Reviewed by: Douglas Downs
|Featuring||Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jason Behr, Clea DuVall, Bill Pullman, Kadee Strickland|
|Producer||Taka Ichise, Roy Lee, Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, Doug Davison, Nathan Kahane|
“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