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    Ju-on: The Grudge

    Ju see that?

    Yes, you probably have seen the cobbled-together horror-film chestnuts of "Ju-on: The Grudge" many times before.


    I'm sure I've seen "Ju-on" before, but the year was 1972, the hour was midnight, it was introduced by Vincent Price with a sinister cackle and the people weren't all speaking Japanese.

    Written and directed by: Shimizu Takashi.
    Cast: Okina Megumi, Ito Misaki, Uehara Misa, Ichikawa Yui, Tsuda Kanji, Shibata Kayoko, Kukuri Yukako, Matsuda Shuri, Tanaka Yoji, Matsuyama Takashi, Ozeki Yuya, Fuji Takako, Ishikura Chikara, Isomura Chikako, Honda Daisuke, Inoue Hirokazu, Kobayashi Tomomi, Fujii Aki, Odagiri Risa, Saito Akira.
    Choreography by: Kikumura Tokusho.
    Edited by: Takahashi Nobuyuki.
    In Japanese with English subtitles.

    Related links: Official site
    Angelika Film Center 18 West Houston at Mercer St.

    This is classic low-budget midnight-movie horror with beiged-out color, unseen demons, creepy music, bodies back from the dead, hapless victims stumbling right into death's lair. Halls are walked and stairs are climbed, step by reluctant step. Mysterious noises are heard and fatefully checked out. Face-down bodies are turned face-up. Scene after scene ends in a "Don't open that door!" moment. Sure, these things gave me nightmares — when I was 8.

    Our guide into this world of pain is Rika, a young trainee in the municipal social service agency sent to make a home visit to an unresponsive client. Arriving, she finds the woman, an elderly grandma, lying mute and expressionless in the midst of a household disaster area. Worse, something seems to be amiss up on the second floor, launching our first stair-climbing, hall-creeping, door-opening misadventure. A bedroom closet is taped up tight — but wait, something seems to be moving in there. IT'S A PALLID DEAD BABY!!! No, it's just a cat. NO, IT'S A CRAZED TALKING DOLL!!! No, really, it's a cat. NO, IT'S —

    Well, we're not meant to know what it is just yet. Poor Rika is only the first of the unfortunates to be fed to the evil death house. In fact, the victims come checking in but not checking out with conveyor-belt regularity. In a series of vignettes cleverly scrambled in time, each one meets some new kind of supernatural end. It works for as long as we still believe the film is building up to something, but the schtick eventually wears thin.

    So what do we do when the haunted house ceases to amuse us? We just pick up and leave.

    Whom to kill next? How about schoolgirls? Want schoolgirls? We got schoolgirls. Cute ones. Prim ones. Sexy ones. In uniforms. Being slashed up by shadowy blobs of evil. Screaming terrified screams. Good one. Never seen that before.

    In fact, filmmaker Shimizu Takashi dredges up pretty much every hackneyed idea in the book, cobbles a minimally dramatic scene out of it, and slaps it up on the screen whether it belongs to this movie or some other one. At the end, we get a little mini-revelation that ties a few but not all of these scattered threads together. But big deal. What began with a certain amount of intrigue — the mute grandma in the now-trashed, now-spotless living room was a good start — has long since turned into a waste of time.

    JULY 24, 2004

    Reader comments on Ju-on: The Grudge:

  • Sexual content in films   from Jared Jackniggly, Aug 24, 2004
  • Re: Sexual content in films   from *sigh*, Dec 8, 2004
  • The Grudge Ju-On Review   from mel brown, Aug 30, 2004
  • Re: The Grudge Ju-On Review   from Matthew, Nov 24, 2004
  • Re: More Parts to The Ring Yes   from Al Lee, Nov 24, 2004
  • true story   from julia, Nov 24, 2004
  • Re: true story   from Matthew, Nov 24, 2004
  • Re: true story   from Al Lee, Nov 24, 2004
  • Re: true story...   from Seth, Apr 5, 2005
  • Re: true story   from Jimmy, Dec 12, 2011
  • music   from kelly, Dec 22, 2004
  • yar   from SSSSSSSCARY, Jan 7, 2005
  • Re: music   from Ally, Feb 14, 2005
  • Re: music   from Ashlie, Aug 22, 2005
  • Re: true story   from Ally, Feb 12, 2005
  • Re: true story   from Ashlie, Aug 22, 2005
  • The Grudge   from adam, Mar 4, 2005
  • Ju-on scary   from Krissy, Mar 5, 2005
  • [no subject]   from Seth, Apr 5, 2005
  • Re: [no subject]   from dont need to no, Apr 17, 2005
  • Scary   from Mariah, Apr 21, 2005
  • is it true   from katelyn, May 1, 2005
  • Re: is it true   from [x] filta [x], Nov 17, 2006
  • ju-on WAS scary...   from river, Aug 25, 2005
  • true or false   from lucy, Feb 11, 2007
  • Re: true or false   from Kotaro Tanaka, May 25, 2007

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