After watching the American remake of this movie in the theater - and groaning along with the rest of the audience at the end - I promised I'd give the original material a chance on DVD. Boy, was that a mistake. Along with other highly touted Asian horror films, Ju-On (The Grudge) had terms like "sheer unrelenting terror", "most horrific in cinematic history", and "creates an atmosphere of extreme dread" attached to it. All of those statements are patently false. This is another one of those movies that's been praised to the high heavens only to let you down because of high expectations.
Bearing more than just a passing resemblance to its popular predecessor Ringu, Ju-On leaves me with nothing more than an ambivalent taste on my horror palate. Maybe that's why I wasn't all that impressed with the story or the scares: I just didn't care.
The story is about a haunted house in a Tokyo suburb where a murder had taken place. The rage around the violent act has spawned an evil curse for all who enter. We follow the story of several characters in reverse chronology and their experience with the evil/ghosts. Don't watch the trailer if you're really interested in this movie; it contains all the scares. Not that there are many visually stunning moments in this film that you might miss.
If you're easily scared or impressed with white-faced little boys wearing eyeliner, then this might be considered "creepy" or "eerily atmospheric." The lack of anything coherent or even visceral makes this an overly hyped flick that got tossed in with the rest of hot Asian horror market. For avid horror fans, if you want to know what all the rage is, check it out, but put it lower on your list after Ringu, Oldboy, or The Eye. The DVD does come with interviews, trailer and an option to watch it dubbed in English for those who don't want to read subtitles.
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