Ju-on – The Grugde

December 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

Unarguably one of the eeriest movies of the last decade, Ju-on – The Grudge, was one the first Asian movies to re-spark Hollywood’s interest in the Asian horror genre. Directed by Takashi Shimizu and with Megumi Okina in the lead role of Rika, Ju-on is relentless and full of doom right from the very first scene. The story follows the fates of a group of people who are cursed by vengeful spirits residing in a house. One by one, the rage of the spirits take the lives of any person who comes into contact with the house in the familiar creepy style of the Asian horror genre.

 To make a long story short

 The story begins with Rika (Megumi Okina), a social worker, who is assigned to take care of an elderly catatonic lady by her boss. Rika visits the house and inside, she finds it to be in a state of filth. Soon, she realizes that there’s no one in the house to look after the old lady. She finds it strange but starts with her duties nonetheless. While vacuuming, Rika finds a family picture with the face of the woman in it, cut out of the picture. Upstairs, she comes across a little boy with a cat. She assumes it to be case of negligence and calls the child care center to report the incident. Suddenly, she hears sounds coming from the elderly lady’s room and rushes in to attend to her. There, she finds that the lady is terror-stricken by the sight of a ghostly figure descending from the ceiling. Two eyes stare at Rika from within the haze and she faints in terror.

 From here on, the story moves back and forth in time, narrating how the curse came to be. The viewer finds out about the horrific deaths of Kayako and Toshio, mother and son, at the hands of Toshio’s father Takeo. The murders resulted from an unfortunate case of jealousy and suspected infidelity. Cursed by their rage, the trio now haunt the very same house that Rika has been assigned to visit and carry forward the curse by taking the lives of all those who enter the house.

 Acting/chills and thrills

 Ju-on scores high when it comes to the horror element. The spirits are downright scary and the little boy, especially, is an unnerving sight to see. Kayako’s by-now-famous ‘death rattle’ manages to spook you through and through. But the strongest effect is that of the house itself. The director Shimizu has done a great job of choosing a house that actually conveys a sense of claustrophobia and impending death. All in all, “Ju-on” is certainly one of the finest horror movies of the decade and a must-watch for any cinephile.