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  • Warning: Spoilers
    Although the word "grudge" doesn't quite fit the bill as part of the title of a horror film -- one thinks THE CURSE would have been more appropriate but such is the "curse" of translation -- JU ON holds up extremely well as a horror film. Built upon a notion that when someone dies victim of extreme rage, the emotions are left behind and this overpowering, negative emotion will kill anyone who comes into the house, JU ON first gives us a grainy montage at the start of the story of what seems to be a man killing away his entire family. This sets the events that come next, told in a non-linear way so as to disorient the viewer of what has happened/will happen like for example, why is the old lady seemingly living in squalor in this otherwise impersonal looking place, and what part does her most recent caretaker, Rika (Megumi Okina) have to play there?

    I've always believed that using subtly disturbing images instead of bringing the horror up front in a broad manner creates more of a punch for the viewer. Amping up the dread, even when the horror seems inevitable, creates a sensation of anguish because one knows that something is terribly out of kilter in this house. What director Shimizu does here with introducing the old lady in the unkempt house by having us see her hands weakly bang on the rice door, and then having her stare vacantly out to nowhere as Rika tries to clean up the place only to later meet the entities in the house, is unsettling as anything else that comes later. She whispers, mantra-like, something closely rendered to an "I told you so" and one only has to see the mounting horror in her old eyes to know something horrible is about to happen to her while Rika witnesses this and faints in horror. It doesn't matter that one sees the little boy running around and then mutely screaming in that cat-like shriek, or the shadow and croak of someone even worse... it's the inexorability in which this curse comes forth and attacks this old, defenseless lady, and then each person who has come/will come in contact with it, and when it becomes clear that the curse is not bound only to the haunted house but is in fact a growing web of death, the rug gets neatly pulled out from the viewer's feet, because safe becomes only a word and something wicked this way comes.

    This is a film that people will love or hate. I don't think there will be an in-between feeling. The way that these ghosts manifest themselves as if they were part of the living, leaving hand-prints and footprints behind, the way that horror draws itself on screen -- in barely there suggestions like when Rika is wheel-chairing an elderly man who is making faces; we see the one second reflection on a glass door of Toshio, the malevolent boy --, the way the actors react to fear which is anti-Hollywood, the non-use of swelling music but the use of eerie sounds, this is one very spooky film which can stand aside some of the greatest ever filmed. Quiet yet intense, relying on atmosphere and dread, JU ON is very chilling, and very effective. This is the horror that is rarely done today.
  • Rika Nishina (Megumi Okina) works for a social services agency in Tokyo, although she's never seen any clients. When a new case comes in and they're short on staff, her boss has to send her out. Her first case is a doozy. When she enters the client's home, no one seems to be there, and the house is a mess. She hears scraping on a door--the old woman she is to care for is there, but in a semi-catatonic state. Soon after, she learns that there is much more wrong than bad housekeeping and a neglected old woman. There just may be threatening supernatural forces behind the scenes.

    This film is really the third in the Japanese Ju-On series. I won't usually watch a series out of order, but this is the only Ju-On film officially and thus easily available in the U.S. I was very anxious to watch the American remake, The Grudge (2004), and actually watched it the day before watching this film.

    The first 40-something minutes are closest to the American remake, but it was surprising that this film is much more linear. It's also more episodic. Neither of those facts are negative here, and both lend to a somewhat easier understanding of the broader mythology behind the Ju-On "monsters", which is presented much more clearly in this film. However, the episodic nature also means that the viewer has to pay attention to the various characters and their names, or there is a good chance that one will get lost--this story touches on many different people, in many different scenarios. Occasionally, there are characters brought into each other's episodes, sometimes as subtly as a name mentioned in a news report. These cross-references, which can also slightly break the linear timeline, are effective if one is alert.

    There are things that writer/director Takashi Shimizu does better in this version, and things he does better in the American version. In this version, I loved the brutal opening sequence. Although it's somewhat present towards the end of the American version, it is much more effective here. I enjoyed the more traditional Japanese home--this film was shot on location in an actual house, whereas the American remake was shot on a house constructed on a soundstage. The Japanese house is more claustrophobic. On the other hand, the soundstage house was a bit grungier, which works nicely in the context of the remake. I liked this film's transition in the famous "stair crawling" scene (although I thought the flashbacks weren't necessary), and I also loved some of the more dissonant music here.

    The biggest differences occur after the first forty minutes, when Shimizu expands the number of monsters. The film seems to threaten a Romero-like plague that I'd like to see explored more in other Ju-On films (if that hasn't been done already).

    The bottom line though is that this is a nicely atmospheric horror film, with a creepy scene per minute. There were a couple very minor flaws--occasionally awkward performances or editing being the primary one, but overall this is highly recommended. It earned a 9 out of 10 from me.
  • Gafke28 May 2004
    "Ju-On, The Grudge" is not an easy movie to find in America (or at least it wasn't when I first wrote this review) , and after hearing it hyped to the heavens in magazines such as Fangoria and Rue Morgue, and by word of mouth as well, I knew I had to see it. I finally tracked it down in LA and watched it the very first chance I got to do so.

    Ju-On is a chapter story about a haunted house in a Tokyo suburb. The film begins when an inexperienced social worker shows up at the house and comes face to face with the horror within. The story jumps around from past to present, its chapters focusing on one character at a time until it has come full circle. Everyone unwise enough to enter the cursed house winds up dead, the haunting spreading like a virus. It seems that a terrible murder once took place in this house and the rage surrounding the act of violence has spawned its own evil curse. To enter the house is to be immediately infected and the haunting follows people home, driving them to near madness before dragging them away, never to be seen again.

    Ju-On bears more than a passing resemblance to its popular predecessor "Ringu" and is nowhere near as frightening, but it's not a bad film by any means. Butchered mother-ghost Kayako is very Sadako-like, crawling around with her long black hair in her face and moving with unearthly jerkiness. Her blue-white face is quite startling with its huge staring eyes and occasional splashes of blood. Her ghost son, Toshio, is both sad and frightening, appearing both as a normal boy and a pale, wide-eyed ghost. Many of the films most frightening sequences feature the murdered woman Kayako: her head full of black hair peeking around a corner, her shadow moving down a corridor and filling a security camera, a head-on shot of her crawling through an attic at night with only the beam of a flashlight illuminating her. The sound effects are quite disturbing as well and the performances are convincingly well done.

    I wasn't as scared by this movie as had been promised I would be, but that's what happens when you buy into the hype. I was simply expecting too much, and I got a pretty good ghost story instead. Ju-On is good. It's not great, but it's a decent, straightforward ghost story with more than enough scary moments to please most horror fans. Ringu was scarier, but Ju-On is a noble effort. Like most Asian horror stories, it remains ambiguous and open-ended, leaving room for both a sequel and the chance for you to decide for yourself what the curse of The Grudge really is.

    7 out of 10 stars.
  • jazzamind23 September 2006
    I like to think of myself as a grrrl who is able to handle a lot, when it comes to horror, though I have developed a preference for the more psychological kind...The kind that takes you by the throat and does not let go...

    I thought Ring (original) was indescribably scary, especially since I watched it alone, in the dark ,in a deserted house, AND ON VIDEO, these factors definitely added to my level of scariness...The end of that movie, was literally spinechilling and I found myself clutching the blankets and holding on for dear life when in THAT movie happened what happened when it did happen.

    Thought that was the scariest movie ever! Nothing could top it, right? Well I could not have been more wrong...

    How totally unprepared was I for what was about to come when I popped Ju-on(original version again), in the DVD-player...

    Ow my freakin'god, I was so scared through the whole film by the terrifying atmosphere throughout...

    And how about the sounds...

    When the ending came i was so scared I could hardly breathe, I had the imprints of my nails in the palms of my hands, and could not speak or move...

    The aftermath of the movie was me being SO scared I was too chicken to go to the loo...

    I checked my closets, and my blanket numerous times,and this went on for months... had nightmares too...and was totally afraid of the dark allover when I was a kid or maybe even moreso...

    I have seen a lot, but this one is definitely the most scary,and I do not think I ever wanna see it again...
  • mlambert89014 October 2003
    Unlike many of the "reviews" below, I'm not going to take cheap shots at those who might not like Ju-On.

    I will say, however, that any fan of supernatural horror owes it to themselves to decide on this one for themselves.

    I wholeheartedly agree with those who found this film almost uncomfortable to watch. If you are one of those whom this film really gets to, it is an experience as powerful as Ringu, Dark Water or the Exorcist. Scary, scary, stuff.
  • If you only love American cinema and hate everything not English, you'll hate it.

    If watching Ringu makes you feel that you somehow know a lot about foreign movies, you'll just sit and compare the two. Which is too bad, because they're both great in their own right.

    On it's own, Ju-on is fantastic. It boasts itself as a simple contained story without stretching on into some sort of epic. Where some movies will say: "We've got a weaved story that's real creepy", Ju-on seems to say: "You came to watch a ghost story, and that's what you're getting. Now sit there as we shove your heart through your butt-hoop."

    Folks, if you have issues with dead stares and good use of dark angles and sound, it's extremely creepy.

    Studios aren't giving Sam Raimi millions of dollars to re-make this film in Japan alongside its original director for nothing. If not my word, take their's. The only reason this film got noticed in the first place is because of its original two-part TV airings in Japan that created such a buzz, they re-shot it for film.

    -- Or maybe you'll take the advice of people who've watched too many brainless popcorn summer movies and never watch it. Ju-on's an Excellent flick.
  • In Japan, when the volunteer social assistant Rika Nishina (Megumi Okina) is assigned to visit a family, she is cursed and chased by two revengeful fiends: Kayako, a woman brutally murdered by her husband and her son Toshio. Each person that lives or visits the haunted house is murdered or disappears.

    "Ju-on: The Grudge" is a very scary horror movie, based on a Japanese legend. In the beginning of the film, there is an explanation in this regard. When a person is killed in a violent way, his or her death generates a curse that will stay in the place where the crime took place. If another person visits the haunted place, he or she will be chased by the fiends till death generating another curse. In Western cultures, the fiend is generally trapped in a haunted house, and the person is safe and sound if he or she escapes from the place. This movie impresses because there is no bloody scene, only a tense psychological exploration of the inner fear of human beings for the unknown. The story is very simple and low paced, there are very few special effects, a great use of sound, no gore, but the creepy atmosphere is really frightening. Asiatic cinema proves again that in this moment their cinema is the number one in the horror genre. Unfortunately, the pretentious American industry of cinema insists in remaking and spoiling these Asian masterpieces.

    I saw "Ju-on: The Grudge" for the first time on 02 June 2006. Today, 23 March 2007, I have just watched it for the second time with the intention of seeing the Japanese sequel and I startled many times with this excellent horror movie. I recalled the whole story and now I am familiarized with this Japanese belief of the Ju-on, therefore the non-chronological screenplay got better and better than in the first time that I saw. My vote is eight.

    Title (Brazil): "Ju-On, O Grito" ("Ju-On, The Scream")
  • bomber_200329 January 2005
    Warning: Spoilers
    Well, what can i say, this movie is absolutely terrifying. this isn't a horror like Scream, this is a proper horror. Horror shouldn't be guts 'n gore, it should be psychological and it should strike your inner fears, and i must say. This film does.

    The director certainly knows how to scare people scary, as in the scenes: Where the woman has been chased from her work straight to a comfy doom on her bed. Kayako crawling down the stairs, staring into the camera (as if she is looking straight into you). ummmmmmmmmm about every scene, especially when Toshio and Kayako are on Kira's bed with her. *shudders*

    Well, to me, the scariest film i have seen. Yet the American version is good, it doesn't have as much OOMPH as Ju-On. Please do watch this, i highly recommend it. :) ^_^
  • hevafraza1 February 2005
    The film is based on an old Japanese which gives the film a certain authenticity it is an excellent horror and although there is no real ending this is because the film was originally made for Japanese viewers and they do not like a conventional ending to a film as the Americans and the British do. This is not because of the directors inability to write a proper ending. The ending is left to your imagination which i think is a good thing. The film involves many changes in time which gives the film an interesting feel and focuses more on the story than on the special effects like its American counterpart.
  • I saw the American remake before seeing "Ju On" and had mixed feelings about it. After seeing this original Japanese film, I can't really say that it is much better. Actually, I'd even say that the remake was more effective in terms of atmosphere. This original has the better story, and the audience isn't slapped in the face with a stupid "root" as they are in "The Grudge" (although, maybe that is fleshed out in the other "Ju On" movies, which I have not seen). The chronology play was interesting and fresh, but this is so important to the director, then there should have been more inclusion of time indicators. After awhile, the movie gets really boring--different people being haunted and attacked by the same ghosts in the same way, over and over again. I realize this is the point of the movie, but it doesn't make for a very entertaining time. My Rating: 6/10.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Regardless its very high ranking on the list of 'Incomprehensibly Overrated Asian Horror Flicks', "Ju-On: The Grudge" isn't an entirely bad little film at all and it certainly contains more genuinely spooky moments than any other Japanese horror films released in the last 15 years. The problem, however, is that these spooky moments are merely snapshots and isolated images whereas the film as a wholesome is disappointingly trite and virtually plot less. The synopsis of "Ju-On" is actually no more than one phrase: "a family tragedy occurred in a house one day and the restless spirits of a murdered child and woman still dwell around", period! The film is divided into EIGHT little chapters, all of them revolving on how a certain person (a social worker, a police officer, a schoolgirl....) comes in touch with the house and its ghostly residents and then...well...DIES! That's all, really. After approximately the third chapter, you've pretty much seen it all and you can start getting annoyed with the total lack of chronology, story-background and logic. What exactly are the intentions of these ghosts? Why can't they find peace? All this is seemly of no importance as long as every chapter ends with a creepy scene of the ghosts scaring another person to death. But it has to be said, it is very creepy!! The little boy-ghost has the eerie habit of appearing everywhere (really EVERYWHERE) just staring at you, whereas the woman-ghost produces the most disgusting but effectively disturbing sounds ever! "Ju-On: The Grudge" may not make the slightest bit of sense, but at least it will frighten you a couple of times. It sure is better than all the "Ringu"-films, "Dark Water" and "Phone".
  • I have recently seen this film and as a scary movie it is very solid. The plot is sometimes confusing but the shocks are genuine and will have you hiding under your sofa several times. The horror element relies on shocks and make-up effects as opposed to loads of gore and CGI (however there is a smattering of this). Defenitely one of the best Asian horror films since 'The Eye' and would be difficult to keep its authenticity if remade in America. The music is atmospheric, reminiscent of the Resident Evil Games and adds to the tension running through the film. I am still unsure to why the boy, mother and father haunt/kill anyone entering the house.....wasn't really explained very well but leave your critical reasoning aside when watching it and enjoy the production for what it is a roller-coaster ride of jumps and scares.
  • dispet5 April 2004
    Well? Everyone raved over this film like they raved over Ringu, so I should've known better. But I never learn. Ringu was a failure because of its complete lack of imagination and its degeneration into an endless, pointless detective story, which meant that when resolution finally came it was all explained away and any impact was totally dissipated. Well they didn't make the same mistakes in Ju-On?well except for the lack of imagination. But along with that, they made an entire no swath of mistakes! A Ju-On is a type of curse, a spirit of vengeance that haunts a place when the spirit has died in the midst of a great rage. Whoever comes into contact with the Ju-On, will be destroyed by it. Thus we have a house, and we have various stories of people who come into contact with the house that contains the Ju-On. This should have been horrifying and freaky and disturbing, but at every turn, they succeeded in diminishing it to nothing. For a starters, we never get to know ANY of the characters, we meet them, and 5 minutes later they are being terrorised by the spirits. They are less than two dimensional characters, and I am not able to just accept dumb bad character writing like most idiot viewers. The key to making your audience feel fear and anxiety is to get them involved in the characters. They get an F for that one. Because of its fragmented style, the narrative is totally about the spirits and the evil they perform. Thus there is no actual plot, which should allow for some great horror sequences and very little boredom. But after you've seen the first 4 incidents, you realise that they are all exactly the same with little to nor variation and thus you sit bored for the rest of the film waiting to see if they do something interesting. The one time they do actually try something different, it makes to little sense and doesn't seem to be from the same film and involves a character who you never ever found out what happened to him, thus making it irritating and very much not interesting. So there is no imagination in the horror sequences, they get an F for that one too. And oh wow, look , it moves back and forth in time? so you don't actually really know what is going on half the time and have to stop and try and figure it all out, which, in a film that is meant to be a continuous driving horror fest, is not a good thing. It adds very little to the film and increases the irritation factor. They are remaking this one for the western world as I type. I believe that this one could actually be improved by Hollywood, as they will enforce certain narrative aspects and imaginative big budget horror sequences, which while not necessarily the best kind of horror, is a hell of a lot better than any of the trash that occurs in this version.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I got this film from a friend who bought it (and its sequel) on holiday in Malaysia.

    I'm not a horror fan, in fact I pretty much hate horror films because they are never scary, just cheap with gore thrown in to make up for the lack of legitimate scares.

    Despite this I enjoyed Ringu (and hated the sequel) so I watched this. The story is about a haunted house in Tokyo in where every visitor ends up dead or goes missing at the hands of a creepy white ghost kid and its mother (also a ghost).

    The appearances of these ghosts stem from a family who lived in the house until the father killed his wife and their child. Now the house is cursed and any one who goes in ends up dead.

    The story is chapter based much like Pulp Fiction and tells the story of each character who enters the house. This works well for the first 45 minutes of the film. Each character meets a creepy demise and you get a spooky feeling from just watching these characters that appear to be safe nowhere from the two ghosts. Unfortunately the last 45 minutes see the chapters become nothing more than disjointed and confusing. The final chapter is so surreal its ridiculous and makes no sense. To say this film loses its way is an understatement.

    The story is left open ended and while some may argue that this is to allow the viewer to interpret what has happened I say it is due to the writer and directors inability to wrap up what could have been on of the best ghost stories ever made.

    In the films defence the ghosts of Toshio and his mother are very unnerving, especially Toshio, considering they are just people painted white. Toshio has these big black eyes and remains silent throughout the film. Put simply he just looks plain weird, appearing from out of nowhere to scare the character out of their wits.

    Films never scare me but for some reason every time the kid was on the screen I felt cold shivers. The film is probably worth watching for this feeling alone and the first 45 minutes are excellent although ultimately you'll be disappointed with the ending.

    The sequel is better but strangely loses its way at more or less the same point in the film as the first and ends in much the same manner. It just gives more of an 'ending' that the first film lacks.
  • Rika is a care worker for the social services. Its her first assignment by herself. Her duties is to look after an involute woman who doesn't speak. Even before Rika enters the house she doesn't feel right. The house is a mess, the rest of the family is missing with the woman left alone. Soon Rika finds a boy locked in a room; Toshio. But there is a more malevolent force in this house, that is consuming all how come into contact.

    Ju-On is an interesting twist on the haunted house genre. With the multi-linear story line, we see how the people who have come into contact with the force surrounding this house have meet their fate. The atmosphere is eerie and foreboding, but its over all not scary. There are moments that your skin crawls; but it doesn't keep it at a constant pace. The multiple story lines does become redundant after awhile. They should have focused more upon only a few people and flesh out their story, instead of adding story line upon story line. They don't even add much information to the overall story.

    I think the problem i had with this is that i got stuck in the cultural translation. At times the mythology went over my head, not understanding a lot of the significance that the story holds. Janpanese ghost stories are so different from western styles, so it takes awhile to understand the difference between the two. Janpanese ghost stories are more about the mood, while the American ghost stories are more about the scare.

    Though it went flat during the middle, its still an interesting watch and help change your view on ghost stories.
  • I don't know why all these people I know think that this is "the scariest movie they've ever seen" I saw it, and was totally bored by it. As several people have already reported, the acting is bad, there is no discernible plot, and we never have anything resembling closure. All we see is a man and woman who keep seeing appearances and disappearances of a dead, wet girl and a small naked kid. Whoop-ti-doo! That's it. Oh, and we keep hearing this stupid noise over and over again -- a noise that simply sounds like a person making guttural utterances with their throat. You never get to see what significance this sound has in the film. You never see what makes it or why. After the 20th time hearing it, and still not seeing anything scary accompanying it, you will like just start ignoring it, like I did.

    Then there is this bizarre "hair torture", which I think must be some kind of Japanese cultural thing, because I don't get it at all, even though I've watched lots of Asian cinema. What this hair-torture amounts to is seeing long, black hair, usually messy and unkempt, creeping around corners or stairs, as though the women to whom it belongs is just out of camera range, and we only see the hair. Does the hair act like a snake, and try to choke people? NO! Does it attack people and cut them or whip them? No! All it does it just creep down the stairs, AND NEVER DOES ANY HARM TO PEOPLE. Apparently the Japanese are horrified by dirty, unkempt hair. Whatever.

    Sure, the atmosphere is occasionally creepy, with earthy ambient sounds and such, but the film itself fails to creep or horrify. In the end, all we have is a disjointed, plot less, conclusion-less collection of scenes, with a naked boy and a dead wet girl. and a couple of people reacting to it all with expressions of fear, and screams. It's not the artsy, avant guard film that fans rave about. It's just a dull mess of a film that has fewer scares than the average Ed Wood film.

    Horror does not have to be gory. Horror does not have to have blood or gruesome makeup effects. For example, The Blair Witch Project had no gore or makeup, and managed a few good scares. This film only succeeds in being weird and incomprehensible. If unkempt hair and white-skinned wet girls scare you, then knock yourself out. Otherwise, avoid this boring, pretentious trash.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    ''It is said in Japan that when someone dies in extreme sorrow or rage, the emotion remains and can leave a stain upon that place. Death becomes a part of that place, killing everything it touches. Once it sees you, it never lets go.''

    This explanation makes our movie starts. First we see Rika, a volunteer social worker charged for an older lady named Tokunaga Sachie. Rika sees Sachie alone in the house, and to make things worst, the house is a complete mess. When Rika is cleaning the house, she starts hearing noises that come from the bedroom closet, and opening the closet, she finds Toshio. Toshio is a young boy that Rika recognizes from a photo she saw in the house. Finding everything very strange, she calls the welfare center to report the incident, and just a little after, she is attacked by a black shadow with two big eyes. Each person that lives or visits the haunted house, is murdered or eventually disappears. Different characters , different moments and different years are shown through the movie.

    I watched ''Ju-on: The Grudge'' almost three years ago,recommended by a friend who told me the movie was very scary. I watched it and I found it even more scary then I would imagine it to be! I told my father to watch the movie, and he liked as well.

    I just discovered recently, that this movie is the third from the Japanese Ju-on series. (I am looking forward to watch the other ones.) Definitely the Japanese version of this movie is MUCH better and frightening then the American version, not to mention that is the original version. The atmosphere and music of this movie definitely helps in make you feel even more scary; that's one thing I love in Japanese horror movies: they make you feel frightened without special effects or monsters. It's all psychological and using the imagination of the viewer.

    This is one of the most frightening films I have ever seen, and for sure made me stay scared for more then just 2 days.

    Totally recommended for horror movies fans!
  • gtamaniak-163006 January 2020
    Warning: Spoilers
    First of all, before you watch this film, watch the katasumi and 44444444 shorts and the 2 ju-on the curse films released previously. I was pretty mad because I thought this was the first movie. Why can't people number their films instead of only adding cliche subtitles? At least the previous films are not very long in duration. Another fact that pisses me off here, is the non-linear plot. Movies should stop trying to be the next pulp-fiction and writers should just stick with chronological order. I mean, there is a girl that visits his brother, he locks her outside because he saw kayako, he dies and then the police find his body. In the next segment we see the girl phone calling her brother and in the beginning I thought this was before her visit to the brother's house but then she is killed by Kayako in her own apartment before visiting her brother. So which scene happened first? I don't understand. Did they forget to edit the film or just tried to make it into an anthology with no connection. I hate moments like that. Next, the characters are pretty bland, I mean they are a lot but the closest one I tend to be interested in is the police officer who investigated the Kayako case formerly but still he hasn't got any interesting dialogue and his encounter with the classgirl vision in the film confused me a lot. His death is also disappointing and also isn't explained. He just appears in a scene with his daughter and just passed away like that. The horror is decent though if you are horror film starter. Kayako and her son are some of the most disturbing characters in horror history and her rattle will haunt you.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    this movie is a horror masterpiece, id seen the two American grudge movies first, and they impressed me, but somebody told me that the original was even scarier i had to check it out. the first time i tried to watch it on my own i turned it off after ten minutes because i was that freaked out, and i didn't even really see anything. but the movie has a very haunting and creepy atmosphere that grabs you, even though i had seen the remakes first, it took nothing away from this horror masterpiece. there are a couple of cgi shots here, but for the most part, the scares are very classic, and some moments in this, are scarily haunting, and stick with you. bottom line is you want a brilliant, scary horror movie, this is for you, i highly recommend
  • rdekoch20 October 2004
    Before the film started, I read some quotes from famous American directors praising the Grudge and calling it one of the most frightening films of all time. I was a little nervous about seeing it, but excited that it had gotten such positive attention from filmmakers. That moment before the film started was much more frightening than anything in the actual film. To be generous, I have to say that some of the attempts to scare the audience are innovative. Sadly, nothing here is scary. I had a really hard time caring and was confused by the disjointed and tangential structure of the film. Sometimes the lack of logic in a horror film can work it's benefit. Not the case here. Seeing this film reminded me of why I hate formulaic slasher films. sure, there are some interesting things here, but nothing really gells. I love Asian horror films in general, but this seemed slight compared to the films of Miike, Nakata, K. Kurosawa and the Pang brothers which are getting easier to find in neighborhood video stores.
  • After watching this film, i was breathless. Needless to say, too scared to go p***. Ju-on is a horror movie that stands out above other western horros. Not since The Ring (original Japanese version) has any other horror flicks cause so much tension and screams in theatres. The reason it is so much different from American horror films, is that it uses one-of-a-kind sound effects, and the now famous 'slow and silent' tempo that causes the eerie feel to the movie. Most horror movie goers prefer watching big-breasted blondes running around screaming at the top of her lungs, whilst a mad knife weilding man chases her. That's where the ratings fall. Japan has established itself for being the 'land of horror film'. And Ju-on is no exception in living up to the standard. Sam Raimi has remarked this film as scary. From a director of his calibre making such remarks to ASIAN films, you know there's something coming up. The movie is a sequence of short stories, all interrelated. Which makes it good as it keeps audiences trying to figure out what's going on, and at the same time scaring the sh*t out of them. The films starts out slow, and proceeds with the same rythym throughout. I cannot possibly describe the "scream" scenes, as it will largely spoil the fun of watching it. But one thing guranteed, GET READY.
  • All I have to say is that there better be a total rewrite in the works for the American remake.

    I've seen better camera work from 12 year olds using mom's VHS camcorder and better special effects on the local news.

    It isn't scary except in the sense that there's a mostly naked little boy that runs around in horribly done white makeup. Maybe they'll make Sarah Michelle Gellar run around mostly naked in the American release.

    When we went to see this movie the theatre had up a sign explaining that this was the Japanese version, not the American remake. The sign alone made me take pause before purchasing my ticket, but we were already there. Seriously though, what does a warning like that say about the target audience of the movie?

    It's best left for rental or the dollar theatre, even if you're into big screen/THX eye/ear candy as you're not going to find it here.
  • With obvious homages to Ring, The Grudge could be accused of an element of plagiarism. That doesn't, however, detract from the fact it's a pretty decent picture, and one of the better Tartan Asia Extreme movies.

    First things first - I *love* Ring, and of course, I mean the Japanese original. That film is by far and away the greatest horror flick ever devised and goes above and beyond what I ever expected a movie to do. However, it also instigated a ready conveyor belt of substandard imitators from the same shores ready to cash in on this unique success. Dire nonsense like the hollow Dark Water, the dull and over stylised Eye, the truly pitiful Phone and the slightly bizarre Audition haven't truly come close to the level of Ring.

    Now, while Grudge isn't quite up there with the very best horror films, as far as these Asian efforts go, it's definitely one of the more effective selections.

    Megumi Okina is Rika, a volunteer homehelper. On being assigned to a family whose regular assistant is temporarily unavailable, she encounters the mother of the family who seems unresponsive. However, after a disturbing incident at the family home, Rika finds herself seemingly haunted by some kind of entity and everyone who gets involved in the case seems to endure the same trauma.

    It's a slightly convoluted story to explain, but it works pretty well on screen. As usual the Japanese acting is generally pretty bland, but a few loud screams certainly add colour.

    The main 'bad guy' seems to be some type of ghostly being, and while it doesn't utterly terrify, it definitely brings a few chills. The only real problem is we see too much of it, and not enough is left to our imagination ala Ring. This takes away a certain air mystery and fear. Moreover, the fact the entity resembles the symbolic Japanese girl with long black hair we've come to expect in the likes of Ring and Dark Water slightly detracts from notions of originality.

    However, this is redeemed by some pretty effective direction and camera-work, which aid to promote certain wrongness about what is going on.

    Perhaps a few aspects don't altogether make complete sense, but there's enough style here to paper over such cracks.

    Movies like this do go to show that when it comes to horror, the Far East have a handle over the Western world.

    It's by no means the most brilliant horror I've ever seen, but it's definitely not bad and if you're up for a chill or 2, you could do far worse.
  • Horror films are so called because you would feel horror or fear during or after viewing such films. However, chills, sweats along the spine, dilated pupils, panting for air, screams, or open mouth are NOT products in viewing this film. I will forgive myself to view all two episodes if it is an 'experimental' film done by a student studying film making. Sitting on my chair watching these two movies, I have the hope that something would come up as a reward. Virtually nothing horrible comes up, and that makes the film 'horrible'.

    The so-called atmospheric horror in these two films (Grudge 1 and 2) is something like looking at a confined mad person. The evil spirits will kill everyone in contact and the population of evil spirits grow to no ends, and no purposes per se. Worse still, the first 30 minutes of Episode 2 is the EXACT COPY of the last 30 minutes of Episode 1. What is the rationale? (I am referring to the DVD versions)

    If you want real horror, refrain from spending valuable time to watch them at all. Don't take for granted that 70% of the people who quoted for 10 out of 10 is a good guide. I doubt these people never watched good horror films before. In all, there is no plot, a bunch of innocent people were killed eventually, no mention on how these people were killed, no reasons why they were killed, and there is no hint of any kind the Evil Almighty, if exists, to do with this kind of meaningless deed. Avoid to watch these films entirely is the best policy.
  • I thought I'd check out this movie as it became available on DVD while its American remake, "The Grudge", was fresh in the theaters, and other reviewers had said that this movie was even scarier. Well, they must have been on LSD, because this movie was pathetic. I squirmed throughout the movie - not because I was scared, but because I was when-is-there-going-to-be-a-plot bored! The movie looked liked it was made on a budget of 12 yen. The "evil spirits" looked like actors who accidentally fell into a vat of Welches grape juice. At the intended "scary" moments, instead of reacting with "Oh my God", you end up thinking "Oh, You've got to be joking". If you liked The Ring, and thought this would be in the same vein (as I did), you will be very disappointed.
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