The Grudge Review
[The Grudge] (Plot:An American nurse (Sarah Michelle Gellar) temporarily living and working in Tokyo crosses paths with a mysterious, powerful, supernatural curse. A curse that locks a person in a powerful rage before claiming their life and spreading to it's next victim.)
Sarah Michelle Gellar,
(My thoughts:After seeing the trailer, and various clips, this film intrigued me greatly, as it looked genuinely terrifying. While the films antagonist does live up to that *genuinely terrifying* label, the film itself relies on its antagonist a bit too much.)
(My Review:The film starts off with Bill Pullmans character tossing himself off of a balcony. The look in his eyes seems to suggest hes seen some quote unquote, *bad shit*(his encounter with the grudge spirit is shown later in the film). Moments later, we see a young asian nurse named Yoko taking care of an an american familys nana. Shes quickly disposed of when she goes to investigate a noise in the dark, creepy, cobweb ridden attic (how cliche huh?), and the curse which comes in the form of a young asian woman with hair engulfing most of her face (similar to Samaras look), claims the young chinese girl.
Now Gellars character Kare, has to come take care of the old woman since Yoko has vanished. What I liked about this film is that the supernatural antagonist showed up in scenes you didn't expect her to. Once Gellar arrives, a few minutes later, she comes face to face with the evil apparition. The film is given to us in parts. As one thing happens in the present, we are then sent back to a day earlier scenes, which are used to explain what happened to the american family that was staying there. Kare winds up in a comatose state after her encounter with apparition, and wakes up at the hospital where her boyfriend Doug (Jason Behr), is watching over her. Kare is told she passed out, but she knows something supernatural was at work in that house. Kadee Strickland, Clea Duvall, William Mapother, and Grace Zabriskie play the american family who because of Mapothers characters job, had to relocate temporarily to Tokyo. Duvalls character is the first of the family members to be claimed by the ghost in a pretty lame scene where a door closes behind her, and we don't find out her fate till later on. Mapothers character is claimed next in another lame death. Kadee Stricklands (anacondas) scenes leading up to her death are pretty much as good as it gets when it comes to a series of flashbacks which show each family members respective death. She has some great, and very suspenseful scene, if not the best scenes in the entire film next to Gellars. The ghosts which there are 3 of (a small chinese boy, a black cat, and a young chinese girl with black eyes), claims most of it's victims basically using the same cheap tricks. A cats meowing sound, then fade to black, or a close up of the dead girls or chinese boys face, then fade to black while the victim screams in the distance. Near the end, you've pretty much had your fill of this, and are annoyed to no end, but it is a PG-13 movie, so its understandable that it lacks gore and blood or any real brutal scenes. The antagonist had a very creepy, deformed wicked look to her, and the scenes leading up to when someone is taken are very suspenseful, but they would've been better off losing the cats meow sound effect in alot of those scenes. It became way too repetitive. A Tokyo detective questions Kare about what happened once she recovers from her shocked state. The detective does some investigating on his own, and has an encounter with the ghost himself when he views a security camera tape which shows the ghost appearing.
The detective is disposed of shortly thereafter when he visits the haunted house, in what becomes yet another repetitive kill, which involves the little chinese boy faklng having drowned. The chinese boy apparition is basically a decoy to lure passes by or visitors into danger. This happens twice, and when it happens to the detective, it seems extremely unbelievable due to the fact that a few scenes earlier, he explains to Gellars character about an ancient japanese legend which dictates that when a person dies in a powerful rage, their angry soul becomes a stain upon the residence in which they died. You would think the cop would be a bit wise to believing everything he sees. After a creepy scene on a stairwell where Kares bosses fate is basically left up to our imagination, Kare manages to piece together the story eventually, which has a father murdering his family in the house, (the girl and boy, and a very cliche payoff to spirits haunting a place or residence). Kares boyfriend Doug goes to the house since she hasn't returned any of his messages, thinking she might have come back there for some reason. Kare gets there, and then we are shown in a very jittery flashback scene, how the girl and boy were killed by their relative, and what happened to Bill Pullmans character which caused him to lose his mind leading to his suicide. Kare comes face to face with the ghost in a really freaky scene where the female ghost is literally contorting her body while climbing down the staircase. She tries to save Doug, but the ghost intervenes. Kare manages to set the house a blaze in order to escape the ghosts clutches. The ending is no surprise, and pretty much goes by the book, after it tosses us one more cheap scare in the morgue.)
(Pros:A few very suspenseful scenes, the best being at the end when Kare comes to save Doug, and the scenes involving Stricklands character leaving work. Nice creepy atmospheric score, and a creepy ass antagonist (the grudge ghost). The boy, girl, even the cat, all were very spooky looking.)
(Cons:Acting was subpar, Behrs character is basically plays no major role in the film except as Kares boyfriend who shows up in a few scenes (like 3 or 4 actually). The kills weren't as great as the moments which lead up to them. Granted it was PG-13, and they couldn't pile on the blood, but after the second,3rd, and 4th death have all used pretty much the same payoff method, it gets annoying. The ending was very cliche but still worked on most levels. The story behind the angry ghost was also cliche. Could've been a bit more creative than some asian guy went section 8 and wasted a few family members then himself.)
(Overall:A good ghost movie, with a unique antagonist, and alot of suspenseful scenes, which sadly lead to pretty repetitive and lame deaths, except for 1. The antagonist is relied upon a bit too much, but at the same time, she saves this movie, and is the only thing that makes it scary, and also the only thing which allows you to look past it's subpar acting, and pretty weak story.)