Posted on 6/16/10 03:50 PM
A volunteer home care worker, Nishina Rika, enters the home of a bed-ridden patient and discovers a strange ghostly presence lurking behind a door sealed with duct tape. Her discovery unleashes a horrible evil which baffles police investigators, who find that a whole series of people have gone missing from this particular house.
Further investigation leads to Izutni Toyama, a former detective who handled the case of a man who murdered his wife in the house, but whose son was never found. But when the angry "Ju-On" spirit of vengeance that has infected the house reaches beyond its boundaries to kill Toyama and his daughter, Rika realizes that the horror is spreading. Worse, unless something is done about it, she feels she may become the angry spirit's next victim!
Ju-On: The Grudge is one of four Japanese horror flicks directed by Takashi Shimizu. The first two movies in the series were direct-to-video releases (Ju-On: The Curse & Ju-On: The Curse 2), and sequels (Ju-On: The Grudge and Ju-On: The Grudge 2) were later made and distributed in theaters. However, most American audiences are probably more familiar with the remake, The Grudge, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. As of 2006, Shimizu has announced plans for a third Ju-On: The Grudge to hit Japanese cinemas and a sequel to the American version.
Like its American counterpart, Ju-On: The Grudge fall shorts of terrifying or stimulating the viewer. Obviously cashing in on the success of Ringu and, the American, Ring, Ju-On: The Grudge feels like more of the same thing. Infact, the screenwriter of Ringu helped Shimizu develop Ju-On as a feature. The ghosts are blatant rip-offs of the haunts in Ringu. Little scares, an incoherent script, and far too many repetitive scenes rob this movie of any effect it is trying to accomplish.
I never predicted I would say this, but I believe the American version is superior on a visual level. While I'll take into account Shimizu probably received a larger budget on the remake, Ju-On: The Grudge's cinematography just doesn't pull you into the picture. A forgettable score and group of mediocre performers water down the film as well.
Overall, Ju-On: The Grudge is just a failure as a horror film or a chilling ghost story.