The Grudge (2004) – Thoughts From Thatbigscreenguy

Wierd moaning. That’s what I remember the most while being freaked out at the sight of Kayako’s suspenseful yet frightening crawls. “The Grudge” for me personally has always had that eerily feeling that not many horror films have on me nowadays. Usually it’s built up on suspense or the unknown or basically something inevitable to avoid, yet you try your hardest only to end up failing.

*SPOILERS*

Synopsis?

The sight of jealousy causes a misfortune for the Saeki family, where the man of the house goes 187 on his wife, Kayako, because fell in love with her college professor (let that be a warning lesson to me). Through the circumstances of this tragedy however, a curse to be born and thus all who come into contact with it, die horrific yet unexplainable deaths. In comes Karen (Sarah Michelle Gellar). With her boyfriend Doug, she must now confront the supernatural forces that begin to haunt her and find a way to survive the curse before it’s too late.

What did I think?

Well if you asked me this question a few years ago I would’ve said that it was absolutely the scariest thing I ever saw. Nowadays I just look at it as having too many faults that I noticed even in my childhood. The first thing I would point out is the structure of the film itself. Remember I mentioned Karen? Well she and Doug aren’t the only ones that deal with the the curse in this film. Others encounter it as well in their own respective stories. Some of these subplots even intermingle, closing any loopholes that might be asked about the film. I understand that there is style to the narrative structure of “The Grudge” which is nonlinear in an out-of-sequence order, but that also kind of works against it in a sense. As a kid, obviously this was nothing more than getting the feces scared out of me for kicks, but I always remember asking myself where in the world did some of these characters come from, if they were supposedly already dead 5 minutes ago.

Another issue I really had with the “The Grudge” was its ending. Let me just be clear that I absolutely hate cliffhangers. I really can’t stand them. They leave something open for the audience to interpret and ask themselves what would’ve happened. To me, a cliffhanger is only suitable for an ending when it’s done right.

If you’re going to have Sarah Michelle Gellar turn around to the sight of Kayako’s creepy eye and the sounds of her terrifying moaning and just have everything cut to black with credits, well that’s just more stressful than appalling. My personal opinion is that to have someone “emotionally invested” is to at least include some kind of closure, not just leave something open in the middle of a sequence that must surely have some kind of immediate result. Obviously the aftermath would be explored in “The Grudge 2” but as far as the first installment goes as a stand-alone product, this was a cheap way to end the film.

Favorite Scene (If Any)?

The one moment that I’ve always remembered about “The Grudge” is the scene with Alex and the “possessed” Yoko. Of course Alex would be the simple-minded twit who decides the follow the creepy girl down a flight of stairs in the middle of the night.

Final Thoughts?

Despite these flaws, I overall appreciated the film and thus will say that I liked it. I  think the original Japanese version is completely superior since it’s all competent about originality. This is just a remake that I’m talking about. If you guys have never seen “Ju-on: The Grudge,” I would recommend seeing that prior to giving this film a go. That’s just my personal take on it.

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