Monday, October 05, 2009
The Grudge 3
Max lives with his two sisters in an antiquated apartment building in Chicago and the trio live rent free because Max manages the place. Unfortunately this is also the building where the original Grudge murders occurred and as a result almost everyone has moved out. Much to Max’s chagrin, his sister Rose is in the process of leaving because she is on the verge of becoming a famous fashion designer in NYC. Adding to Max’s stress, their 8-year old sister Lisa has been experiencing frequent fits of wheezing due to a serious medical condition. Although things have been quiet since the original murders, strange things begin to occur. Lisa claims that she has been spending time with a little boy that no one else has seen and ghostly images start to appear. One day a mysterious woman from Tokyo appears claiming to know what is happening and how to stop it.
Since the original story of JUON appeared as part of a television movie in Japan back in 1998, there have been 7 sequels and remakes. Octopunk has recounted our first reaction to viewing the theatrical version of JUON on a grainy VCD many years ago (basically it scared the crap out of Octo because he’s not a real man*). However over time the story has lost its punch and the American remake was only marginally entertaining and never scary; I actually enjoyed The Grudge 2 better. The Grudge 3 went directly to video and when I popped it into my DVD player my enthusiasm was as low as an Amish woman’s hemline.
I am pleased to report that it wasn’t the train wreck I fully expected. Although JUON/Grudge ghosts no longer make me jump, they still look pretty damn freaky and they are plentiful in the film. Gone are attempts to build any real feeling of threat or dread – perhaps it was concluded that American audiences are too dumb to appreciate slowly building horror. Instead The Grudge 3 is more of the loud noise/cheap scare variety, and although it’s a lazy way to frighten people it’s serviceable. One sequence involving a therapist attempting to flee an angry ghost on an inpatient ward is particularly effective. The actors do an acceptable job and look of the film suggests that the director either had a reasonable budget to work with or simply knew how to get the most bang for his buck. Not terrible.
*I admit, it scared the crap out of me as well.