The Grudge (Ju-on)


Here’s a film that appeared hot on the heels of both the Japanese original Ring (Ringu), and its American remake The Ring, in video stores here in Australia.

The Grudge (Ju-On)Any comparison with Ring would be just – it’s basically full of the same scares, and, to some extent the same monsters (I use this term ‘monsters’ loosely to describe the ‘evil’ in horror films, no matter what form they take). The Grudge also features the same drab, and sometimes grainy and unrefined look that worked so well in the Japanese Ring.

The scares are certainly here. (When I first saw the trailer I had to stop it only 20 seconds in… it brought back too many memories from Ring.) This film has the same type of eerie soundtrack also, full of squeals and rasping, almost industrial noises. The cinematography is very reminiscent of manga – or even general western comics.

The acting left a little bit to be desired, and it seems that the dismantling of horror film logic presented in Scream has gone ignored here – the heroine can’t help but go upstairs towards the source of the evil noise, not bothering to grab a weapon or turn on the light…

I don’t know about the source for this film, so it may be unfair to compare it too harshly against Ring (for all I know a source text could have been written earlier). But this is basically a slightly less effective Ring – with a less coherent and (let’s face it) less interesting story than that horror masterpiece.

Interestingly the DVD had a trailer from Dark Water, the film by the director of Ring, which looks exactly the same as both Ring and The Grudge. When you’ve refined a winning formula, why change?

Rating: 2.5 stars
Review by Stuart Wilson, 2nd August 2004
Hoopla Factor: 2.5 stars

Versus Big Fish