'The Grudge' is another one of your eerie Japanese thrillers that is rated very low on IMDB, and I am not stereotyping at all here, but I'm pretty sure a lot of people from the UK aren't very keen in Japanese thrillers. I really don't know why to be honest, but I think this film is fantastic and is very 'jumpy' and spooky for a Saturday night. The Gothic-like 'grudge girl' is what makes this film so special, as she takes on the traditional 'scary girl' appearance - wearing a sparkling white dress, with her black carelessly combed all over her face. This image of a disturbed young girl seems to really startle everyone, especially with some accompanied thrilling background music, occasionally boosted to give someone the unexpected 'jump scare'. This is what I feel really makes this film so eerie.
The use of the 'grudge girl' and the scares and silence we experience.
The film is directed by Takashi Shimizu, and lasts a good 92 minutes. Also, aside this horrible girl, the plot is fairly straightforward. Rumours flow throughout Tokyo about a possessed house which contains a violent plague inside know as 'The Grudge' curse. Rumours described this curse to be powerful and cause it's victims to suffer and eventually die in a powerful rage. Those who are affected by this deadly curse pass away within a very short period of time and a new curse is born to all of those who enter the cursed house. It acts like a virus, constant and never-ending replication.
The plot basically revolves around Karen (Sarah Michelle Gellar), who is an exchange student in Japan, and agrees to cover for a nurse who didn't show up for her shift. When she enters the assigned home, she comes across an older American woman named Emma (Grace Zabriskie) who is lost in a mental state. As she begins to aid this poor woman, she hears eerie scratching from upstairs.
From this, she investigates the spooky scratching and faces a true horror more frightening that she could ever expect. Now after several horrific deaths, she finds herself locked in a race against time for she too is consumed by The Grudge.
Although this may sound very exciting, the plot was given terrible reviews worldwide. However, I on the other hand, have a completely different opinion to those and don't understand why so many people are giving negative feedback to it. There are claims that it is merely stealing ideas from movies such as The Ring or other psychological horrors. The plot is straightforward in my opinion since terrible events can lead to ghosts haunting a house, which is clearly what happens in this film. You then may ask why do they do this? Well perhaps the ghost may have suffered a terrible death and may be seeking vengeance, which is also what happens in this film. A lot of people don't properly pay attention to the plot.
In terms of 'jump scares', this film is the perfect example of how successful jump scares can work. It is full of them, and the majority of them are completely unexpected in my opinion. I received many scares throughout this film, as it is definitely a horror film at it's core.
Another unique aspect to the film is that it doesn't focus on the deaths of all who die, but it shows you how each of the central characters are constantly driven with fear, and this causes us to be very frightened.
I also wouldn't say I particularly "enjoyed" the film, because it was so damn frightening at points, and occasionally I wasn't given a few moments to calm down from a huge scare as it followed with another one!
Overall, for hardcore horror fans, this is a treat for you on a Saturday night as in scenes containing that dodgy atmosphere, you won't last 2 minutes with having a huge scare. Seriously, I recommend that you get a pillow and a blanket for some cover in case some scenes get out of hand, and you may wish to invite a friend round for some more control over your nerves. Brilliant film, and it is packed with 'jump scares'!