The Grudge (DVD, 2005, Extended Cut, Not Rated) Reviews
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The Grudge (DVD, 2005, Extended Cut, Not Rated)

83 ratings (63 Epinions reviews)
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The Grudge -- Takashi Shimizu brings his Japanese masterpiece to the U.S.

Sep 25, 2007
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:some scary parts, intriguing story, holds some of its originality as a re-make

Cons:unclear explanations could leave some viewers alienated, a couple of phoned-in characters

The Bottom Line: An interesting film with some scares, this re-make of the Japanese horror film is worth seeing if you are into the genre.


Takashi Shimizu made his name in Japan, behind Ju-On and its sequel shortly there after. Obviously a smart businessman, he put himself behind the desk when the thought was that this could be a good translation to American cinema. Thus we have the birth of The Grudge, the watered down American version of what is surely considered a modern horror classic in Japan. At first I wasn't really willing to give the American version a chance, thinking that it would be dumbed down to the point of losing its allure, but eventually I did give it the chance when I was able to view it on FearNet. Shimizu took the reigns as both the writer and director of the film, and you could see (and feel) it within the context of the story. To be up front, this is a dark horror film, and probably isn't appropriate for a younger audience.

The movie doesn't necessarily center around one particular character, but if you had to choose a central storyline to this film, it would be that of an American nurse (or at least a trainee) living in Tokyo, Japan. She has made her way there to accompany her live-in boyfriend who is doing further schooling, and she is taking the chance to further her career as a nurse. I don't even need to explain the first "twist", because it involves putting her in harms way. Sarah Michelle Gellar plays Karen Davis, who at the last moment fills in for another girl that has been taking care of a home-bound woman. There is something very wrong in the house, and as soon as she walks in, Karen can feel it. But finding nobody but the woman, takes it upon herself to begin the care-taking no matter what her better sense might have to say about it.

That back story to the film, is that when someone dies while in a powerful rage, that a mark is left behind them, and that mark takes the form of a curse. This curse holds no bounds, and stops at nothing to exact revenge on those that cross its path. Now Karen finds herself in a house inhabited by a curse, with no understanding of what is going on, nor how she can resolve the problem. She is not alone in this story though, as through several different flashbacks that are loosely tied together, we start to find out what happened in the house, and ultimately what might happen if Karen is not careful. Though a lot of the sub-plots become translucent along the way, it's not exactly clear what is going on nor what this mysterious darkness is that has begun to makes itself known around the city.

One of the things about The Grudge that worked for me, was that the main story didn't make itself clear at the beginning, and it kept my attention as I tried to deduce what might be coming next. One character actually really stood out for me, and that was a detective on the case by the name of Nakagawa. This Japanese policeman (played by Ryo Ishibashi), had a stoic presence in the film that helped add drama, and really brought realism to the story as the audience gets to see what he goes through to work on a case that he doesn't completely understand. His back-story adds another interesting wrinkle, and keeps the movie flowing during his interactions with Gellar's part. Now it's of note that I came away enjoying this film, but I need to also point out that many viewers will really dislike how the film jumps from current scenes to things from the past without warning. This is to create interest and elongate the story, but could lead to frustration. Additionally, some of the performances aren't quite up to par, and of course, this re-make isn't quite as good as the original. I did think it holds its own against recent American horror releases though, and it kept my interest until the end. If you are up for a scare, this one could be interesting, but be ready for some uncomfortable moments.







Recommend this product? Yes


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