AUGUST 29, 2007
The release of the American remake of Ju-On, called The Grudge, nearly ended my desire to go to the movies. The kids in the audience were so fucking annoying, I am still amazed I got out of there without bludgeoning one of them with a Milk Dud (it’s possible). Suffice to say it wasn’t an enjoyable theater experience, and I was so irritated I still to this day have no idea if I actually liked the movie or not. I don’t think I did though, so I was in no rush to watch the Japanese original that the film was based on (itself a remake – confused yet? I aren).
This was more or less confirmed while watching Ju-On today. It’s a movie with almost zero plot and yet told in a needlessly confusing manner. Following multiple timelines, characters who don’t get introduced into well over an hour into the film, and ghosts with apparently no ‘rules’ seems like a lot of work for a movie that essentially boils down to “if you go into this house you’ll die”.
That’s not to say the film is horrible, but when you consider that there is something like 834 versions (and respective sequels) of this movie, I would think it should be a compelling and unique enough story to warrant all the attention. But it’s not. And besides, I’ve gone on record with how un-scary I find the idea of little Japanese kids looking at me and croaking.
Still, there IS a strange sort of appeal to the film. I think it’s probably due to the fact that the film is essentially an anthology film, so no character really wears out their welcome. And since everyone dies, and it becomes more of a matter of WHEN they will die, there is some minor suspense to be had when they are in danger (unlike say, Ob-Ewan McGregor in the prequels, who was constantly in danger we knew perfectly well he would escape from). “Will they die here, or in the next scene?” Usually it’s the former, and then another character comes along.
The DVD has an odd extra: a commentary by Sam Raimi and Scott Spiegel. Raimi produced the remake; Spiegel I guess just had nothing better to do. They chat about horror movies in general, how much they like this movie, and offer some delightfully bad puns throughout (“I married my wife for her looks, just not the ones she’s been giving me lately”), making it worth a listen. Spiegel needs to brush up on his IMDb though, attributing Cat People to John Carpenter (???). They also contradict themselves, saying at one point that when a horror film gets too complex that it becomes harder for an audience to be scared, and then marveling at how the audience is expected to figure out most of the film’s timeline and plot threads themselves a few minutes later.
There’s also some deleteds and interviews, but I had no interest.
What say you?