The Grudge (2004)

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Overall Rating 58%
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Ranked #1,243
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Connections: The Grudge

Karen Davis, an American Nurse, moves to Tokyo and encounters a supernatural spirit who is vengeful and often possesses its victims. A series of horrifying and mysterious deaths start to occur, with the spirit passing its curse onto each victim. Karen must now find a way to break this spell, before she becomes its next victim. --IMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: November 18, 2004
In this American remake of Ju-On: The Grudge, we start things up with Yoko (Yoko Maki), a caretaker who has been taking care of an elderly lady by the name of Emma (Grace Zabriskie). As she's cleaning one of the upstairs rooms, she hears some noises in the attic and decides to do a bit of investigating, which leads to her finding quite the nasty surprise. Oddly enough, she doesn't show up for work the next day, so her boss sends Karen Davis (Sarah Michelle Gellar), an American exchange student working with the health center for college credit, out to Emma's house to fill in for Yoko. Karen also hears the noises while upstairs, and just as Yoko did, decides to investigate. She finds a closet that has been taped shut, which is where the noise appears to be coming from. She opens it up, and finds a young boy in there who introduces himself as Toshio (Yuya Ozeki). A bit freaked out over having found a child locked inside a closet, she calls her supervisor and tells him what's going on. He says that he'll be over in a few, so Karen goes back to check on Emma. While doing so, she witnesses a ghostly figure appear beside Emma, and we then cut over to a scene that happened prior to all this in terms of continuity. Matthew (William Mapother), his wife Jennifer (Clea Duvall) and Matthew's sister Susan (Kadee Strickland) are looking for a house to move into with Emma, who just so happens to be the mother of Matthew and Susan. They decide on the house that everything had been taking place in up until now, and we then jump back over to the "current" place in the time line of the movie. The ghostly figure has killed Emma, and detective Nakagawa (Ryo Ishibashi) is heading up the investigation. They share some stories, clues are found out about what's going on, Karen's boyfriend Doug (Jason Behr) gets involved, and we have a remake.

Compare this to Ju-On: The Grudge, the original, and there's no contest; Ju-On is leagues better that this version. Some of the most effective parts of Ju-On have been removed or changed around, the sense of atmosphere that Ju-On put out is considerably toned down, and this version has been too Americanized (the standard "loud noise to make the audience jump" effect rears its ugly head numerous times). However, this version wasn't as bad as I had expected, as some parts are actually better than the original. The storyline is much easier to follow here, as things turned out to be much more linear here. There's a few scenes where we jump back and forth in time, but it's nowhere near the amount as was found in the original. The revelation scene that shows how the curse was started was also handled better in this version, in my opinion. I won't go into details on that as it's a huge spoiler, but anyone who has seen both versions will know what I mean.

Now then, over to the negative side of this remake. As I mentioned, some of the scenes were changed or removed entirely in this version. The worst change by far are the scenes in which Susan meets up with the ghost at her place of employment and then has the security guard check up on things. These scenes were decent enough here, but the way it transpired in the original was so much more effective and startling. There's numerous other scenes that were changed for the worse, but this was the hugest error in judgment here. As far as removing scenes, there's an entire chunk of storyline that was removed from this version that I felt made the storyline a lot more interesting in the original. The chunk in question is the schoolgirls who were checking out the house and the events that followed, for those who may have seen the original and not this remake. There's a subtle little wink-wink to those who have seen the original though, as Karen and Doug pass these very same schoolgirls in the beginning of the film while heading over to the graveyard. Nice cameo appearances, but having the events played out here would have been much better. My final gripe in regards to this is the ending of the film. The director decided to completely change how the movie wrapped things up, and it definitely wasn't for the better. I'd hate to spoil the ending of either version, so I'll just put out my opinion on things. While the finale was decent here, the ending of the original was much better, and went with a more untraditional ending. This version just decides to go the same route that so many movies before it have done, leaving little in the way of originality. A shame, indeed.

Director Takashi Shimizu did a good job in remaking his own film for an American audience, but that's where the problems come in... he did too good of a job in remaking this for an American audience. While I'll admit that the original was a bit confusing on the first viewing, it was a breath of fresh air in the ghostly-horror genre. This one just leaves you with the feeling of "been there, done that"... and I'm not referring to the fact that this is a remake. If you enjoyed this, you'd be well advised to check out the original and see the goodness that you missed out on. If you've already seen the original, this one really doesn't bring anything new to the table, though it does clear up a few things that went unexplained in the original. 4/10 would be the final rating.
HeatoN #1: HeatoN - added November 26, 2004 at 11:31pm
i thought the movie was nothing short of horrible, not having seen the 1st one i wasent sure what to expect, the most annoying part of the movie would have to be the annoying noise that the ghost or whatever it is makes whenever she is near, i would not reccomend this to anyone.
dadarulz #2: dadarulz - added June 6, 2005 at 9:12pm
I actually had a good scare at the theater but I was pretty bored when I saw it again on tv. Not really because I knew the punches, but it had lost its atmosphere. Really the kinda movie you've got to see on a big screen with a dark mood. Anyway, average.
Deadwired2 #3: Deadwired2 - added July 3, 2005 at 7:07am
Lame. That is all.
ScarsRstarS #4: ScarsRstarS - added January 10, 2006 at 8:50am
Didnt like it. Bored me
AttnDefDis #5: AttnDefDis - added July 23, 2009 at 3:40pm
I agree that this should be viewed in a theater. I also caught it a second time on TV and it was like watching a completely different movie. I guess I'm about the only one who actually really enjoyed it. I left with this genuinely creepy feeling that I've never gotten watching any other movie. Plus, I like that they got the same director who did the original.
Roybot #6: Roybot - added July 24, 2009 at 1:31pm
Boring Movie 2/10
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