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Volume 70, Issue 43, Thursday, October 21, 2004

Life & Arts

'Grudge' gives moviegoers a good scare

By Tony Hernandez
The Daily Cougar

With the rising popularity of Japanese horror films, like last year's The Ring, crossing the Pacific to American audiences, Sam Raimi (director of both Spiderman movies and the cult classic The Evil Dead) tried his hand at the role of producer in The Grudge. Raimi produced the film through his new company Ghost House Pictures.

The Grudge is a remake of the popular Japanese series Ju-On: The Grudge. However, this time the original director, Takashi Shimizu, who directed the original Japanese version of The Ring, kept his role with the American version in an attempt to preserve the spirit and horror of the first series.

The Grudge follows the path of The Ring as another Japanese horror film adapted for American audiences. The film offers subtle scares that will make viewers jump but not deprive them of any sleep.
Photo Courtesy of Ghost House Pictures

"When someone dies in the grip of a powerful rage, a curse is left behind," say the words that appear at the beginning of the movie, giving a clue to the mystery behind the movie's premise -- a haunted house. While the idea of a haunted house may not be very original, the use of light, sound and close camera shots make for some good scares.

The movie follows Karen (Sarah Michelle Gellar) who is living in Tokyo with boyfriend Doug (Jason Behr) and volunteering as a substitute nurse. After one of the nurses turns up missing, Karen is called to fill in and visit a house of a catatonic elderly American woman, Emma (Grace Zabriskie). 

The house she visits is virtually empty, with trash all over, and after tending to Emma, Karen soon hears scratches and creeks throughout the house and so begins her encounters with the ghosts: a young pale boy named Toshio (Yuya Ozeki) and his creepy mom, Kayako (Takako Fuji).

Throughout the story, the audience following Karen and her discoveries about the house, a series of flashbacks fill in gaps behind the characters, like how Emma came to the house with her daughter Susan (KaDee Stricklan), son Mathew (William Mapother) and his wife Jennifer (Clea DuVall). There's also a cameo by Bill Pullman in the beginning of the movie that may surprise audiences.

In a month traditionally filled with haunted houses and scares, this is a good movie to get one's fix of horror and hair raising moments, but don't expect to be psychologically scared as in the The Shining or The Exorcist. 

The Grudge

Rated: PG-13 for disturbing images, terror and violence

Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jason Behr.

Verdict: You may have a Grudge from this scare.

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