Thursday, November 19, 2015

Movie Review: Ju-on: The Grudge

Ju-on: The Grudge (Ju-on: Gekijô-ban) a.k.a Ju-on a.k.a The Grudge
Pioneer LDC, Nikkatsu, Oz Company, Xanadeux, Japan, 2002.
Ju-on: The Grudge (Ju-on: Gekijô-ban) title
This is the continuation of "Ju-on: The Curse" and "Ju-on: The Curse 2." The house in the Nerima-district claims new victims. Likewise the prequels, this one is also divided into segments: Rika, Katsuya, Hitomi, Tôyama, Izumi and Kayako.

Voluntary social worker Rika Nishina (Megumi Okina) goes to help old woman Sachie (Chikako Isomura) who can not take care of herself. Rika finds a weird boy Toshio (Yuya Ozeki) sitting in a closet.
Megumi Okina
The haunted house
Megumi Okina and Chikako Isomura
Rika tries to help Sachie
Earlier Sachie was living in the house with his son Katsuya Tokunaga (Kanji Tsuda) and his wife Kazumi (Shuri Matsuda). Kazumi finds a black cat in their house and falls into catatonic state. Katsuya's sister Hitomi (Misaki Itô) arrives to make some food but Katsuya acts weirdly.
Shuri Matsuda and Kanji Tsuda
Kazumi and Katsuya
Hitomi returns to work. She is worried about Kazumi and Katsuya. She hears weird sounds and sees a ghost at her workplace. Also surveillance camera shows disturbing things. Terrified she flees to home. Maybe watching TV will calm her.
Misaki Itô
Watching TV does not help
Rika's boss Hirohashi (Chikara Ishikura) comes to see what happened to Rika and Sachie. He finds Rika in shocked state. The police are called to investigate the house. Nakagawa Keiji (Hirokazu Inoue) leads the investigations. The house has a sinister history and lots of people have disappeared or died there. The disappearances began A former resident Takeo Saeki (Takashi Matsuyama) murdered her family there. Retired detective Yûji Tôyama (Yôji Tanaka) is called to consult the Saeki case.
Hirokazu Inoue
Nakagawa Keiji
Yôji Tanaka and Mao Kobayashi
Yûji Tôyama and young Izumi
Ghosts of Kayako and Toshio
Several years later three school girls are missing. Tôyama's daughter Izumi (Misa Uehara) went with his friends to the haunted house but she ran away before the ghost appeared. Now she fears that she will die next.
Misa Uehara
Eerie cats
Sometime between the Tôyama and Izumi segments Rika has recovered from the shock but not fully. Her teacher friend Mariko (Kayoko Shibata) has a missing student whose home address is awfully familiar. Rika tries to warn Mariko before it is too late. However ghost of Kayako (Takako Fuji) is already waking up.
Kayoko Shibata
The style is very similar to "Ju-on: The Curse." However I think that the first Ju-on was scarier because you did not yet know what to expect. Again the plot is very bareboned with strong focus on the nightmarish atmosphere. Several people meet their fate because of the vengeful Onryō spirits. The bigger budget allows some ghost special effects and better cinematography, although they do not stylistically differ much from the direct-to-video Ju-on. The look is still quite low-budget. Some "Ringu" style TV-screen scares are added. The timeline is non-linear with some foretelling visions. It does not change the formula much, but offers a steady parade of chilling moments.

Rating: Good

Starring: Megumi Okina, Misaki Itô, Misa Uehara, Yui Ichikawa, Kanji Tsuda, Kayoko Shibata, Yukako Kukuri, Shuri Matsuda, Yôji Tanaka, Yoshiyuki Morishita, Hideo Sakaki, Takashi Matsuyama, Yuya Ozeki, Takako Fuji, Chikara Ishikura, Chikako Isomura, Chiona Ôkuni, Miho Fujima, Daisuke Honda, Hirokazu Inoue, Mao Kobayashi, Aki Fujî, Risa Odagiri, Kaori Nakajô, Kana Kobayashi, Akira Saito, Hiroyuki Yokoo, Isao Yatsu, Haruka Yamano
Director: Takashi Shimizu

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