Monday, October 16, 2006

The Grudge

(2004) ***

"When someone dies in the grip of a powerful rage, a curse is left behind. It never forgives. It never forgets."

Karen (Sarah Michelle Gellar), an exchange student studying social work in Tokyo, agrees to cover a nurse’s shift after the normally responsible nurse fails to show for work one day. The seemingly easy job involves babysitting a catatonic American woman (Laura Palmer’s mother). Karen’s good nature bites her in the ass when she agrees to this gig and unwittingly stumbles into a terrifying horror. The house, you see, contains a powerful, fatal curse that infects all who enter it. After witnessing the spectacular death of her charge, it’s a race against time as Karen attempts to learn the secrets of the house and stop the curse from spreading.

When I first learned that Takashi Shimizu was remaking his own creation, the creep-fest JUON, I couldn’t have had higher expectations. JUON scared the beejusus of out me (see Octopunk’s excellent review) and I was excited to see what Shimizu would do with a larger budget. Shame on me! A larger budget with a Hollywood cast is exactly what Shimizu’s film did not need. I temporarily forgot that people just try harder when they don’t have a lot of funds to work with. In The Grudge, the subtle, grainy scares of JUON have been replaced with the high gloss of Hollywood and CG fx. Scares are telegraphed way ahead of time and even blue boy, Toshio, who is normally really scary when he’s onscreen is, wait, scratch that, he still scares the shit out of me. I mean, look at this damn kid;

Shudder. There’s nothing really wrong with The Grudge, it’s just kind of flat and scareless. Remember when new Coke temporarily replaced Coke Classic? It’s kind of like that. But not really.

Damn that kid is creepy.

Watch the trailer:
the grudge

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