Movie review: THE GRUDGE

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movie review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 96 minutes

STUDIO:  Columbia/ Ghost House Pictures

Release date: 10-22-2004

DVD release date:  2-1-2005

Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jason Behr, KaDee Strickland, Bill Pullman, Ted Raimi, and Ryo Ishibashi as Detective Nakagawa

directed by Takashi Shimizu

ANALYSIS: THE GRUDGE is a movie that will make you feel uneasy. It is a movie with a non-linear sense of time. You get to a point in the movie and it steps backwards in time to tell one more piece of the puzzle. It has an interesting method of telling the story as THE GRUDGE is one part mystery/ one part horror movie. KaDee Strickland is great as always, but too bad they killed her character in this movie. THE GRUDGE is definitely better than THE RING remake. Just be warned since this movie does move slow at times and it isn't for people with ADD.

THE GRUDGE opens with Peter (Bill Pullman) waking up in the morning and looking at Tokyo from his balcony. Pan to his wife who is bed, and I wonder who is the hottie playing Bill Pullman's wife (Rosa Blasi). Before you know it, Peter goes over the balcony and goes splat on the street below. Next you are introduced to Karen (Sarah Michelle Gellar), a nursing student in Tokyo. She is given the temp job of checking in on an elderly American woman since her regular nurse, Yoko (Yoko Maki), didn't show up for work today. As soon as Karen enters the house of the woman, she feels and sees something is wrong. Why is the house a mess and why is a Japanese boy in an upstairs closet with the doors taped shut? She can't get the boy to come out of the closet and decides to call the place she is volunteering at, then she goes to check in on the elderly woman and she sees something that leaves her a little shocked. That is only the beginning of Karen's troubles and anyone who has been in that house since a husband killed his wife and kid three years ago. According to the mythology in THE GRUDGE- if someone dies in a sorrowful or violent way, it leaves a stain on the place and it affects and consumes anyone who visits the place.

THE GRUDGE is a remake of a Japanese movie, JU-ON: THE GRUDGE, and the remake is also directed by the guy who directed the original. Takashi Shimizu doesn't speak English, so translators were required to get his direction across to the American actors cast in this production. Takashi has done a great job with THE GRUDGE. It's cinematography is great with excellent direction too. Takashi has got the most out of the actors in this movie including Sarah Michelle Gellar and Kadee Strickland, but the best performance belongs to Ryo Ishibashi. Ryo gives a solid performance as Detective Nakagawa. One of the best moments in the movie is where Susan Williams (KaDee Strickland) is alone at work and she goes to leave for home after making a call. The empty corridors that has some very deep shadows is enough to give me the creeps. THE GRDUGE is more about chock than scares, but the mystery behind it leaves some questions unanswered while making sure that it matches up to some of the Asian Horror movies that have been made.

The remake makes me eager to check out JU-ON: THE GRUDGE which comes out on DVD on Nov 9, 2004. An alternate ending will be included on the upcoming DVD of the remake, and the unrated edition will include additional scenes and scares cut to get the movie a PG-13 rating.

this movie review (3.89) is (c)10-29-2004 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com

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