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By James Whittington, Monday 1st June 2020 The Grudge Certificate 15 Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
One of the most famous films of the last couple of decades or so, Japanese shocker Ju-On: The Grudge from director Takashi Shimizu was an expertly crafted journey into the paranormal. A few sequels and remake later and we arrive at a new version of the idea, this time the horror has never been more violent.
When someone dies in the grip of a powerful rage, a curse is born. It gathers in the place of death but cannot be contained. Once you encounter it...it will never let go.
Written and directed by Nicolas Pesce, the movie really does get under the skin of the viewer with an atmosphere that contains just enough dread and tension to keep it feeling fresh instead of being a "by the numbers" remake of the original premise. Told in flashback, the movie keeps its own pace, dripping in subtle hints as to where the story is going whilst keeping you guessing as to how it will all play out.
The film is packed with clever references to the whole Ju-On mythology, best to watch it twice to catch them all as not giving away any spoilers here. It is violent, bloody and gory which sometimes take away the impact of the "jump scare" moments that we are used to with this franchise but do help to bring a more bold interpretation of the story to the screen, keeping the horror very much in the real world.
The movie boasts an incredibly strong cast including John Cho, Lin, Jackie Weaver, Betty Gilpin, Frankie Faison, Lin Shaye, Tara Westwood and William Sadler who each bring a sense of gravitas to the movie. The film is carried perfectly by Andrea Riseborough (Detective Muldoon) and Demian Bichir (Goodman), both can take this bizarre and, let's face it, crazy idea and breath life into their characters. Both are fractured, lost and lonely and become slightly obsessed by the strange events in their area. I have to mention the relationship between the characters played by Frankie Faison and Lin Shaye which is quite extraordinarily honest and caring and adds just the right amount of reality to the movie.
The Grudge is a solid and effective piece horror escapism that takes what has gone before, such as the infamous shower sequence and gives it a tidy up and a polish whilst adding some heart to it.
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