Ok, so here we go. I don't like to drink the Haterade (I prefer the bubble tea) so I will tell you now that if you expected a tirade.... weeellll I *might* give one to you. I haven't seen this movie before so I don't actually know if it sucks. I wouldn't be surprised if it did but you can't blame me for that generalization can you? And that's why I'm here. I try my best not to hate on things based solely on other people's opinions just as I don't 'like' things just because other people do. That's no way to form an interesting self is it?
So any way, film starts and we see our protagonist, Dahlia, as a young girl, waiting for her parents to pick her up after school. Immediately flash forward 31 years, Dahlia and her husband meet with divorce mediators.
Looking at the relationships between the Japanese couple and this one reveals some interesting differences in culture. The husband and wife were much more subdued in their acting. Their dialogue, while hostile, never elevated to loud bickering in public. Dahlia and husband immediately start to argue and the husband screams that she is insane.
I think Hitomi Kuroki (actress for Yoshimi) conveyed the desperation of her character very well. Jennifer Connelly doesn't do a bad job but she doesn't have that same facial expression ability.
Dahlia and her girl, Ceci, arrive to check out the apartment, managed by a Mr. Murray (John C. Reilly) and superintendent, Mr. Veck (Pete Postlethwaite). Well now, this movie has some big guns on hand, eh? You probably last saw Reilly in Step Brothers, awesome movie by the way. And for you Yanks out there you probably know Postlethwaite as the big game hunter, Roland, from The Lost World: Jurassic Park .
The nice and underplayed elevator scene has been jazzed up for American audiences. Rather than the ghost quietly taking Yoshimi's hand, the elevator door suddenly shuts and traps Dahlia inside. An invisible hand slips into hers and Mr. Veck peers at an odd little girl shaped blur shows up on the security feed while little whispers of 'mommy' slither around the enclosed space. Subtle.
While in the apartment a big thing is made out of Ceci being mesmerized by the moldy stain on the ceiling. I wonder if they are going to make her sort of channel "Mitsuko's" ghost or something. Ikuko and Mitsuko didn't really have any relationship besides the one off-hand mention of her when Ikuko was in the bathtub. Other than that incident Mitsuko almost kills Ikuko twice. Hardly friendly. We shall see where they take this.
Eventually, the kid runs up to the roof and finds the bag, it's a Hello Kitty bag here. The mother again refuses to allow her child to keep the strange bag but here Mr. Veck says that if it is unclaimed after a week Ceci can have it. I don't think he's clever enough to have planned for it but this incentive is enough for Ceci to become keen to live in the place.
Ceci integrates relatively well with her new classmates. The Child Scolding scene has been removed for some reason. I thought it really contributed to showing the strain that the mother was under and the various worries that trouble her. Meanwhile, the moldy stain expands and starts to leak water. In the original it looked, well, normal and mold stain looking. Here it's black and unnecessarily menacing looking. Again, what is this aversion to subtlety? Dahlia's stressful situation starts giving her bad migraines and she goes to get a glass of water, etc., hair comes out of tap, etc. Here, though, we get the obligatory ((9_9) ugh) ghostly whisper: "mommy wake up" when she's all alone.
Scurrying footsteps above lead her to investigate the upstairs apartment. She finds it completely flooded but, unlike the original, this apartment looks like it has tenants. There are pictures and furniture everywhere. Dahlia moves further into the apartment when Mr. Veck startles her with a jump scare from behind. *rolls eyes* Apparently some punk ass teens have been vandalizing. The previous tenants have been gone for months. Ok, so in this remake the time-line has been shrunken from years to months since the previous tenants vacated the upstairs apartment.
Alright, I'll break it in half here. I'm about half way through the movie too. It isn't bad so far, surprise surprise!