“JU-ON: a curse born of a grudge held by someone who dies in the grip of powerful anger. It gathers in the places frequented by that person in life, working its spell on those who come into contact with it and thus creating itself anew.”
If you’ve ever had a nightmare where you were trying to run away from something but couldn’t because your whole body seemed to be frozen then you’ll know where I’m coming from on this one. Having just watched the Japanese film ‘Ju-On – The Grudge’ you’re left with an odd sense of calm after the hour-and-a-half of unnerving images which you can’t help but pay attention to.
This ones got everything – scary kids, demonic cats, heavy breathing, things crawling around in the loft, psychotic school-girls, deranged social service workers, traumatized policemen and enough dead bodies to impress Arnold Schwarzenegger! Unfortunately its almost too much and the story has been somewhat sacrificed in the race to squeeze everything in.
The story episodically follows the interconnected tales Rika, Katsuya, Hitomi, Toyama, Izumi and Kayako and as if they weren’t enough there’s about half-a-dozen other supporting actors to contend with. Character development is short-and-sweet but it does the job as you are slowly led deeper and deeper into the manic world in which they find themselves.
You’d probably put this in the ‘haunted-house’ class of horror films but it doesn’t follow the traditional formula and is surprisingly refreshing. Tension is built by the fear of what is caught in the corner of the eye and the sounds coming from around the corner. Its when whats hiding in the corner comes out that the fun really begins! This is truly a creepy and memorable film which doesn’t overdo the gore or special effects and provides a nice balance of scary bits with story exposition.
‘Ju-On – The Grudge’ is really a remake of a former low-budget TV movie (‘Ju-On’) made by the same director. Having not seen the original I can’t comment on which is better, but word has it that the former is by far the better. Once I’ve got my hands on it I’ll let you know! For a more in-depth review take a look here – 7/10.