The Grudge (2004)
Main cast: Sarah Michelle Gellar (Karen Davis), Jason Behr (Doug), William Mapother (Matthew Williams), Clea DuVall (Jennifer Williams), KaDee Strickland (Susan Williams), Grace Zabriskie (Emma Williams) and Bill Pullman (Peter Kirk)
Director: Takashi Shimizu


The Grudge is the American remake of the Korean (not Japanese like so many US reviewers assumed) movie Ju-On, one of the many "long haired ghosts oooh, scary" clones that flooded the markets after the success of the Japanese version of The Ring. I watched Ju-On and I guess you can tell how much I enjoyed that movie by how I spent weeks making that "Ack-ack-ack" suffocating sound - like the one the ghosts made - just for laughs and to annoy people who genuinely thought that schlocky movie is the scariest thing ever. Puh-lease. Unfortunately, the American version is even more incoherent than the Korean original, and if I haven't had some people explain to me the plot (the Korean original isn't the most coherent either), I won't really understand fully what the story is about.

Basically, the story is this. Ghosts that are murdered violently often linger behind to haunt the sites of their murder and kill anyone who happens to be in their path. A Japanese woman and her son were murdered in this house that later becomes the haunted house that the story revolves around. Sarah Michelle Gellar plays Karen Davis, an American exchange student in Japan, while the depressingly emaciated and scruffy Jason Behr plays Doug, her boyfriend. Karen happens to pretty much stumble upon the house (that has recently killed a hapless shut-in) and the story then jumps to flash-backs and present scenes in such a haphazard manner that viewers may not even know that what scenes are flashbacks and what aren't - if they know in the first place that the scenes are flashback scenes, that is.

After a while, it is easy to see why Karen looks so confused most of the time. I think I have the same expression mirrored on my face. It is easy to imagine why Bill Pullman's character jumps off the balcony to his death early in the movie because by the time the first hour of this movie is done with, I am thinking about following him because this movie is confusing, incoherent, and top it off, boring beyond belief. Nothing happens in this movie apart from some silly ghosts in white going "Ack-ack-ack!" (the Martians in Mars Attack! did that so much better, if you ask me) before killing all those boring people that either talk or wander around looking utterly lost and unhappy. Maybe I should be rooting for the ghosts when they kill off those boring twits?

Memo to Hollywood bigwigs: maybe it's time to adapt Japanese anime and hentai before we bring another tedious "long-haired girl ghost, ooh, scary, if I haven't seen her in a thousand Japanese and Korean horror movies already" remake to the big screen? Sailormoon Does Dallas sounds like a dream compared to meandering wastes-of-time like The Grudge.

Rating: 47


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