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DVD Review: THE GRUDGE Director's Cut

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PHOTOGRAPHY

THE GRUDGE: Unrated Extended Director's Cut

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 98 minutes, audio commentary, deleted scenes with optional commentary, featurettes, short films, video diaries, previews

STUDIO: Columbia/Ghost House/SPHE

RELEASE DATE: 5-17-2005

ANALYSIS: Sony is known for putting out Special Editions and Extended Cuts/Director's Cuts of their mmovies. THE GRUDGE is the latest. New additions in the Director's Cut include new lines, extra small scenes, and some new additions to the climax of the movie. The DC is my favorite version of the movie. I like this version over the theatrical cut. I wish Sony released this version instead. Thank God for DVD to see new versions of movies that don't show up in theaters due to marketing considerations and wanting to get a PG-13 horror movie in theaters.

PG-13 Movie Review: http://enterline2.tripod.com/thegrudge.html

Theatrical Version DVD Review: http://enterline2.tripod.com/thegrudgedvd.html

VIDEO/AUDIO: THE GRUDGE Director's Cut is presented in 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen. Colors and blacks are good. image detail in fair. A little grain does show in some scenes, but it isn't very noticeable. The transfer for this DVD is about on par with the Theatrical Cut DVD.

You hear the Director's Cut in English 5.1 Dolby Digital with the option of English, French, or Spanish subtitles. Dialogue is always easy to hear. Music and sound play on the excellent sound mix. The audio commentary for the movie and deleted scenes are in Japanese with English subtitles. All other extras have no subtitle options. The DARKNESS FALLS trailer is the only preview in 5.1 DD.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Most of the extras are excellent, but three featurettes on the movie are disappointing (if you want to see something on the making of THE GRUDGE, you have to buy the theatrical cut DVD). The audio commentary for THE GRUDGE Director's Cut features Director Takashi Shimizu, Producer Taka Ichise, and Actress Takako Fuji (they also appear on the optional commentary for the deleted scenes). I opted to watch the movie with the English subtitles for the commentary track (while the moive's audio was on). I read a very funny commentary track. Those three people know how to make fun of the movie they did. Some insight into the production is given with facts like the first cut of the movie was 160 minutes long and what is different in the director's cut (compared to the theatrical cut and the original JU-ON).

Next, the DVD has fifteen deleted scenes which clock in around thirty-five minutes in total. A few scenes do drag on for too long (and I'm glade those ones were cut) while a few scenes are terrifying (like the alternate ending and the scene between Susan and her brother). Optional commentary is available for the deleted scnes. They give reasons why the scenes were cut like a scenes dragged on for too long or it didn't fit with the movie they were molding in the editing room.

THE GRUDGE HOUSE: AN INSIDER'S TOUR is just a camera taking you through the house set while ghost images of scenes in the house play out during parts of this useless featurette. PRODUCTION DESIGNER'S NOTEBOOK: THE SKETHCHES OF IWAO SAITO shows sketchs of the house in the movie (I think it would have been bttter as a gallery instead of a featurette). SIGHTS: SOUNDS: THE STORYBOARD ART OF TAKASHI SIMIZU has storyboards from one of the scenes in the movie (also this would have worked better as a production gallery).

Also incldued on the DVD are two JU-ON short films by Director Takashi Shimizu: 4444444444 and IN A CORNER. Next are two Video Diaries. The one by Sarah Michelle Gellar feels like it is Buffy running around on set witha video camera. KaDee Strickland's video Diary is the better of the two as she gives viewers a tour of Tokyo. I wouldn't mind if she hosted a special for PBS or the Discovery Channel. She's that good in her video diary.

PREVIEWS: BOOGEYMAN, D.E.B.S., STEAMBOY, UNDERWORLD Extended Cut, DARKNESS FALLS

FINAL ANALYSIS: The deleted scenes and audio commentary makes this edition of THE GRUDGE a must own. If you're a fan of the theatrical cut, you need to buy the DVD of the Unrated Extended Director's Cut. The DC is a nice companion piece to the theatrical Cut DVD.

this DVD Review is (c)5-6-2005 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com and look for additional content at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia