Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ju-on: The Grudge [2003]

This here is for the theatrical release version of Takashi Shimizu's Ju-on [2000]. Armed with a bigger budget, did he make a better film? That's arguable. I would argue that he did not.
In no way a bad film, Ju-on: The Grudge (J:TG) just doesn't match up to Ju-on despite having the same director! In another viewer's case you might attribute this feeling to having watched the original before watching the remake. Not me. I actually saw this version first, then checked out the original and I maintain that the latter is the superior film.

The biggest difference between the two would be the acting quality. Again, the actors in J:TG weren't bad, it's just that Ju-on's were a little better. (The girls were cuter too. Don't judge me!) ╮(╯ヮ╰)╭

Naturally, the special FX were more fully realized... I guess? I won't say 'better' because, in my opinion, they weren't. Ju-on used what it could manage to do extremely effectively, such that throwing more money at it really doesn't enrich the experience by much.

This is a good film, no doubt about it. With a faster pace and higher quality FX, this is the version I would recommend to people looking to see Ju-on Lite. If you have the patience an appreciation for a slower pace I don't hesitate to point you to the original. The impact of the climax hits harder after the proper amount of building up. In addition, I feel that the timeline of the chapters flowed better in the first.
The sequence of events by chapter in Ju-on
Chapter 1: (1) Teacher arrives at house and finds mysterious conditions.
Chapter 2: (2) Tutor with Kanna of the Murakami family.
Chapter 3: (2) Girlfriend of Murakami son.
Chapter 4: (2) Kanna returns home.
Chapter 5: (1) Teacher realizes what has happened in the house.
Chapter 6: (3) Realtor sells house.
The sequence of events by chapter in J:TG
Chapter 1: (2) Rika arrives at house, some of the residents are missing.
Chapter 2: (1) Katsuya and Kazumi, the residents are at the house.
Chapter 3: (1) Katsuya's sister, Hitomi, hides under the covers.
Chapter 4: (2) Rika's boss checks up on her and comes to the house. Toyama tries to burn the house down (good man).
Chapter 5: (4) Toyama has been long dead and his daughter, Izumi, overhears a report about a health care worker.
Chapter 6: (3) The health care worker, Rika, tries to save her friend.

The most important thing J:TG lacked, and the reason Ju-on is a better film, was the element of unraveling the mystery. From the moment the teacher arrived at the house he, and the audience, knew something was odd. Next we see the future, all the victims of the curse being done in. Then we returned to the teacher and we all discover the terrible events that have transpired. Finally it ends with the house being sold and the continuation of the curse. In J:TG the story is laid out for you by a detective speaking with Toyama in Chapter 4. Truly a shame and Ju-on: The Grudge suffers for it in my opinion.