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Movie Review

The Grudge

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic material, disturbing images/terror/violence, and some sensuality

Reviewed by: Douglas Downs

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults Teens
Drama, Horror, Thriller
1 hr. 36 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
Copyright, Columbia Pictures
Copyright, Columbia Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Columbia Pictures

ghosts in the Bible


final judgment

FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say? Answer

“All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.” —1 Corinthians 10:23

Featuring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jason Behr, Clea DuVall, Bill Pullman, Kadee Strickland
Director: Takashi Shimizu
Producer: Taka Ichise, Roy Lee, Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, Doug Davison, Nathan Kahane
Distributor: Columbia Pictures

“It never forgives. It never forgets.”

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “The Grudge is the curse of one who dies in the grip of a powerful rage. Those who encounter this murderous supernatural curse die and a new one is born—passed like a virus from victim to victim in an endless, growing chain of horror.”

Sequel: “The Grudge 2” (2006)

It is NO secret that the actress Sarah Michelle Gellar has a strong fan following. She was the fabled “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer” for seven seasons. She also was in the first two “Scooby Doo” films. Ms. Gellar is now going to take audiences into a haunted house. “The Grudge” is another brilliant translation of a Japanese movie. Takashi Shimizu, originally directed “Ju-On” (the grudge). Shimizu is now given the reigns and a bigger budget to bring his craft to American audiences. Don’t let the title fool you. “The Grudge” may sound like the name of a new club band, but it has nearly the same intensity as “The Ring.”

No, I do not believe in ghosts and spirit-power beyond the grave. Hebrews 9:27 “Man is destined to die once and after that to face the judgment.” I do believe that Satan can appear as a malicious and deceptive spirit. I John 4:1 “Dear Friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God.”

Having said that, I do like a good creepy haunted house flic. This one is both unsettling and disturbing. This time our residence of restless spirits is in Tokyo. I am glad the studios let Shimizu keep the story in his native country. The biggest change from the original is an American cast and the language is of course.English. “The Grudge,” like “The Ring” does come with its own spooky videotape. The good news is that this tape does not have a death guarantee. It is also a much smaller plot point. There is a great build up during the story, but the ending is like the feeling you get when a friend spoils the plot.

Director Shimizu wrote the original script in a traditional nonlinear fashion. Steven Susco was added to the writing team. He helped to expand the story with a series of well-placed flashbacks. Just when you think that you may have a handle on what is going on, Steve will pull you into another world. I loved that sense of imbalance.

Sarah Michelle Gellar plays a character named Karen Davis. She is a nurse/caregiver for a woman who is incapacitated. Karen leaves her residence to return years later. Ms. Davis soon finds herself in the middle of a series of unfolding events that happened years ago (you could say “she’s the nurse hunting the curse”).

It is difficult to believe that so many horrible things took place in such a nice house in the middle of Tokyo. Those past events begin to haunt and touch the lives of everyone who enters (of course). The ghosts in this film are NOT bound to the house. They can travel all over town. That means there is NO such thing a safe place. There are plenty of creepy sounds, ghosts appearing when you least expect it and LOTS of jumps.

Eventually Shimizu does let us piece together the clues and we begin to figure out what happened in this quiet unassuming house.

If you are looking for a decent scary movie, I do recommend this one. Composer, Christopher Young (Spiderman 2, Runaway Jury and The Core) did a wonderful job to set the mood. Kudos also should be given to Hideo Yamamoto (Ring 2) for excellence in cinematography. I also enjoyed again the work of Jon Block (I, Robot) in the cutting edge world of visual effects. Finally, my thanks to Sony pictures for letting Shimizu expand his creative vision.

The language is easy on the ears. The violence is intense, but well within the PG-13 rating. There is a ghost of a boy that appears to be unclothed through out the film. If you enjoy people vanishing, scary elevators, frightening shadows, a black cat and a lot of terrified people.then “The Grudge” is your ticket.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive—My goal was exceeded in seeing this film. I haven’t watched a suspense/horror movie in quite a while. I decided to see this while my wife and daughter saw, “Raise Your Voice.” Obviously, I wouldn’t want my young daughter to see the movie. I’m not sure I would want my wife to see it either. She is quite jumpy and would probably scream many times.

I intended to experience an opportunity to have that eerie, unsettling, don’t blink (but don’t close your eyes) feeling. Although I was in a theater, I had chills. I’m not a big fan of gore. This movie is better described as a suspense, although there are some gory images. This is only a movie. If you want a thrill, like you may enjoy on a roller coaster, go, enjoy, and try to sleep good. It’s fun. more »
My Ratings: [Average/4]
—John, age 31
Positive—I absolutely loved this movie. It scared me a great deal, but then again, I was scared when I watched “The Ring” for the fact that the dead woman in the closet, her face just… wow. It was horribly good. “The Grudge” kept me from sleeping some nights, because I was afraid of opening my eyes and seeing Kayoko (The girl missing the lower jaw), or the actual dead woman crawling on my bed to stare at me with her huge eyes.

I’ll tell you one thing, I don’t go into the woods at night alone or into my attic for that matter, any longer.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/5]
—Heather McCain, age 18
Neutral—There was nothing significantly bad about this ghost movie, but it was unnecessarily gross, and it had no point. 1 Corinthians 10:23 is pretty much exactly how I feel about this movie: “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.”

I’ve seen horror movies that are worth the watch, but this was not one of them.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 2
Gabriel Mohler, age 25 (USA)
Neutral—This movie has nothing to do with improving your relationship with Christ. Why did I see this movie? That’s what I asked myself. Though it was good for scare quality, why does someone want to see a dead girls with her jaw ripped off? I feel like a sicko now that I have seen this movie. It was like watching “The Ring.” The interesting part was the preview for “The Ring 2” before the movie.
My Ratings: [Average/4]
—Matthew, age 23
Neutral—Plot wise it is your standard occult spiritualism with the restless, and murderous, spirit. The strength of the movie is in its directing which makes it effective. Some people in the audience were laughing at themselves for jumping out of their seats. After all, it is predictable, but it is also effective as a horror movie.

From a Christian perspective it is not overly violent, provocative, or laced with foul language but the plot, of course, is pagan spiritualism and the occult. No hope of redemption exist for the restless spirits, nor a hell. The spirit’s victims never pray for deliverance, and none appears for them. Overall, it is an effective but largely predictable and pagan movie. I give it a B-/C+.
My Ratings: [Average/4]
—D. Criswell, age 37
Positive—As a fan of the “Horror” genre I thought “The Grudge” was absolutely fantastic indeed. Takashi Shimizus brilliant re-make of his own very good horror classic “Ju-oh” is packed full of chills and thrills. The screenplay by Stephen Susco was excellent and the cast was terrific (Sarah Michelle Gellar being the standout). In short, I love this film.
My Ratings: [Good/5]
—Stephen Pearce, age 30
Comments from young people
Positive—This is the scariest movie I have ever seen in my life! My dad got scared! If you’re looking for something to freak you out, don’t go to this movie, it will terrify you. Usually I’m not to afraid of movies, but this one was pretty good. I thought that the plot was good and the acting was too. I do not recommend this movie to anyone under the age of 14 though.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/4]
—Brittany, age 15
Negative—This movie was the worst! I went into this movie thinking it would be very scary. It’s whole concept and plot was pointless. They used false advertisement making it seem to be very scary. I will say there was no bad words, but it does state if you die your spirit lingers around and can kill other people which is false and an abomination to God and go’s against what His Word says. I do not encourage you to see this movie! It is a waste of time and a waste of God’s time.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive/1]
—Kara-Ashley, age 16
Neutral—I saw this movie with my father and it was VERY scary. There were lots of jumps and barely any profanity and only one scene of brief sensuality (no touching or clothes off). If you like scary elevators, hairy white eyed ghosts, and LOTS of jumps then this is your kind of movie!
My Ratings: [Better than Average/4½]
— Alex Durden, age 11
Neutral—While I liked this movie, it still wasn’t as good as “The Ring.” Yes, it had its scary moments, but a lot of it was really predictable. Like when the bathtub fills up with water and the guy is going to unplug it, it’s way to obvious Kayako is going to grab him. Sarah Michelle Gellar’s acting isn’t all that like it was in “Buffy…”, but every actor has periods in their careers like that. Yes, the end is a cliff-hanger like “The Ring,” but at least “The Ring” actually ended. This ending just leaves you hanging there, saying “That’s it?” or “They better make a sequel!” Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE scary movies, that’s why I wanted to see this one. But it just wasn’t my beef, lol.

Anyway, if any parents are wondering if their kids should see this one, I’d say maybe no one under 9 because it is rated PG-13, after all. About the language, I myself didn’t hear any except “cr*p” which if you think about it isn’t as bad as what they could have said. Anyway, there wasn’t any actual “sex” in it, just Karen and her boyfriend making out on the bed, and it’s not for that long, (maybe 30 seconds). All in all, it WAS scary, just not like “The Ring.” But I still give it 3/5.
My Ratings: [Good/3]
—Rachel, age 12
Negative—I went to see this movie knowing little about the plot or director. I saw the film with a group of friends who came out of the theatre loving it. The girls I went with enjoyed it with shrieks of terror and the guys thought it was great; I on the other hand felt somewhat different. The film began with a man falling over the side of his balcony, seemingly on his own accord. From there the movie attempts to frighten and terrorize the viewer every five minutes.

Some may say that because of the lack in profanity this film should be given an average rating, but from my experiences there was enough cursing in the theatre to give the movie an R. This movie gives no glory to our Lord and Savior and serves no purpose other than to fill the minds of believers with scenes of graphic violence which will be there for a very long time.

The entire story is based around a pagan belief and while trying to sleep, images of decaying bodies and missing body parts danced around in my head. I do not recommend this movie to any Christian wishing to further his relationship with Christ or any person in general.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive/3]
—N. Blount, age 16
Positive—If they had a slightly offensive I would have put that rather than average. however, this movie is something that I haven’t seen in a long time. its scary. Not gory or even all that suspenseful, it’s just good old fashioned scary. however, along with scary comes some images that won’t leave your head for a while. Keep in mind that this is a ghost story, so if you’re looking for redeeming value, you aren’t going to find too much.

If you enjoy a good scare, and don’t mind waiting through a few slow parts, see this one.
My Ratings: [Average/4]
—Daniel Robison, age 16
Positive—I loved this movie. Very exciting. I went to go see it with my friends on halloween. I am not really a scary movie person because I get scared very easily, so I was freaked out by this movie. I haven’t seen “The Ring,” but my friends said The Grudge was much scarier. This movie also was good because it didn’t have much language. Overall, this movie was very good.
My Ratings: [Good/4½]
—Kirstin, age 13
Positive—A well made horror movie. There wasn’t that much language or sexual content, but the images displayed in this film are very disturbing. I cowered in my seat several times. It was almost as good as “The Ring.” If you’re looking for a good scare, check out “The Grudge.”
My Ratings: [Average/3½]
—Kris, age 16
Negative—This movie was awful! It was based on that if you died in a state of terror, your spirit would linger there and consume all that you see. I do not believe in ghosts. As I watched the movie, I was somewhat confused on the point. Do not waste your time seeing a movie that has nothing to glorify God with.
My Ratings: [Average/1]
—Kara, age 15
Positive—This is an awesome horror film that doesn’t rely on blood and gore to scare you. It is thin on substance and plot, but if you’re in for a few good scares without a lot of offensive content, then this is a great movie.
My Ratings: [Average/4]
—Dustin, age 17
Positive—Awesome movie. period. I fell in love with scary movies from the start, this is on the top of my list. The feeling you get while watching the movie is like being stuck in a nightmare you can’t get out of, its very intense, but well worth it, if you’re into this kinda thing. No sex, very little language, the only thing I would say it was missing was storyline. There was none to say the least, just scares throughout the film. Well worth the money, I recommend this film.
My Ratings: [Average/4]
—Matt, age 16
Positive—WOW! this movie scared me out of my skin! What a thrill! I went with my friend and we were hugging each other like little kids because we were so scared. I would not recommend this movie for people who are easily scared. It has a very thin plot that makes no sense at all, but the graphics blew me away!!! If you like horror movies, this one is for you!
My Ratings: [Better than Average/5]
—Ollie, age 13
Positive—This movie was awesome. It scared me out of my pants. I don’t understand that some people think this is bad. It’s a horror movie! What do you expect, pink bunnies?
My Ratings: [4]
—K’Lialanii, age 14
Positive—This movie was a brilliantly planned and well-thought out masterpiece! I loved it. There were a few scenes, however, that a family should be cautious of. Near the beginning of the movie, a man commits suicide. Your younger children may not understand this fully, so you may want to steer them away from this movie. There are several scenes of murder and one scene of implied sex. Overall, younger children should stray away from this film. I recommend 13+.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/5]
—Nicholas Golden, age 13
Positive—This movie was good. There were a few things that I didn’t approve of, but I enjoyed it as a whole. A great scare!
My Ratings: [Better than Average/4½]
—Matt, age 12
Movie Critics
…very simply, a ghost story, but it is meted out delicately…
—Tim Hansen, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
…superb pacing…
—Robert K. Elder, Chicago Tribune
…not as involving as “The Ring” …but it has just as many freaky and jump-out-of-your-seat moments…
—Tim Lammers, KIRO-TV Seattle
…a lot scarier than the North America-set “Ring”…
—Bob Strauss, LA Daily News
…an unsatisfying hybrid of two very different film cultures…
—Manohla Dargis, New York Times
…a series of spooky images… designed to guide the audience into tight places and then have the boogeyman jump from the shadows… short on internal logic and… suspense…
—Bill Muller, The Arizona Republic