. I could be wrong, though.

The wife hears some strange noises and sees a handprint of a young kid. In the tradition of all horror films, once she spots a strange young kid she doesn't even begin to think about phoning the police. No, the idea, as always, is to go investigate the strange thing on your own. Don't seek help. Ever. The main rule of all horror films.

The husband comes home and finds the wife in an upstairs room. He starts to call an ambulance, hears a noise and spends time looking for the source of the noise rather than finish making his phone call. The little kid appears to him and the kid yells like a cat. The wife dies.

Another person arrives.

She finds her brother and he lies about his wife.

The next section, Hitomi.

Hitomi (the husband's sister) calls his home but gets no reply. (The husband had pushed her out the door in the last section and told her to go home.)

A mass of black comes out of one of the women's stalls at another building and scares Hitomi.

She goes to her apartment. Apparently it's in the same building. She sees a security man get enveloped by a black cloud when he investigates the outside of the restroom where she saw the black mass.

She thinks she sees her brother outside her apartment but he's not there, and her phone starts making weird sounds (again).

She then sees someone under the covers with her, this coming after her TV acted up.

Toyama, the next section, starts.

The guy from the welfare office comes to find out what happened to Rika.

She's in a corner. The guy calls in the police.

They find the couple dead in the attic.

She talks to a detective and wants to know if something had happened in the house in the past. (Rika's in the hospital, by the way.)

The past history of the house is revealed.

More of the history is discovered, including that many people have died there and a husband murdered his wife. Rika is shown a picture of Toshio. The detective tells her the boy has been missing for five years.

A guy that had investigated a previous case watches the video and sees a dark shape come out of the women's restroom after pulling the guard inside. Meanwhile, the male worker at the welfare office who had assigned Rika the house to visit has been found dead.

Toshio appears at Rika's place.

The former investigator is busy spreading gasoline through the house when he spots someone. (It's sort of a time-warp thing, I think.)

The next section starts after the investigator runs away and two others are terrified of some kind of girl crawling around on all fours and making weird sounds.

Three schools girls, one of whom is Izumi.

Rika's body has been found.

Two girls come to visit Izumi and bring her some photos.

She explains that she was with three female students who have disappeared.

Izumi sees an image of her dead father.

The three dead girls come after Izumi.

The croaking-sound woman grabs Izumi from behind.

The next section starts.

Apparently we're back in time again with Rika still alive.

By this point, describing what is happening is hardly worth it as the film has degenerated into a total mass of chaotic confusion.

The crawling woman appears.

Comments on the American version of The Grudge

Let's see. Let's take a Japanese movie and, simply so we can work in some American actors. especially Sarah Michelle Gellar, let's put a hokey plot in about a couple going overseas to Japan. And have the Geller character (Rika) work at a place where her boss just happens to be Caucasian and speak English, and then assign her to a home where English is spoken. Isn't this what is called “stretching it” a bit much?

Oh, yes, and the woman she is to care for just also happens to be Caucasian. And the relatives of the woman are also Caucasian. And the detectives speak fluent English.

If you're going to copy a Japanese film but do it with American actors then alter it enough to take place in the U.S.; otherwise you're just doing the same film with a few American actors who stand out like sore thumbs in an otherwise Japanese culture.

Then it suddenly shifts into the detective speaking English and the film uses subtitles. It's a schizophrenic film. Later it does, fortunately, have a somewhat more complete explanation of what is going on in the house . The last twenty minutes or so leads the film in a somewhat different direction from the original, however.

Overall, I don't really care for either version very much.

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