Due to my increased interest in certain types of horror, I took a chance and watched Ju-On: The Grudge, the infamous Japanese film that is often credited as being one of the scariest films of all time. However, this is plainly not the case.
For brevity and clarity’s sake, this will only be an overview type of review without too many specifics.
Jo-On: The Grudge Review: With Spoilers
Ju-On: The Grudge follows a set of Japanese people that are all affected by a curse known as The Grudge that, once it has touched a person’s life, will follow them and eventually kill them. The Grudge curse was supposedly created when a man killed his wife and child after learning of her infidelity which then led to his death when his wife’s ghost returns to seek vengeance. While this basic premise may seem like a good grounded concept for a horror movie, and it is, the execution simply led to a bland product devoid of scares or even a decent storyline.
Once The Grudge’s origin is shown at the very beginning of the film, the rest of Ju-On follows several people all of whom are, in some way, touched by the ghostly presence that resides in the house where the curse originated. However, the film presents several different segments that do not follow a strict chronology with each segment following a different character. The beginnings of each segment usually show the character living their life normally until they come into contact with The Grudge that eventually leads to their deaths at the hands of one of the three main ghosts. In the later segments, other ghosts of those who died in previous segments also make appearances although their existences are essentially without much consequence. While the segmented storyline with its overlapping timelines could have worked to show how deep this curse has woven itself into the house and those around it, its style simply did not work as well as it should and the result ended up simply rather confusing.
Since much of the film essentially repeats itself over and over with the different characters, I shall digress to discussing the ending. The ending of Ju-On: The Grudge was one that had enough potential to work as a twist ending but upon further analysis, ended up just as bland as the rest. The final character to have a segment in this film eventually finds herself in the ghost-infested house being encroached upon by the wife ghost and then a curious scene happens. A series of flashbacks show the wife ghost, curiously missing her ghastly appearance and looking more like a normal woman and mother, as she has been stalking this final victim. To me, this scene suggested that perhaps the wife ghost has not been killing anyone but rather had been attempting to warn people from the rage of the husband ghost who had not been seen since his murders at the beginning. Had this been the case, I would credit Ju-On with having a delightful twist that, while not having many substantial scares, that would have made the film worth it. However, upon remembering the rest of the film, it is clear that the wife ghost had been killing several people and that theory simply didn’t hold water. This was also substantiated by the intense research I put into this film upon finishing.
Overall, the concept of the film had promise and could have delivered a unique spin on films that deal with haunted houses and the like but ultimately, the film simply dredged on and had nothing special that made it worth watching.
Do you remember Jo-On: The Grudge? Did you like it? Hate it? Comment below with your thoughts.