Ju-on  is partially responsible for revitalizing the J-horror genre in the early 2000s and it is one of the two best known Japanese horror film series, the other being the Ring series (which can lay claim to most of that credit for the revitalizing).
First some history. The Ju-on series, 'juon' (呪怨) meaning 'grudge' or 'curse', is the brainchild of director Takashi Shimizu and I must say he's milked this thing for all its worth. Directing no less than 7 of the 10 films in the series, including two American remakes, I'm hard-pressed to resist calling the man a one-trick pony but hey, itsa livin' and who am I to judge?
|They look like this.|
First appearing as a direct-to-video movie in 2000, Ju-on takes the age-old haunted house premise and really makes it special. Anyone who's seen The Ring will be familiar with this image, the vengeful spirit, onryou, 怨霊. Well, that might be the most popular manifestation in the mainstream eye today due to those movies but they come in other forms too.
Later that year Shimizu released Ju-on 2, also direct-to-video. These two films received enough attention for him to get the go-ahead to remake them with better budgets and bet-...well, different actors in 2003. He subsequently, and confusingly, titled them Ju-on: The Grudge and Ju-on: The Grudge 2.
|Damsel in distress? I think not.|
Who green-lighted that?! I don't know about you but I just can't suspend my disbelief enough to feel like Buffy is in danger.
|Could she BE anymore miscast?|
While you can say Shimizu lacks originality he certainly doesn't lack ingenuity, twisting his one story and finding new ways to present it (at least for a while).
Therefore, I would caution you to refrain from dismissing these films based solely on the fact that every single one has the same premise and more or less a similar plot.
|Say, doesn't that remind you of something?|