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Overall Rating
2.66

Awesome: 20%
Worth A Look: 8.8%
Just Average: 21.6%
Pretty Crappy: 16.8%
Sucks32.8%

7 reviews, 83 user ratings


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Grudge, The (2004)
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by EricDSnider

"The Sarah Michelle Gellar version is not helped much by her presence."
3 stars

They're remaking foreign films into English-language ones so fast now that they've lapped themselves: "The Grudge" opens in theaters while "Ju-On: The Grudge," which it is based on, is still playing. I saw them within a week of each other (I saw the American one first, in case you're curious), and I quickly realized it was useless to try to write two reviews when they are essentially the same movie. Of course, "Chasing Liberty" and "First Daughter" were essentially the same movie, too, and I managed to review both of them, so maybe I'm just lazy. You be the judge.

Rarely, if ever, has a foreign film been remade so closely. Takashi Shimizu directed both versions, some of the dialogue is the same (though translated into English, of course), the plots are nearly identical. Shimizu even uses the same sets and actors in several instances.

All of which begs the question, why remake it at all? The answer, of course, is that with rare, martial-arts-oriented exceptions, subtitled foreign films do not fare well in American theaters. "Ju-On" would have topped out at around $50 million, at the very most, even if it were released on 3,000 screens; "The Grudge" will gross four times that, all because the characters speak English rather than Japanese.

"Ju-On" does it more episodically, with chapter titles declaring the name of that segment's main character, but both films tell the story of a house in Tokyo where a man once killed his wife and possibly his son and possibly himself. Now, several years later, all who enter the house seem to encounter a curse of some kind, insofar as they are soon beset by evil forces, haunted by the specters of the aforesaid wife and son, and eventually murdered.

The story is told out of sequence, jumping from past to present at various key moments, usually just as a person is being killed. This method mainly serves to make us think this ISN'T just a regular ol' story about a haunted house in which all occupants die one by one. It's particularly disorienting in the Japanese version, where unfortunately Shimizu cast actresses who look alike to play the various leads -- same hair style and length, same height, etc. I'm not saying ALL Japanese women look alike; I'm just saying the ones in "Ju-On" do. If you don't keep track of everyone's names, you're lost.

The American version streamlines it a bit, allowing for more focus on Sarah Michelle Geller's character, an American girl volunteering at a care center while her boyfriend (Jason Behr) goes to school. Gone are the original's subplots dealing with a detective who investigated previous murders and whose daughter came under the evil power of the house, too. I rather like that thread, as it shows the far-reaching power of the house, stretching across several years and affecting everyone even tangentially connected to it. The Geller version feels more compact, less broad in its scope, more like a traditional Hollywood thriller.

Both versions are very big on the jump-scares, where things occur suddenly and make you wet yourself. The appearance of the creepy androgynous Japanese boy (Yuya Ozeki) and his forlorn mother (Takako Fuji) is always a startling development, especially when either of them makes their weird bullfrog-croaking sound that is generally a harbinger of death. (The characters are played by the same actors in both films, which makes me wonder if they'll become typecast as creepy Japanese people who show up and kill you. Is there a big market for that?)

In fact, there is nearly enough atmosphere and general creepiness to make you forget that neither film really adds up to anything. We learn very early on that something awful happened in this house and now everyone who enters will die. Then, at the end of the film, we discover that, um, something awful happened in this house and now everyone who enters will die. There is no twist, no "reveal," no tying up of all the clues to make us see the clever plotting that was lurking beneath the surface all along. It's disappointing to realize that the film truly IS nothing more than a series of people dying, albeit in armrest-gripping fashion. It's good for a lark, but we usually like our thrillers to have something more to them.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=11076&reviewer=247
originally posted: 09/04/05 04:02:45
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Leeds Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Leeds Film Festival series, click here.
Horror Remakes: For more in the Horror Remakes series, click here.

User Comments

10/21/08 Shaun Wallner Fell asleep to this one. 1 stars
9/30/08 Ashley Nicole Hendershot-Wetherington Spoof by Anna Faris in Scary Movie movies is much better. 3 stars
3/10/08 Jayme Isaacs I Really Liked The Grudge Remake 5 stars
9/17/07 Axel The Best horror movie EVER!!!! 5 stars
5/29/07 Charles Tatum Good and unsettling 4 stars
2/19/07 Scully I can breathe backwards slowly too but it doesn't make me scary. 1 stars
2/15/07 Axel Leos Terrifying and eerie 5 stars
1/22/07 jeannie karlsen I was shocked at how scary it was,however, sarah michelle gellar was average at best 4 stars
1/08/07 vero is scarry! i love horror movies but this is the only one that scared me and is hunting me 5 stars
12/07/06 Stanley Thai It's a scary film but it's an average movie, so it's a scary average movie. 3 stars
10/13/06 Chris A pathetic attempt with no plot and no scary scenes. It'd be darn easy to spoof though. 1 stars
10/01/06 Pritchett So bad it was funny, the audience kept laughing at the stupidity of it all. B-A-D movie. 1 stars
9/20/06 simm dis movie is real horrible dan others i hd ever seen 4 stars
9/02/06 Dragon The Artist Why do they let the Japanese even attempt to make horror films? 1 stars
8/29/06 K.Sear See, this is why remakes should be illegal. It's dumbed down for the American public. 1 stars
7/20/06 Frank Rountree good for a rainy day, fair, but just average 3 stars
11/26/05 cr a little confusing story, good acting, scary, but it just seem off 2 stars
11/22/05 Melissa Not scary at ALL, lost in plot, didn't know what was happening! 1 stars
10/27/05 chris good film 4 stars
10/24/05 Anika The Grudge kicks ass guys!! 5 stars
9/20/05 Carolyn Rathburn I was not impressed with this movie, it was just gore without truth 2 stars
9/13/05 bbbr scary suck 1 stars
8/28/05 CxJx scary shit 5 stars
8/16/05 ES I found this movie getting back to the roots of the horror I loved as a kid= scary stuff 5 stars
8/04/05 ^podo not very scary but very entertaining 4 stars
7/25/05 Eric Rollins Japanese influence makes this very interesting. Like it lots. 4 stars
7/21/05 Jordan okay I hate you all for saying this movie sucked its better the LOTR.....rawr!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
7/20/05 Sir Dude What's this? Hollywood remakes an asian movie, again?! You bastards.. 1 stars
7/14/05 betty i love the gor 5 stars
7/02/05 Eddie WTF 1 stars
7/01/05 ira manley too scary for me 5 stars
6/07/05 John boring and doesn't make sense 1 stars
6/04/05 Charlene Javier Better the second time around. 3 stars
6/03/05 Christy Schultz not bad..hoped for better 3 stars
6/01/05 Ole Man Bourbon enough with the stupid girl. btw, the boy meeowing is the funniest thing since magnolia 2 stars
5/23/05 E-FUNK I've got a grudge with this piece of shit remake... leave the originals alone! 1 stars
4/21/05 Pippin007 NOT SCARY!!!! The story doesn't make sense!! 1 stars
4/14/05 ELI arg. scary... almost as idiotic as the original. Someone should shoot the director.he sucks 1 stars
4/14/05 ELI arg. scary... almost as idiotic as the original. Someone should shoot the director.he sucks 1 stars
3/21/05 Gomer Uh, I think I was scared. Nope. 3 stars
2/24/05 Comixchick One...long...boring...not-scary...zzzzzzzzz....... 2 stars
2/16/05 Rachel Neely Not as creepy as I'd hoped, but still entertaining. 4 stars
2/08/05 Raul Valdez looks scary as hell 5 stars
2/05/05 clinger26 as crappy as the asian version 1 stars
2/03/05 Meredith Harshaw The kinda horror flick of which too many get made -- eerie, but makes no real sense. 1 stars
2/03/05 Heather Purplethorne Threatens to be Sarah Michelle Gellar's breakthrough role but ultimately wastes her. 1 stars
2/01/05 BobbysRedQueen Another Horrible Movie ! Should have been a comedy ! 1 stars
12/25/04 Freddy retarded movie and terrible ending. horrible waste of $$$ 1 stars
12/05/04 da hood' almost as bad as ANCHORMAN! Fucking horrible!!!!!!! 1 stars
12/03/04 jasmine platts this film is grate an dterifying its the best horro film ive seen 5 stars
11/25/04 Caity i thought it was reli good, lots of shock parts 5 stars
11/22/04 Mockingbird So Rotten that I wasn't even scared and I'm scared of everything. Why Geller? 2 stars
11/22/04 Tanya A major dissapointment! Is not worth going to see it... at all! 1 stars
11/21/04 Bobby Creepy and scary, but it had no character development!! Gellar was underused. 4 stars
11/21/04 John Bale A fine essay in the supernatural, albeit Oriental style, despite Gellar. 5 stars
11/20/04 Archanist_101 Not the best & scariest film for this year... But it beats "The Ring"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
11/18/04 Khalecia stop hatin who ever thought it was crud! 5 stars
11/17/04 Courtney Bradley It freaked me out, They should Make a 2nd one. 5 stars
11/16/04 Sesilia Godoy 3 stars
11/15/04 Christina Sullivan THE MOVIE WAS GREAT! 5 stars
11/15/04 Naturezrevenge A sad and predictable re-make of the original. Terrible acting and pitiful timing. Pathetic 1 stars
11/14/04 psycho black dwarf guilty of being completely unnerved by a horror flick that blew it's load in the 1st act! 4 stars
11/07/04 ashley i loved it! it was the most scariest movie i've ever seen since The Ring!!! 5 stars
11/04/04 missy krook teh best movie i ahve seen in a while 5 stars
11/02/04 Al Guy It had the set pieces in place to be scary-BUT, it wasn't! Kids laughed in the theater. Ugg 2 stars
11/01/04 Momo The real terror… People paying to watch a bad version of a good movie… 2 stars
10/31/04 Jeff Terrible, not scary at all, just a blatant ripoff of 'The Ring' 1 stars
10/28/04 Ramona Lee So disappointed! 2 stars
10/27/04 Kris almost as bad as a night with Ben Affleck. 1 stars
10/26/04 Ray Bah 1 stars
10/26/04 mason I've seen scarier Scooby-Doo episodes, shame on you Mr. Raimi... 1 stars
10/26/04 Mike Doyle vivid, entertaining, and hair raising, good time 5 stars
10/25/04 Thran Not terrifying, but atmospheric and creepy. 5 stars
10/25/04 Sonny it was ok....ring was better. 3 stars
10/25/04 Manchild Fun for what it is. Not as dark as the ring. Scare factor depends on the individual 3 stars
10/25/04 BrianWilly Awesome horror flick, one of the best I've seen. 5 stars
10/24/04 karen i love it 5 stars
10/24/04 Naka Not at all thrilling or frightening. Just dumb and cheap. 2 stars
10/24/04 moviedude could do worse, but not a horror classic 4 stars
10/24/04 Dark Romance More of The Ring, but like Ring, super creepy 5 stars
10/23/04 Chelsea This movie hurt me it was so bad. 1 stars
10/23/04 Ebert Rogers Horrible! But somewhat funny. 1 stars
10/23/04 John Olson Crittics be damned!!!!! This is scarier that the ring, I go to a horror movie for the thril 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  22-Oct-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 17-May-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  18-Nov-2004




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