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PHOTOGRAPHY

THE GRUDGE

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 91 minutes, audio commentary, A Powerful Rage (5 part making of the movie), Under The Skin featurette, previews

STUDIO: Columbia/Ghost House Pictures/SPHE

RELEASE DATE: 2-1-2005

ANALYSIS: A horrible death occurs in a house in Japan. It is stained with a curse. All who enter the house are doomed. Karen (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is a nursing student sent to the cursed house to visit an elderly woman (Grace Zabriskie). She knows something is wrong with the place. She soon encounters kid and a cat taped into a closet. After that, Karen soon sees something that shakes her and she is marked by the curse. To say anymore about what happens in this movie directed by Takashi Shimizu will spoil it. THE GRUDGE is a remake of JU-ON, a Japanese horror movie also directed by Takashi Shimizu.

THE GRUDGE is a creepy movie that depends on atmosphere to shock and scare you. The non-linear storytelling also helps make it unique. I found THE GRUDGE more unnerving on a second viewing (I saw months ago in the theater). If you think this version delivers the goods, I suspect that the Unrated Extended Edition (due in a few months) will top it. A sequel is in the works and another sequel to Ju-On (the movie that THE GRUDGE remake) is also going to be made. Both of them will be directed by Takashi Shimizu.

MOVIE REVIEW: http://enterline2.tripod.com/thegrudge.html

VIDEO/AUDIO: THE GRUDGE is presented in 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen. Colors and blacks are good. Image detail is sharp. Some shadow detail is present. Not a bad transfer at all.

You can hear the movie in English or French 5.1 Dolby Digital with the option of English, French, or Spanish subtitles. The extras aren't subtitled at all. Dialogue can be heard clearly in the movie. The sound mix is beautiful. Sound effects and music come across quite nicely. Music can be strong and powerful at times while some sound effects can be as loud at times.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

The cast and crew audio commentary for the movie features Ted Raimi, Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jason Behr, Clea Duvall, and KaDee Strickland. The commentary is fun to listen to. They talk about the production of the movie and how different a Japanese production is different from American ones. They also go into what scenes were cut and will be included in the extended version in a few months, and their stories about being in Japan while they weren't working.

A POWERFUL RAGE: BEHIND THE GRUDGE is a 5 part featurette that goes into the making of THE GRUDGE. Some of it is standard promotional fluff with interviews with cast and crew (and clips from the movie). Some behind the scenes footage is shown and a small amount of video showing the cast exploring Tokyo. The best parts focus on how the America Cast react to Japanese culture and the part on Designing the House for the movie (with production drawings of inside of the house). Also info is revealed about how Takashi Shimizu directs a movie and his sense of humor.

UNDER THE SKIN (with Dr. Joseph LeDoux, Ph.d) is a featurette on how audiences experience fear when watching a movie.

Several previews are included on the DVD (some of them are forced trailers you can skip through by using chapter skip. Previews include THE GRUDGE trailer, HITCH (only in the forced trailers section before the menu), ANACONDAS, BOOGEYMAN, and MAN OF THE HOUSE (a very funny trailer for a new Tommy Lee Jones movie). Some previews are in 5.1 DD.

FINAL ANALYSIS: THE GRDUGE is a creepy movie that will get under your skin. Rent it if you're waiting for the extended edition in a few months. If you just want this version, buy it.

this DVD Review is (c)2-2-2005 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com and look for additional content (and site updates) at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia