Most of my readers are probably familiar with The Grudge films, however, they might be more familiar with the American remake and sequels. This review is of the original Japanese version of the film released in 2002. If you’ve never seen a Japanese film, or never felt the urge to seek one out, I strongly suggest trying this one.
After a family was murdered in their home, their spirits are seeking revenge on anyone who the house. From the outside, the house seems a bit untidy, but nothing to really make anyone think twice about going in. Strange things happen to people in a variety of ways. Some see a little boy, others have visions of family members, others see a horrifying, dark manifestation of the spirit seeking revenge. Still more terrifying, some don’t see anything until they’re out of the house. They can be tormented and killed anytime, anywhere.
There are so many different characters having their own stories about how they encountered the home and were eventually picked off, it is hard to keep them all straight. However, I don’t think that is a bad thing. The fact that there are so many stories, from homeowners, friends, family to detectives and an innocent social worker, just proves how powerful and angry the spirits are that they cannot discriminate. Besides, that means we get to see so many different ways these people’s stories end.
This film uses suspense and creepy images so well, they kept me up at night. So many times throughout the film, you wait on the edge of your seat, knowing something horrifying it about to happen to the poor, already shaken character. It’s great and never gets old. And those creepy Grudgey ghosts, so pale, sometimes blue, with big eyes fixed with terror are wonderfully nightmare inducing. At times, the more ambiguous forms seem to have come straight out of nightmares. And they appear anywhere, under a table in a restaurant, on security cameras, or under your own blankets in bed!
One scene, just a moment in the film has really stayed with me and keeps giving me the creeps. A day or two after seeing this, my husband touched the back of my head, and I jumped, immediately remembering the image of a hand touching Rika’s hair while she’s showering. As she is rinsing her hair, she touches the back of he hand and feels another hand there! Just as quickly as it happened, it is gone, but you know the terror is far from over. The images are amazing, burn into your memory and come back at the slightest touch!
Ju-On: The Grudge is a great horror film that stays fresh tense from beginning to end. The tension and suspense rises and falls perfectly between each story and continues to draw us in again and again. Best of all, the variety of omnious and downright scary images are unique, uncanny and unforgettable. If you like a good supernatural scare, and aren’t too concerned with being kept up at night, I must implore you see Ju-On.
“Who’s that boy upstairs?”