The Grudge (2004) – By Brian Morton

In the land of movies, we’ve all visited remake central. Sometimes it’s a good place to be, sometimes it’s a very bad place indeed! But, in the case of The Grudge, it’s just a place that we seem to have been before.

The Grudge is a remake of the Japanese horror movie, Ju-On. The story is an interesting and scary one, in a house that’s been filled with murder and insanity, ghosts live and want revenge on the living, and anyone who goes into the house is cursed to die. An interesting premise. When I saw the original Ju-On, I was very impressed with the story, it moves around through time, meaning, it’s not told in a linear fashion, but it’s still riveting to watch. A family moves into a house and the husband seems to slowly lose touch with reality, then in a fit of jealous rage kills his wife, his child and then himself. But, in Japan apparently when you die in the grip of an evil rage your anger becomes like a virus that hangs in the place and waits for others to seek revenge on. Alright, it sounds a little weak, but trust me, it’s much better than I can describe.

Now, the original version is very good, and when I saw it I was impressed, so I really wanted to see the American version, which was billed as more of a sequel than a remake, but the problem is, this was badly misrepresented. If you just saw the American version you were probably very impressed and well you should be, as this is pretty much a direct remake of the original with Sarah Michelle Gellar, Bill Pullman and Ted Raimi thrown in for American measure.

I’m not poo-pooing The Grudge, just wondering why a great movie series in Japan couldn’t have made a viable sequel for America that wasn’t just the same movie with new characters thrown in. Now, the good part is that, at least they don’t move the movies setting, it’s still in Japan and the house is the same house from the original which makes this feel almost like a sequel, but not quite.

Is The Grudge worth checking out? The answer is yes, unless you’ve actually seen Ju-On, then you’ve pretty much already seen it.