Ju-on: The Curse (Curse Grudge) Reviews
A lot of the Japanese horror movies I've seen are like Ju-On The Curse Part 1, where it's not horror by western standards, and is more of a drama. The movie slowly reveals itself throughout each tenants' story, and it does so since each tenant discovers a different piece of the origin of the ghost and why she's haunting the place.
This is a super, almost cliched, common premise in Japanese horror. Revenge ghosts. Another one is Regret ghosts. I'm not an expert on this part of Japanese culture, but I think they're similar but not the same. Regret ghost usually dies in the middle of doing something and haunts the place trying to complete its task before being able to move on. Revenge ghost is there to get the vengeance it believes is owed to it, or closure. Whether its letting its story be told. Which is what's happening in this movie, so it's more of a sad movie than a scary movie. You're supposed to sympathise with the ghost. Yes, it's very weird, but Ringu is a lot like it too.
So to explain why men get paralyzed in her presence, that's just part of that demonology, that you the JAPANESE audience are supposed to walk into the theatre knowing about. Like how duck turtles with a monk style balding pattern love to lure little children by the edges of bodies of water and then drown them. So to a western audience it doesn't make sense, but to a Japanese audience it does, whether or not you still find it scary is up to you.
I liked this movie, it has 1 great jump scare and that's really it. Oh and revenge ghosts kill humans one to act as either a toll to allow them to move on and have the person they killed take their spot, or two get fed up with the humans after realising they won't help them. This hair demon has a name to it, they all do, and the hair demon has more power of men than women, that's part of the lore you're supposed to come into the movie already knowing. That's the problem with a lot of these supernatural Japanese and Oriental films, they're made specifically for their audience and assume their audience are coming into it with a general understanding of the mechanics. I thought the story was nice, and it was a good movie, again, horror isn't the right genre for it. Maybe drama would be better.
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.
My only gripe with this one is the way the stories are arranged. I stops and starts too often, and each story is separated by a black screen with a story title preluding each. It became repetitive and takes you out of the movie.
The scares themselves are awesome, love the way Shimizu sets up every scene with great care to the apprehension of whats to come. It was refreshing not to see stupid annoying jump scares every scene which we're so used to nowadays. I would watch this one over the American grudge any day.