For a guy who hasn't actually seen another film in the "Ju-On" curse film saga, "Ju-On: The Grudge" actually struck me as fairly impressive. It was directed by Takashi Shimizu, who remade it from a direct-to-video film titled "Ju-On: The Curse". What I'm assuming is that this "Ju-On" is nothing more than a higher budget remake that probably didn't need to happen , but none the less delivers the goods. I do believe that many horror fans will be pleased with how much atmosphere and imagery "Ju-On" offers up. I wouldn't call it scary, but I would call it creepy, and that's a pretty respectable alternative.
"Ju-On" is imaginative stuff from start to finish. It makes great use of make-up and special effects, creating imagery that is creepy enough to stick with us, or at least, most of us. The film is more of an anthology film that's supposed to reach some awesome conclusion, although the way it all ends is somewhat unsatisfactory given the thing as whole. But even then, nothing can hurt "Ju-On". It's straight forward enough to be fun, atmospheric enough to be non-insulting, and entertaining enough for me to recommend.
As of now, I don't see there being much of a point in me describing each damn anthology segment in extreme detail. They're pretty much all the same: one person, or multiple people, go into cursed house where creepy guy murdered his poor family...and a cat, and eventually get scared to death by the curse itself. There's an occasional twist such as: investigators go into cursed house where creepy guy murdered his poor family...and a cat, and eventually get scared to death by the curse itself, but the story isn't what matters the most here, and luckily for us, the filmmakers make that obvious.
So, screw the story; screw the characters. They're not exactly non-existent, but "Ju-On" doesn't attempt to develop them, which probably would have made it a bad movie if it did. Some people just don't know how to write good characters, and in spite of their creativity and imaginations, the people who made "Ju-On" are probably included in that vast group.
What you get is not a story, but an experience. "Ju-On" is a fun ride while it lasts. Whenever a creepy image of paranormal delight is thrown in our faces, another one is just around the bend. "Ju-On" is pretty much consistent in its creepiness, except for when the scares attempt to repeat themselves more than once. This is one of the few major flaws of the film; repetition. But...what the hell; this film is good. I liked it. I enjoyed it as much as one possibly can, and while there's not a whole lot to say, I'd still say it's worth the time that it requires you to invest.
For characters who are often ridiculously underwritten, the acting is still quite good for each one of them. The film is serious when it comes to being creepy, so none of the actors swim in the territories of "self-parody" or "camp". This isn't a very terrifying film, and it doesn't build suspense like some cinematic classics for this genre would, but it is well-acted, well-filmed, and I was very pleased when I finished it.
I liked "Ju-On" for its images, I liked it for its atmosphere, I liked it for its direction, and I liked it for its self-aware absurdity. This film is pretty good for a night of creaky-house moments. It's not a masterpiece, and it should never be considered a "horror classic", but on its own right, it deserves to be praised. Some will not like it, and some will. It all depends what you bring in to it expectation-wise, because depending on how much you give a damn, you might just bring something out; something good, something great, something inspiring. I cannot imagine that "Ju-On" is a premise that will work more than, oh, I'd say about three times; and I don't think that even these filmmakers will stop at that. But sometimes it's enough to stop rejecting and embrace the times.