Ju On: The Grudge (2004)


The vengeful spirits of murder victims terrorise anyone who dares to enter the house that was the scene of their deaths.

Ju On was one of the first J Horrors that broke the international mainstream – along with Ringu – and although it feels a lot less fresh and unique now than it did at the time thanks to the formula being milked dry by a generation of copycats, it still stands up as one of the best. It does have its flaws; there’s little in the way of plot, the cast are adequate but not remarkable and the cinematography is a little too bright and sterile for the subject matter. What makes the film is the director’s ability to play on images that seem to plug directly into the fear centre of the brain, making it feel as if the characters are never safe no matter where they are as well as – in particular – the sound design. There’s something about the noise that the ghost makes that’s a bit like a clammy tarantula crawling up your spine and it still gives me goosebumps every time I hear it!

The Grudge is my favourite example of the genre and still worth seeing even though the whole J Horror movement has long since been running on empty.



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