The Grudge (2004) is an American remake of the original, Ju-on (from Japan, 2002). I watched and reviewed Ju-on (read here), and am now back to watch and review The Grudge. Back when The Grudge came out in 2004 I don’t think I even knew it was a remake, but I do know I watched the remake first. I am going to try to not compare and contrast too much, but it is inevitable when you remake a movie. There was a time there were it seemed every horror movie coming out we were getting from Japan: The Ring, The Grudge, One Missed Call, and Shutter.
According to the movie (quoted as best I could) The Grudge is “when a person dies and there is extreme sorrow or rage involved that emotion remains. It puts a stain on that place. The memory repeats itself, and death becomes a part of the place. It kills everything it touches.” It is similar to what we call a haunting, but usually with our version of ghosts they want closure or justice. That isn’t how The Grudge works. It wants to give pain like it got…it’s not revenge because it is on any and all people even distantly connected to the original event.
The quick 411 on this movie is that it revolves around Karen, an American nurse, living in Toyko. She has come into contact with the house and spirits of a double murder/suicide. In doing so she is now marked along with anyone close to her.
I will give it credit that the movie did follow the original a lot. Not word for word, but it used the same names of the boy and mother. It was enough that you felt familiarity and knew what you were watching. Do not assume you know how it ends. That was where this movie branched out from the original. They made an ending that more clear cut than in the original (at least in my opinion). I am on the fence if I like how they chose to end it, but “an A for effort”. The film did have some star backing to it with Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series fame), Bill Pullman (Independence Day), Grace Zabriskie (Twin Peaks), and a fave of mine, KaDee Strickland (Charlotte from Private Practice TV series).
Like the original this one also jumps all over the place! It was probably easier to follow since we didn’t have subtitles, but sometimes it was so unnecessary. I don’t give a rat’s ass about the Williams’ woman trying to shop in Japan. It was time filler..let’s get to the scary!
That brings me to the third beer. It wasn’t suspenseful enough. It tried, and it had some good freaky moments. There was plenty of the cat screeching (more than the original), croaking, and extra blood. Perhaps it was the lighting..too well-lit, but the actors didn’t give off that jumpy panicked vibe the other one did. In this film when they were jumpy and sketchy it was more like someone who is afraid of getting busted by the cops.
It became more about Karen and solving the mystery, gang. She is online, she’s researching, she interviewing people, and all that jazz. Which then was in my head..Scooby Doo. This film just happened to come out the year of the second live action Scooby Doo movie that Gellar starred as Daphne. Maybe she used some of that for her role?
The ending. I did not like that they made the original victim, Kayako, be a Fatal Attraction-type of chick. It was like her husband felt justified in killing her, and I just would rather it be like the first that he was a complete psychotic dick. Not that she “had it coming” because she had this infatuation thing in her head. I understood it needed an ending and a way to tie things up, but it wasn’t the best way.
It is a decent remake. It did not completely butcher it, but it did try to make it its own. I may not agree with some of that, but I appreciate that they tried. Of course the movie ended just right for a sequel! That is our style in the good old U.S.A… just ask Jason Voorhees.
Take a Drink: every time they time hop.
Take a Drink: every time you compare this one to the original (I know I set you up on that one)
Do a Shot: if you when you see her trying to burn down the house you start singing “The Roof is on Fire” or “Burning Down the House”