HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Penny Slinger: Out of the Shadows
Girls Town
Burning
Hitchhikers, The
For All Mankind
Glass Key, The
Captor, The
Hide in Plain Sight
Wildlife
X2
Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese
Heiress, The
Cold Pursuit
Firestorm
Dogs of War, The
Holy Mountain, The
Piercing
Under Fire
Jennifer on My Mind
People on Sunday
Lethal Weapon 4
Downhill Racer
Emily
Odette
Escape Room
Across the Pacific
Madeline's Madeline
You're Gonna Miss Me
Iron Sky: The Coming Race
Derby
Mortal Engines
Union City
Knife+Heart
Little Stranger, The
Sauvage
Watermelon Man
Wandering Earth, The
Good Fairy, The
Killer Party
Holmes & Watson
   
 
Newest Articles
Woo's the Boss: Last Hurrah for Chivalry & Hand of Death on Blu-ray
Get Ahead in Showbiz: Expresso Bongo and It's All Happening
Outer Space and Outta Sight: Gonks Go Beat on Blu-ray
Tucked: The Derren Nesbitt Interview
Locomotion Pictures: The Best of British Transport Films on Blu-ray
Roman Scandals: Extreme Visions from Ancient Rome
Spider-Wrong and Spider-Right: The Dragon's Challenge and Into the Spider-Verse
Monster Dog: Cujo on Blu-ray
For Christ's Sake: Jesus Christ Superstar and The Last Temptation of Christ
Not In Front of the Children: Inappropriate Kids Movies
Deeper into Ozploitation: Next of Kin and Fair Game
Between the Wars: Babylon Berlin Series 1&2 on DVD
Hard Luck Story: Detour on Blu-ray
Oh, What Happened to You? The Likely Lads on Blu-ray
Killer Apps: The Rise of the Evil 60s Supercomputers
   
 
  Ju-on: The Grudge My, what big eyes you've got!Buy this film here.
Year: 2003
Director: Takashi Shimizu
Stars: Megumi Okina, Misaki Ito, Misa Uehara, Yui Ichikawa, Kanji Tsuda, Kayoko Shibata, Yuya Ozeki, Yukako Kukuri, Shuri Matsuda, Yoji Tanaka
Genre: Horror
Rating:  5 (from 4 votes)
Review: Five years ago a father brutally murdered his wife and then killed himself, their six-year-old son mysteriously disappearing at the same time. These brutal crimes caused a deadly curse to be placed upon their house, which affects all who enter it.

Takashi Shimizu’s ghost story is very much in the post-Ring tradition of Japanese horror, and while the ragged non-linear structure means that it doesn’t grip like Hideo Nakata’s signature film (or his follow-up Dark Water), Ju-on delivers more individual scares than most of its recent rivals. It’s actually the third Ju-on film, the first two being made for TV, but Shimizu proves equally at home on the big screen.

The story is little more than a series of spooky vignettes. We begin with a social worker called Rika (Megumi Okina, the closest the film gets to a lead character) visiting the house in question to check on the old woman who lives there. She finds a spooky little boy locked in a cupboard, then something terrible and off-camera happens to her. Next, the young couple who also live in the house are affected by this unseen horror, the man’s sister is haunted by a bloodied woman in her own home, the policeman who investigated the original murders witnesses something terrifying on a CCTV camera... and so on.

Ju-on’s narrative is often confusing, largely because Shimizu chooses to demonstrate the cumulative effect of the curse by messing with the chronology and overlapping events. The film is divided into chapters, each named after the individual who will be struck by the curse, but some characters reappear later – in particular Rika, the girl who starts the film – and there’s no real climax or dramatic resolution.

Nevertheless, Shimizu sure knows how to build tension and orchestrate a good fright. This is old-fashioned scary – there are virtually no effects, but the director realises that there are few things more unnerving than a creepy kid. He gets plenty of mileage out his white-faced, black-eyed ghost child who keeps popping up in corners of rooms, under tables, inside cupboards and in one superb sequence, on every single floor of a block flats, glimpsed through the window of an ascending lift. Elsewhere, the sound design is superb – the bloody spirit of the murdered woman emits a horrible crackling noise as she crawls towards her victims, and the mewing of a cat becomes something more sinister when it’s coming from the mouth of a child.

None of this is particularly original of course. We’ve seen scary brats in everything from The Shining to The Sixth Sense, and the crawling woman is reminiscent of both the girl-out-of-a-TV from The Ring and The Exorcist’s long-unseen spider walk sequence. And it’s not really made clear what the curse actually consists of – some victims are scared to death, some claimed by a mysterious black smoky mass, others dragged away by the boy or the woman. But this all adds to the dream-like feel of this film, that Lovecraftian idea of some unspeakable horror that lurks on the edges of our world, ready to intrude and disrupt normality.

[Premier Asia's Region 2 DVD includes an audio commentary from resident Asian cinema expert Bey Logan]
Reviewer: Daniel Auty

 

This review has been viewed 9487 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Takashi Shimizu  (1972 - )

Japanese writer/director and the man behind the hugely successful Ju-on films. Ju-on and Ju-on 2 were made for TV, while 2003's Ju-on: The Grudge was a bigger budget feature film, which Shimizu sequalised the same year. In 2004 directed a Hollywood version of the story, as the Sam Raimi-produced The Grudge, which he followed with The Grudge 2 before finally opting for alternative tales.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Rachel Franke
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
  Derrick Smith
Paul Shrimpton
Darren Jones
George White
   

 

Last Updated: