Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Grudge

 This is one of the four DVDs I rented last Thursday night. I watched it after Aeon Flux last night after coming home from seeing Sting live in concert with the NZSO out at the Mission. It was the last leg of his world wide Symphonicity tour. A superb show and the second time within three years I've seen him. I saw him in Wellington with the Police, which is probably the best concert I've ever been to!
 The Grudge is a horror film that is taken and revised from the original Japanese version. It is still based in Japan but uses American actors like the somewhat type cast Sarah Michelle Gellar. She is an actress that needs some out of horror roles so we can see if she has true acting ability or not. She needs to be stretched and horror films won't do this for her.
 Within recent years several cult Japanese horrors have been Americanised. The Ring is another, and personally the film I prefered over The Grudge. It was really creepy, and whilst using the unfortunate horror clique of the evil orphan, it is a good horror film with some genuine scares.  Certainly having a quality actress like Naomi Watts in the lead role brought added respectability and quality to the film.
 But back to The Grudge! It is more Japanese than The Ring. It has Japanese actors and the ghosts are Japanese. I didn't find this film creepy like The Ring, but it does have scare moments that made me jump, and they made me glad I didn't see it at the flicks!! It isn't horror in the gruesome blood splattered type of way many horrors take. It relies heavily on a good story and script. The ghosts themselves aren't scary to look at and yet they are introduced and used in clever ways to provide the scares.
 The Japanese-ness of the film is evident and brings an originality to a film the could easliy have been just another ghost movie. The use of Japanese curses is interesting as it opens a door into another country's urban myths and legends which gives the film repsectability. In many respects it is like Paranormal Activity and The Excorsist as it invloves people's own homes and not some cliqued remote cabin. It plays on our fears of what we can't see, and builds the tension and feeling of fear and terror as what we tell ourseleves can't be real actually is.
 These are the better types of horror for me. Whilst I'm not a great horror fan they are a film genre and I appreciate a well made film, horror or not. These types of films for me are scarier than slasher and more obvious monster type horrors. Ghosts, demons, and possession are very much a part of each country's cultures and I think most of us harbour a secret fear of them.
 This is the great strength of The Grudge and types of films like it. We can put ourselves into the characters situations and empathise with them. I don't get that feeling from the likes of Silent Hill, Scream, Friday the 13th, etc. They provide frights and gore a plenty but they lack the creepiness factor, and creepiness scares me more that a knife wielding maniac.
 This is an original film even though it was initialy Japanese made. It isn't the most scariest film ever made but it has tension, creepiness and scares enough to keep most horror fans happy. If you are like me and don't like them too scarey and cliqued then this is a movie that is well worth checking out. It isn't your average horror film and is the better for it.
See here for a synopsis and other facts:
And here for more:
And here for the official site:

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