Honest Movie Reviews from a Life Long Horror Fan. Each movie is reviewed immediately after viewing.
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The Grudge
★★★★☆
Run Time: 92
Released: 2004
Reviewed: 13 Jun 2015
Viewed: 457 ¦  Comments
Category: Reviews, Family, Horror, Mystery
The Grudge
  

Year: 2004
Directed By: Takashi Shimizu
Starring: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

An American nurse living and working in Tokyo is exposed to a mysterious supernatural curse, one that locks a person in a powerful rage before claiming their life and spreading to another victim. (Source: IMDB)

Some people give this movie grief because it’s an America remake of a Japanese film, and honestly there is some validity to their complaint. The original was just a little better. There is also a scene added to this version of the movie, simply to explain what is going on, because the original was based in Japanese folklore that they felt, didn’t translate well for the average American movie goer.. I understood the plot lines very well, simply because I’m an avid Horror fan, and it was easy for someone with my knowledge of these sort of stories, to understand.

The crew, director, and most of the cast are the exact same as worked on the original, swapping out a few key roles for the American audience.

The story bounces a bit, back and forth, between time lines, explaining what happened in the house – not from a linear perspective, but as the characters learn about them. But, the story basically goes like this (Spoilers Ho!)

  1. Story 1 (3 years ago)
    • A young, married, woman (Kayako) becomes obsessed with her American college professor, who is also married.. and doesn’t notice her. She is hooked on him, falling in love from afar, and writing his name over and over again in her journal.
    • Her husband finds her journal, and in a jealous rage:
      • Drowns their son (Toshio) and places his body in the closet
      • Kills their cat in the bathroom
      • Strangles her and stuffs her body into a zip-up garment bag, placing her in the attic.
      • He then commits suicide by hanging himself.
    • The teacher, in an attempt to confront Kayako, and get her to stop, visits her house.. shortly after the murder/suicide
    • The next morning he commits suicide by going over the railing of his apartment, falling to his death. It is unclear if any spirits are involved, or he just feels somehow guilty for these events.
  2. Story 2 (Last week)
    • A few years later, an american couple Matthew Williams, his wife, Jennifer , and ailing mother, Emma move into the house
    • Feeling the influence of the evil that remains in the house, the aging mother begins to fall into dementia, requiring the assistance of local care providers.
    • One day Jennifer wakes from a nap to find the contents of the table have been knocked to the floor.. Emma is sitting up, staring blankly and Jennifer believes that her mother in law has made the mess, until she sees a trail of footprints leading upstairs.
    • Following the footprints, she discovers a black cat – which is scooped up by a pair of white hands, she proceeds up the stairs looking for an intruder, and the door slams shut behind her.
    • Matthew returns home to find the house in disarray, and a message on his answering machine, from his sister Susan, concerned about the well being of their mother.
    • Searching she finds Jennifer on the bed, wheezing in labored breathing.. as he reaches for the phone to call for help, a pale boy appears, making cat-like noises.
    • He backs up against the closet as Toshio appears suddenly over his head
  3. Story 2 1/2 (happening at the same time as Story 2)
    • Susan, Matthew’s sister, is preparing to leave work.
    • She calls Matthew, leaving a message.
    • As she attempts to leave, she is frightened by moaning sounds coming from the hallway.. lights flickering, and the ghost of Kayako crawling up the stairs.
    • She flees to the security office and convinces a guard to search the floor.
    • As she watches from the security camera monitor, Kayako’s ghost appears as a black form rising from the floor, and proceeds down the hall.
    • She goes home, and recieves a phone call from her brother Matthew, who is downstairs waiting to be let in. She buzzes him in, only to find that it was not him, and Kayako’s grinding moan coming from her phone.
    • She dives into bed in fear, but soon discovers that she is not alone as Kayako’s ghost crawls up under the sheets, and takes her.
  4. Story 3 (Present Day)
    • Yoko (Yoko Maki) is a girl whose work is to take care of Emma and clean the house. When picking up trash on the floor and stairs, she hears someone walking around up in the attic. Following the noise, Yoko enters a closet in the bedroom and sees a small door in the ceiling, which leads to the attic. Using a lighter, Yoko sticks her head up through the door and slowly turns around, looking for the source of the sound. She eventually comes face to face with the ghost of Kayako, who attacks her, dragging her up into the closet.
  5. Primary Story
    • Karen Davis (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is called in to work at the house and care for Emma after Yoko disappears…

Sorry, you’re on your own from her. What follows is the primary story with the back stories intertwined as Karen discovers them.

The creepiness of the movie, and the mere sound of Kayako’s guttural, broken, moan haunted me for a few weeks after seeing this movie for the first time. There is a reason that Japanese Horror was so popular in the early 2000’s, they’re scary as hell.

With all that being said.. the original (Ju-On) is a little better, if you can stand sitting through subtitles.

Here you go.. pleasant dreams!