Posted on May 2, 2005 by Flames
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jason Behr, Clea DuVall, KaDee Strickland, Bill Pullman and Ted Raimi. Directed by: Takashi Shimizu and Screenplay Written by: Stephen Susco . Based on the original film “Ju-On by: Takashi Shimizu, Columbia Picture, 2004, 92 min. Rated PG-13., Reviewed by Jeff Jacobs
Imagine everything is quiet. You’re a foreign exchange student from American in Japan subbing for a nurse who disappeared. You enter the house of a woman who is mentally unstable in the middle of Tokyo. Of course something isn’t right. All that is going on in your mind is summed up in one thought: “The whole time I was in that house, I knew something was wrong.” You are now in the world of “The Grudge”.
In 2004, Stephen Susco adapted “The Grudge”, based on Director and Writer Takashi Shimizu’s Japanese thriller “Ju-On”. Like the Japanese version, Takashi Shimizu directs the film. The basic story revolves around a house in Tokyo that is engulfed by a curse that causes its victims to die in the grip of a powerful rage. Karen, portrayed by Sarah Michelle Gellar is an exchange student studying social work in Japan. Agreeing to cover for a nurse who didn’t show up for work. The story follows Karen through her day in the cursed house.
Gellar is joined by an interesting cast including Jason Behr, Clea DuVall, KaDee Strickland, Bill Pullman and Ted Raimi, just to name a few. Unfortunately, the overall acting was just ok. I feel there was a lack of chemistry between the characters.
The story and concept of “The Grudge” is comparable to many of the other horror/thriller movies derived from Japan. They tend to extend more into the lore of Japanese culture and the Far Eastern culture that differs greatly from the Western perception of ghosts and spirits. Unfortunately, the story portrayed in American adaptation didn’t exactly live up to its Japanese counterpart. You would thing that since the same director filmed both the original and the adaptation, that they would be portrayed on the same level. I feel there was something lacking in the translation. Where the film lacks in plotline, it is stronger in other areas.
The cinematography was overall fresh and alluring, represented by Hideo Yamamoto the cinematographer of the original Japanese version of The Ring 2. The most captivating part of the film was the sound. A unique combination of precise score development with a creepy undertone made the film interesting. Combined with the sound effects, the score for “The Grudge” is by far one of the best scores I’ve heard for a horror/thriller film since “The Exorcist”.
Despite the portrayal on film, I feel that the setting of the Grudge would be interesting to try out in a game setting. Personally, I would like to try the concept in either “Orpheus” or “InSpectres”. Imagine being if you could enter the house prepared for the evil that engulfs it. Could your character handle “The Grudge”?
Overall, the American adaptation of “The Grudge” was worth seeing in a surround sound setting. I feel its theatrical release did the sound justice and the film should definitely be viewed on a larger scale. If you missed it in the theatres, I still suggest giving it a shot on DVD. “The Grudge”.
Reviewer: Jeff Jacobs