Here’s something new. An American remake of a Japanese film that I actually enjoyed more than the original!
The Grudge (Ju-on) had me less than impressed. The lack of coherency was annoying, and it was only towards the end that I really enjoyed the film. Sure, it was scary at times, but the story simply didn’t make much sense.
In the US version of The Grudge, Takashi Shimizu has remade his own film, actually featuring most of the same cast members (and what looks like the same house!). I’m not quite sure why anyone would like to stick to the same film time and time again (there is already a Japanese Ju-on: The Grudge 2 directed by Shimizu, and it seems he will be directing the Japanese third installment, and the American sequel as well!). The good news is that this remake is much better than the original film.
Here at least we have a film that makes more sense. A subplot has been added, and some of the horrors refined so that we’re left with a film that at least doesn’t leave you wondering what the hell it was all about.
Paradoxically, the only redeemable feature of the original is missing. A particular revelation (and the only time I really enjoyed/understood the film) has just been left out of this version.
The cast does a good job. SMG is great, although I get the feeling no one seriously accepts her as anything other than Buffy. Bill Pullman gives a great performance, albeit without speaking.
This film had me scared witless (and this is why my hoopla factor is so low). Part of this could have to do with one of the people I was watching it with, who screamed, and I mean SCREAMED constantly. The main problem I had with the US version of The Ring was that the constant special effects took away from the horror. Here, thankfully, Takashi Shimizu has stuck to what works in Japanese horror – grainy images and creepy lighting. CGI effects simply aren’t scary, as evidenced by the denouement of The House On Haunted Hill or The Haunting.
I would definitely recommend this remake over its predecessor, and since it features the same director and much of the same cast, I don’t have to feel like a sellout for appreciating Hollywood over the original.Rating: