Ju-on: The Curse (Curse Grudge) Reviews
I do have to laugh at the men being "paralysed" when that thing comes crawling out. I would have been on my feet and out of there in record time.
'Ju-on' jumps around in time telling the mystery behind some eerie shit. Some guy killed his family in jealous rage. Why? Because of some eerie shit, I say! Some guy starts investigating the case and I'm sure that he regretted it instantly when shit starts to happen.
I wasn't that interested in the movie. Maybe because I was kinda forced to see it. I know, not the right way to start seeing a movie. But I'll admit that there were a lot of scenes that made me uncomfortable. The Japs can surely do some creepy stuff.
'Ju-On' was ok and all but not "my cup of tea". It's slow paced and the straight-to-video look didn't max the feeling of it all. For those who wanna be scared and see some stuff that'll give you nightmares or keep your light on, 'Ju-on' is a sure bet.
Starring Megumi Okina, Misaki Otko, and Misa Uehara
Directed by Takashi Shimizu
Featured Running Time: 92 minutes
Back in 1998, a Japanese film called Ringu was released, introducing the world to the long hair and twisted face of Sadako; the biggest thing out of Japan since Sega. With her tattered nightie, rotten fingernails, and abyss like eyes, she managed to crawl her way out of the cinema and into audiences arms. Pulling in a little more than $137 million, Ringu quickly became the highest grossing Japanese film of all time. Two years later, Takashi Shimizu would take an alternate path in distributing his piece of Japanese horror revival, releasing Ju-On: The Curse as a part of V-Cinema; an industry that caters to releasing straight to DVD as a means of avoiding censorship. What came out of lower production costs was a film that helped pave the way for J-horror, spawning a remake that, along with Gore Verbinski's remake of The Ring, would take America by storm using the bare essentials in horror cinema.
Featuring six non-linear yet seemingly interlocked stories, Ju-On: The Curse opens with school teacher Kobayashi (Yurei Yanagi), who investigates the absence of a child who has been missing from school. This simple investigation leads Kobayashi to enter the boys unassuming home, one that hides a very sinister secret involving revenge, murder, and a deadly curse. Jumping between Kobayashi's investigation and the occupants of the house years later, Ju-On: The Curse shifts between a cold-blooded tale of revenge with that of a horrific ghost story, shifting the lives of those the curse happens to fall upon.
Director Takashi Shimizu manages to weave together six separate chapters all centering around one house, drawing us in with simple story telling and even simpler directing. Using low budget equipment and lighting, Shimizu captures the essence of horror with seemingly flawless execution, sustaining prolonged moments without catering to what we have come to expect from a genre that continually throws the obvious in our face. Shot after shot we are greeted with angles that allow us to drop our guard, lower our defenses, and assume the worst is over. What Shimizu does is toy with our expectations, allow us to get comfortable with what we're viewing before he raises the curtain and shows us what he has been hiding all along.
With effective use of its low-budget, its non-linear storytelling, and chilling images of horror, Ju-On: The Curse still manages to falter in its choice of direction, falling victim to the dangers of excess. In Chapter 4 titled Kanna, a dismembered body is investigated by two detectives who discover dead rabbits and a missing jaw bone at the scene of the crime. What unravels is the unnecessary use of CGI to enhance a particularly gory reveal, one that would have been a lot more effective had the director stuck with his eye towards simplicity. Soon afterwards we are greeted with Takeo Saeki (Takashi Matsuyama), the sadistic father of the aforementioned missing child, smashing a garbage bag containing a baby multiple times against a wall. This unnecessary showcase of violence goes beyond the films brilliant use of momentary horror, dragging on and revealing far more than what is necessary to unnerve its audience.
Ju-On: The Curse is a film that despite its missteps, is one that provides images that burrow deep down inside our consciousness, utilizing the bare minimum of production to do so. While feeling a bit disconnected at times with its use of non-linear storytelling, Takashi Shimizu manages to provide true horror in tiny bursts, embracing what we don't see and mixing it with what we don't know. Emerging before the hype of Japanese horror in America, Ju-On: The Curse is a film that has forever left an imprint in cinema, influencing years of horror and independent film for years to come.
Watching Japanese horror is similar to watching British comedy. If you enjoy dry whit then you would enjoy the boys of Monty Python in dresses. That's the joke, they're dressed like women. Get it? Well, that's British humor. But if you're like most Americans, you probably prefer Adam Sandler farting his way across a football field and hooking up with chicks way out of his league. You know, in your face, crass funny. My point is, funny in England is different culturally than funny in the US. The same goes for J-Horror. The way the Japanese view the world is very different from us, and it shows in this horror film. Slow, (a little too slow sometimes) suspenseful, creepy.
Ju-On is a creepy f'ing film. The movie has almost no soundtrack. It is incredibly suspenseful. The pay-offs are pretty awesome but I think that it was done better in the American version. A quick overview. The story is told in chapters. Each chapter is about a different character. The main story is about the teacher. He goes to a students house and notices something is amiss. Something about a curse... a telephone number 4444444444.
If you are looking for blood and guts, look elsewhere. If you want to see the young crazy Japanese chick, Gogo Yubari, from Kill Bill part 1 playing a completely different role than look no further. This movie has great visual scares. It has amazing suspense. It has a pretty nifty storyline. I really like watching my favorite scary parts from the US remake and comparing them right along side the original. Also, the long drawn out reverse burp sound is really scary.
I give Ju-On 6 out of 10. It was creepy, and put together well. However, it was hindered by bad CGI and the almost too slow build-ups. I enjoyed the US version better than its original however due to its using elements of what made this movie good, and adding an American flavor without over stepping. I would recommend to see them both and compare and contrast.
Who you gonna call... right!
Apparently, that?s asking a lot. Studios and movie-rental companies are well aware of the demand for horror, and there are hundreds ? maybe thousands ? of genre titles out there. Some of these ?horror? flicks have competent acting, quasi-believable storylines, decent cinematography, and capable direction. They do not, however, ever, ever, ever contain anything that scares me. They do have lots of gore, but blood and guts are not scary; they are merely repulsive. Achieving a good scare on film is the equivalent of a no-hitter in baseball: rare and memorable.
I think the last time a horror movie made me jump was in 2002, when that creepy girl in "The Ring" climbed out of a television set. "The Ring" is an American remake of a Japanese film, and so is 2004?s "The Grudge." Japan has quite a reputation for scary movies these days, so I decided to watch "Ju-on," the 2000 direct-to-video cheapo that inspired not only "The Grudge," but also a number of sequels.
It scared me.
The low-budget little thriller got me good ? one time for sure, maybe twice. Okay, twice. There is one scene in particular, set on a staircase near the end of the film ? well, I?m not going to spoil it.
I can?t in good conscience recommend much else about "Ju-on." Its plot is silly, derivative, and at times incoherent ? so no kudos to the screenwriter. The acting is pedestrian. But the director and his crew of photographers, editors, and soundmen obviously studied their horror movies. They know timing, framing, and lighting, and they applied them very well. I wanted them to do but one thing, and that they did. They scared me. Maybe twice.
the first half of ju-on is perfectly fine and is actually quite enjoyable - it is in the second half that the movie falls apart.
in the grudge, there are only flashbacks of the past, so i was able to still follow the plotline; however, ju-on often switches from the past, to the present, and then to the FUTURE, which got very confusing.
in addition, the second half of ju-on was basically a quick plot summary of the american GRUDGE 2!!! not only did this give a rushed feel to the second half and add confusion, this made ju-on feel like two movies blended into one.
if i had not seen the grudge and the grudge 2, i would have had absolutely no clue what was going on in ju-on - they don't even explain why the husband killed kayako and toshio!! ju-on does not give nearly as much explanation as the grudge, so DO NOT see ju-on without seeing the american versions!
as for the scariness factor, i felt that ju-on was more suspenseful than the grudge but that the grudge had more creepy imagery.
in conclusion, the only reason why ju-on is receiving a 5 is for its highly enjoyable first half - the second half is a disaster!
SEE THE GRUDGE - ITS BETTER AND WAY LESS CONFUSING.