is an exchange student studying social work in Japan. She
agrees to cover for a nurse who fails to show up for work.
When she enters the assigned home, she discovers an elderly
American woman who is lost in a catatonic state. When Karen
examines the rest of the house she discovers a supernatural
horror more frightening than she could ever imagine. The house
is home to a curse, one that Karen must stop...
is a legend in Japan which says when someone dies in a violent
manner or as a result of great anger the house absorbs the
atmosphere and seriously taints everyone who comes into contact
Grudge sees Sarah Michelle Gellar play an exchange student
from America who temps with the social services, cleaning
up and ensuring that anyone present is being properly cared
for. All is not well at her first visit; the couple is not
home, the elderly mother is confused and incontinent, and
a mysterious pale little boy startles her with his sudden
presence, especially as no boy lives at the home. The truth
dates back to previous occupants of the house and an event
which produced a physical entity... a vengeful spirit, and
a string of deaths.
the original Japanese version of this film first materialised
on DVD I acted on advice and immediately availed myself of
a copy. I'm so glad I did. It was original, spooky, didn't
rely on special effects, and was the kind of film you could
comfortably watch with subtitles (although an inferior English
dubbed soundtrack was supplied as an option). Now, with no
time of note having passed, we find ourselves with a remake,
and the only question I find myself asking is why?
new outing was filmed scene by scene almost identically to
the first. Sam Raimi assembled the same director (Shimizu
Takashi) and the majority of the same crew. They filmed at
the same Japanese locations for exteriors, but shot the interiors
in Hollywood using assembled sets of Japanese decor. Many
of the same actors worked on both films, with only a handful
being substituted for Americans (Sarah Michelle Gellar does
her best - she's certainly convincing at showing fear - but
to me she looks completely out of place in what is essentially
a Japanese piece).
There are still subtitiles, just not as many. You see what
I'm getting at? We have ended up with a very similar film,
only not quite as good. The reason is explained by Raimi who
says that American audiences will not watch a film if it's
foreign or doesn't have American actors. If this is true,
it shows them up to be extremely short-sighted.
extras deserve another point. There's a psychologist explaining
why we like to be scared, and a very good behind-the-scenes
documentary. Part of the latter describes how an old legend
of a man killing his wife, little boy and family cat was used
in the film. The story has the spirit of the boy and the cat
somehow merging to form one dark spirit.
conclusion, this is a good film well worth checking out, but
my advice would be to buy the Japanese original. It is better.
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