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The Grudge

It never forgives. It never forgets 

Year: 2004 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is expected to have certain elements which are subtitled, but it is not expected that the entire film will contain them. 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from The Grudge

The Grudge is a snappy remake of the 2003 Japanese film Ju-On, and employs the same director, Takashi Shimizu, to re-spice the original. The Grudge is the story of a curse that falls on anyone, and everyone, who enters a house in Japan where a man once brutally murdered his wife and son. Sarah Michelle Gellar plays a woman who stepped foot in the house, and must discover and solve the curse before meeting her grizzly end.

The plot weaves a web of mystery, leaving you waiting for the next attack; each is dripping with suspense and haunts like a crawling dead woman without an ounce of mercy, and in fact that's exactly what this is! The dead wife and son are on a roaring rampage of revenge and form a pretty good supernatural tag-team.

Being the second go at the same film for Shimizu, there are some scares using the typical horror style; fractional viewing of the film's main 'monster', the dead woman, and a screeching musical score. Yet Shimizu has 'gone original' with this collage of tired-out horror conventions and brilliantly employs the sweeping camera to draw the viewer into every scene.

The Grudge is 90 minutes of intrigue, suspicion and gripping suspense that terrifies you almost every 15 minutes, or so it seems. In foresight, expect the next Scary Movie film to showcase many of the film's idiosyncrasies; the blazing black eyes, the pale hand in the back of Sarah Michelle Gellar's hair, a mortified woman creeping down a poorly-lit corridor.

The Grudge's only fair shortcoming is it's resemblance to The Ring/Ringu; it does not incite enough originality to avoid being a poser on The Ring's bandwagon.

It is the dark and seething antics of the devilish duo that make this film so good, trust me it will cause your hair to rise on a number of occasions. The Grudge is a claustrophobic, intense and engaging spin on modern horror, and deserves watching, even if you go solely for the sight of SMG in the shower!

Andrew Prichard

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Screenings of this film:

2004/2005 Spring Term (35mm)