I can't believe after whining about how stupid I was for not checking my queue, that I did it AGAIN. This time the mistake wasn't so unfortunate but it still left me feeling rather bitter. I had failed to notice this time around that the Grudge I had stored in my queue was the American remake and not the original Japanese version. I don't have anything against remakes or at least giving them a chance, but after declaring my immense adoration for The Ring over Ringu--I had wanted to switch things up this time. I thought that maybe if I saw the original first I would become a strong supporter. This was inevitably a failed experiment as most people don't love the American remake--but what can you do?
I also must admit that I dreaded seeing The Grudge for a few reasons. To begin with, I like to consider it, along with the Ring as being the seed that planted the trend of scary Asian girls with long hair into the minds of everyone. It is because of the success of these two movies that I hate all Asian horror films that center around the supernatural because they all employ the same tactics. I figured I would hate the Grudge for doing this but I also failed to realize that if the Grudge and The Ring started a trend--they must have been doing something right.
The other reason I sort of abhorred the Grudge was because of Sarah Michelle Gellar. I just don't like her! I never have and every single movie that I see her in I can't get the stupid ugly face of her character from Cruel Intentions out of my head. I'm also a huge supporter of The Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie in case you didn't know and I resent her for marrying Freddy Prinze Jr. before my 14 year old self could.
Anyways I put my dignity aside and settled in and I must admit...I found myself pretty creeped out. I'm embarrassed even to tell you this but I stopped it after 20 minutes because no one was home and the heaters were making loud noises. Maybe it's the timing of the Grudge, or the long black hair that's extra long and...gross. Or maybe The Grudge just speaks to everyone's innate fear of scary dead Asian girls with long hair and bad asthma. Who knows. Either way, when I finally settled back in to watch it in its entirety I was both excited and nervous.
I had no idea when I began watching it, that the story's structure was so disjointed. We begin with a Japanese girl coming to take care of some old lady. She hears noises and goes to investigate and gets killed. Next we meet a family moving into the house. They are actually the people who are living there at the time the Japanese girl comes at the beginning. THEN we meet Sarah Michelle Gellar's character Karen, who takes the Japanese girl's place-and so on and so forth. It's an interesting story telling device that normally would have jarred me but in this instance I felt it a nice compliment to the idea of the stain. There's no bettering or worsening of the ghost's wrath because no matter who you are, or when you come into the house you will be met with...the grudge.
There are problems of course in The Grudge, but these seem to only be minor annoyances. Things like how the scary girl seemed to be really CGI looking, or how we never got to really see what happened to the husband and the wife.
Sarah Michelle Gellar's open fish mouth gape was also a bit annoying after awhile and she wasn't traumatized enough in my opinion. I guess I just don't understand why the ghost didn't immediately kill her like everyone else. I understand in order for the plot to stay alive she kind of needs to be alive...but in every other instance--the ghost did NOT give up so what the eff?
Aside from those shenanigans, The Grudge was as I said a pretty terrifying movie for anyone who HATES hair. Personally, I don't mind it but still, the hair oooh god the hair.
I also will fault The Grudge for making me weary of...cats. I know. I too was upset but it happened. I'm actually still confused about the little cat boy.
Did he just really like cats? Maybe I missed something there...regardless I had to stop the movie about 10 times because I thought my cat was alone and crying somewhere. Turns out it was just the cat in the movie...
The scene that a lot of people talk about when they refer to the Grudge is the stairwell scene and the under the covers scene.
I admit I had seen it before a few times but it never really affected me. However. In context, that scene is wildly creepy. I attribute this to the noise. It really is an ungodly noise that should never be uttered by another human being ever. I think the main driving force behind that scene is that it amplifies the power of the ghost to the nines. It just really is one of the creepiest scenes I have ever witnessed. Not only does she have the power to turn into people's brothers, and call people's cell phones--she also has an uncanny ability to morph out of the shadows and sneakily appear under people's bed covers. This film like The Ring, employs the very curious sensation of not being able to escape an evil no matter how hard you try. That's the thing with most horror films--in a lot of instances there is a safe place but here--we are screwed.
Ummm what else, what else? The other thing I enjoyed was how the end wasn't all twisty. It's refreshing to see an end to a horror film that is not filled with an uncontrollable need to make people's heads hurt. There's no--well GUESS WHAT? The cat? Yeah, the cat was actually the bad guy! Or shit like that. Things were straightforward and you know what? It made sense. The logical flow of events made sense for once and I felt like kissing something.
Overall I was quite pleased with the entirety of The Grudge. I'm sad that a lot of people don't like it, and as someone who has not seen the original, I am pretty confident in saying that it gets a lot of unfair flack. I found it to be effective, creepy and only a little bit annoying so ha. I'm sure the original is much more successful in building up the creepy atmosphere and all that jazz--but for a remake I think the Grudge does a fine job. I mean honestly--how many movies have I seen this year that made me nervous about finishing? Not many. And my heater makes noise all the time, so think about that, buddy.