Welcome to this month’s installment of Original vs. Remake. Most months, Tiffany A. White and I do an older movie that has been updated with a “modern” remake. However, this month’s “original” is a Japanese film called Ju-on: The Grudge. This film was remade in America as The Grudge.
As usual, I’ll do the original, and Tiffany will take the remake. Be sure to stop by Tiffany’s blog on Friday to see what she thought of The Grudge.
Summary: When someone dies with a deep and burning rage, a curse is born. It gathers in the place where that person died and manifests on those who encounter the curse. This film is a set of six vignettes, starring different characters, about a house in suburban Japan where a murder took place.
About the Film
Ju-on: The Grudge is third in a franchise of films written and directed by Takashi Shimizu. The first two films (Ju-on: The Curse and Ju-on: The Curse 2) were direct to video and became hits through positive word of mouth.
Ju-on: The Grudge was the first film in the franchise made expressly for cinema. In all, there are six films in the Japanese Ju-on franchise.
A video game titled Ju-on: The Grudge Haunted House Simulator was released in 2009.
Connections in Folklore
When Tiffany and I decided to cover Ju-on: The Grudge, I hoped to learn the curse in the film was based on actual Japanese folklore or mythology. I wasn’t disappointed.
The films use regular old haunted house themes mixed with elements of Onryō from Japanese folklore. Onryō dates back to the 8th century. It is a spirit, usually a woman who suffered ill treatment from the men in her life, who returns to the physical world to seek vengeance. Powerless in life, this spirit is given the power in death to influence the living.
(My definition of Onryō is grossly simplified. A google search will yield much more detailed information than I’ve provided.)
Do you need to see it? If you’re a horror fan, yes. There are some absolutely terrifying images in this film. They will stick with me for some time to come. The one negative thing I’ll say is that it takes a while to get into the film.
Don’t forget to visit Tiffany’s blog on Friday for her thoughts on the American remake, The Grudge.
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