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FilmsAsia: Asian film reviews
Soh Yun-Huei
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   Grudge  



 

The Grudge

Reviewed by Soh Yun-Huei

Directed by Shimizu Takashi
Writing Credits: Shimizu Takashi, Stephen Susco
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jason Behr, William Mapother, Clea DuVall, DaDee Strickland
Genre: Horror
Country: Japan, USA
Language: English, Japanese
Year released: 2004
Runtime: 96 min
Rating: ** (out of four stars)

Stupid horror remains stupid horror in any language – this evidenced strongly in The Grudge, the American remake of Ju On (this one is a little more special because the director is the same for both movies), which was a bad movie to begin with, and never warranted a remake. Even given a second chance, director Takahashi Shimizu doesn’t fix what was wrong with the original Ju On – that the movie is basically a large collection of people doing stupid things in order to let the ghost(s) kill them off with as little effort as possible.

This remake is also sloppy – it’s neither here nor there, with American actors and yet locating it still in Japan, which gives rise to a bunch of cringe-worthy dialogue, and the all-round uninspiring acting simply drags the film down even further. The plot remains the same as the original – a creepy house seems imbued with a curse that will kill off, by hook or by crook, almost anyone that comes into contact with the house or its residents, the latest addition to the victim list being Karen Davis (Sarah Michelle Gellar), who had just moved over to Japan with her boyfriend Doug (Jason Behr). As the curse picks off the actors one by one, Karen tries her best to uncover the secret behind the house, and the exact cause of the rage of the ghosts residing in the house.

Unfortunately, most of the scares in the film are telegraphed long before they occur, which leads to a diminished horror quotient, and nothing in the film matches the admittedly excellent prologue, featuring a more-or-less famous American actor and a truly sudden death. It’s all downhill from then on, and it’s quite a pity because you can see that there is a possibility of a good movie based on the premise, but Takahashi simply doesn’t manage to cut it, even given one more chance.

Final Word: If you’ve seen the original Ju On, there really isn’t a need to watch this movie. Even if you haven’t, there also isn’t a need to watch this movie either.