Japanese horror movie becomes American favorite

However, Jamie Schartz will go so far as to say that most teens have seen or at least heard of the popular horror film, “The Grudge.” A lesser known fact is that “The Grudge” is actually an American remake of a Japanese horror film, “Ju-On: The Grudge.”

Jamie Schartz. [email protected], is a undeclared freshman.

I hope I’m not stereotyping too much when I say that most kids go through an obsessive phase with horror movies in middle school or early high school.

However, I will go so far as to say that most teens have seen or at least heard of the popular horror film, “The Grudge.” A lesser known fact is that “The Grudge” is actually an American remake of a Japanese horror film, “Ju-On: The Grudge.”

Naturally I had to watch it to find out if it was as scary as I remembered “The Grudge” to be. And yes, “Ju-On” is in Japanese.

The original film was made by a Japanese film student, and is based on the story of a man, Takeo Saeki, who suspects his wife, Kayako, of having an affair. In a fit of anger, Takeo kills his Kayako, their young son Toshio, Toshio’s cat and finally himself. According to legend when a person is killed with a deep and powerful rage their spirit remains in the place they were killed and all who enter the place or interact with the people who enter the place will be cursed as well.

In this way the curse can spread to an infinite number of locations. The curse begins with the victims seeing and hearing cats then seeing Toshio and finally seeing Kayako, at which point they are killed or simply vanish.

First of all, “Ju-On” and “The Grudge” are identical, scene for scene until the last half hour of “Ju-On” which extends beyond where “The Grudge” left off. The extra 30 minutes didn’t actually help much.

Both movies are confusing as they skip around randomly and cut between characters not always with a clear connection between the characters. I also suspect that it has some amount of “Premonition”-style time warp, although I do not swear to that because, like I mentioned, I did not think the movie made much sense.

An unfortunate result of not being able to follow the story line is that by the end of the movie I was barely paying attention. I do not think I have ever left a series unfinished, so I did have to watch “Ju-On 2” and I feel confident in saying this is the only time I have ever liked a sequel better than the original.

I think I was more freaked out by the first 10 minutes of the second movie than I was in the entire first movie and I was watching it in a room with the lights on and several other people in the room. (For clarification, they were not watching with me; but things are less scary with other people nine out of ten times.) The sequel was just a continuation of the curse but it was still scarier than its predecessor.

The methods of stalking and haunting the victims is much more elaborate and much less believable but I think that is what makes it the superior story. The entire concept is so insane and far fetched that the weirder everything is, the better it all fits together.

Overall, I would give the first movie one and a half stars out of five. I could justify giving it two if it was being compared to the American movie. The Japanese (from what I could gather) were much more thorough in the story line. That still does not qualify it as a “good movie” in my book.

The second movie I would rank at three out of five stars. The plot lines were easier to follow and I could more easily remember which character was which.

I also would not say that “Ju-On 2” could be classified as a “good movie,” though I would definitely say it is a better movie. You can check out “Ju-On: The Grudge” and “Ju-On 2” on Netflix. “The Grudge” and its two sequels can be found at local movie rental places.