Preview by: Jack Foley
WITH the Halloween season nearly upon us, it seems appropriate
to check out a film that should be haunting us come the witching
While Exorcist prequel, The
Beginning, will undoubtedly seem like the obvious choice for
macabre chills, a remake of a Japanese horror classic will probably
be the better ticket for making the hairs stand up on the back
of your neck.
The Grudge - a remake of Ju-On - finds Sarah Michelle Gellar
(aka Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
as an American nurse, living in Tokyo, who is sent to care for
an elderly woman (Grace Zabriskie), who has also recently moved
to Japan with her son (William Mapother) and his wife (Clea Duvall).
The house in question, however, is in the grip of a curse - a
violent plague that destroys the lives of anyone who enters.
So it is up to Gellar's terrified nurse to unlock the secrets
behind the house's grisly past, and to find a way of stopping
the curse from claiming the lives of everyone around her.
The Grudge is notable for being the first time a Japanese film
has been remade for American audiences, using the original Japanese
director - in this case, Takashi Shimizu.
It also employs the talents of two of the original's stars, Japanese
actors, Takako Fuji and Yuya Ozeki, who portray the ghosts that
haunt the house.
Shimizu found this particular aspect of the filming process rewarding,
because 'we were able to find greater nuances in those roles in
each successive version'.
The film has the backing of another
horror luminary, in the form of Spider-Man/Evil
Dead director, Sam Raimi, who serves as producer.
He describes the original film as 'one of the most terrifying
films I'd ever seen' and credits Shimizu with crafting some 'unique
"His style and pacing were relentless and he never left
you any time to catch your breath. He had clearly elevated the
genre to a new level."
The same production values that resonate throughout Ju-On are
therefore present for The Grudge, which should terrify audiences
from the moment it begins.
And it was the presence of a visionary director such as Shimizu
that persuaded Gellar to appear in the movie.
She stated in an interview with About.com: "One of the reasons
that I signed on is because I wouldn't sort of categorize it as
your typical horror film.
"With American horror films, we do automatically think of
large-breasted girls running in the woods in the wrong direction.
"Think of me and I Know What You Did Last Summer - it's
a perfect example. But Japanese films in that genre are based
in such reality.
"They're more psychologically scary to me, and so because
of that you base things so differently. [Takashi] Shimizu [the
director] is so against your basic…not ploys, but sort of
the basic things, your basic scare tactics.
"And so it isn't so much screaming as being frozen in absolute
fear and not being able to find your voice. It made it that much
The film is due to open in America on October 22, and follows
in the UK on November 5. If you thought the remake of The
Ring was scary, just wait til you get a load of this!