A/V Room









The Grudge - Preview

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 season.

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 onscreen scares'.

"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 "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 more interesting."

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!

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