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The Grudge is a 2004 American supernatural horror film and a remake of the Japanese film, Ju-on: The Grudge. The film was released in North America on October 22, 2004, by Columbia Pictures, and was directed by Takashi Shimizu (director of all previous Ju-on films), while Stephen Susco scripted the film. The plot is told through a nonlinear sequence of events, and includes several intersecting subplots.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Takashi Shimizu|
|Screenplay by||Stephen Susco|
|Based on||Ju-on: The Grudge|
by Takashi Shimizu
|Music by||Christopher Young|
|Edited by||Jeff Betancourt|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Box office||$187.2 million|
Despite receiving mixed reviews, the film was a box-office success, making over $187 million against a $10 million budget. The film was followed by two sequels, The Grudge 2 (2006) and The Grudge 3 (2009). A reboot entitled Grudge, is set to be released in 2020.
The Grudge describes a curse that is born when someone dies in the grip of a powerful rage or extreme sorrow. The curse is an entity created where the person died. Those who encounter this supernatural force die, and the curse is reborn repeatedly, passing from victim to victim in an endless, growing chain of horror. The following events are explained in their actual order; however, the film is presented in a nonlinear narrative.
The Saeki family lived happily in suburban Tokyo, but housewife Kayako Saeki fell in love with her college professor, Peter Kirk, obsessively writing about him in her diary. Her husband Takeo discovered the diary. Believing that Kayako was having an affair, he became mentally disturbed and brutally murdered his wife. He then drowned his young son Toshio - who witnessed his mother's murder - in the bathtub, along with the pet cat, Mar. Takeo hid the bodies in the house before Toshio's ghost murdered him by hanging him. Peter came to the Saeki house to speak to Kayako after receiving a letter from her, only to find both her and Takeo's corpses, alongside Toshio's ghost. Shocked, he fled and killed himself the next day. The remainder of the Saeki family rose again as ghosts due to the curse, notably Kayako, who appears as an onryō ghost.
The present timeline starts a few years later, with the Williams family moving in from America. While the husband, Matt, is thrilled with the house, his wife Jennifer and dementia-ridden mother Emma feel uncomfortable. Matt and Jennifer are consumed quickly by the curse. Yoko, a care worker, arrives at the house to find Emma alone, and encounters Kayako, who drags her up into the attic. Concerned about Yoko's disappearance, her employer Alex sends another care worker, Karen Davis, to take over the care of Emma. At the house, Karen discovers Toshio sealed up in a wardrobe and later on witnesses Kayako's spirit descending from the ceilings to claim Emma.
Alex arrives at the house shortly after and finds Emma dead and Karen in a state of shock after her encounter with Kayako and summons the police, including Detective Nakagawa. Nakagawa and his partner Igarashi find the bodies of Matt and Jennifer in the attic along with a human's lower jaw. Meanwhile, Matt's sister, Susan, hurries back home in fear after being pursued by Kayako around her office building. She vanishes from her room when the spirit attacks her from beneath her blanket. While leaving work, Alex is killed by Kayako possessing Yoko's jawless corpse. Karen begins to be haunted by Kayako, and informs her boyfriend Doug of the situation. She researches the house, eventually confronting Nakagawa, who explains that three of his colleagues investigating the Saeki deaths were all consumed by the curse. That night, Nakagawa attempts to burn down the house but is killed by Takeo.
Karen races to the house upon learning that Doug has ventured to the Saeki house to look for her, experiencing a vision in which she sees Peter visiting the house and finding Kayako's body in the attic and Takeo's corpse being hung in another room. Karen finds Doug paralyzed by fear, and attempts to flee with him, only to witness Kayako crawling down the stairs and onto Doug, who dies of shock. Karen sees the gasoline and manages to ignite it just as Kayako is about to kill her. Karen is found and whisked to a hospital, but learns that the house survived the fire. Visiting Doug's body, Karen realizes that she is still haunted by Kayako.
- Sarah Michelle Gellar as Karen Davis, an exchange student
- Jason Behr as Doug McCarthy, Karen's boyfriend, who attends the University of Tokyo
- KaDee Strickland as Susan Williams, Matt's younger sister
- William Mapother as Matt Williams, who relocates to Tokyo for a promotion
- Clea DuVall as Jennifer Williams, Matt's wife
- Grace Zabriskie as Emma Williams, Matt and Susan's mother, who has severe lethargy with mild dementia.
- Bill Pullman as Peter Kirk, a teacher working in Tokyo
- Rosa Blasi as Maria Kirk, Peter's wife
- Ted Raimi as Alex Jones, the director of the care centre where Yoko and Karen are stationed
- Ryo Ishibashi as Det. Nakagawa, a detective
- Yōko Maki as Yoko, a Japanese care worker assigned to care for Emma Williams
- Takako Fuji as Kayako Saeki, a married woman who is attracted to Peter Kirk
- Yuya Ozeki as Toshio Saeki, Kayako and Takeo Saeki's 10-year-old son.
- Takashi Matsuyama as Takeo Saeki, Kayako's husband
The Grudge opened at 3,348 theaters in North America. The film generated $39.1 million in ticket sales in its first weekend (October 22–24, 2004). Ticket sales declined 43% on the second weekend, earning $21.8 million, thereby becoming the first horror film to top the Halloween box office since House on Haunted Hill. The film made US$110,359,362 in North America alone and a total of $187,281,115 worldwide, far exceeding the expectations of box-office analysts and Sony Pictures executives. Sony also stated production costs of less than $10 million, making it one of the most profitable movies of the year. The film is recognized as the second-highest grossing horror remake of the past 40 years behind The Ring, but in front of horror films such as A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, and One Missed Call; the former two had successful franchises and were expected to be far more successful, whereas the latter is also an Asian horror remake and did far less in terms of box office. It is also second in Japanese remakes, but seventh in the highest openings for an October and fall release, being beaten by family movies.
The Grudge received mixed reviews, though Gellar's performance as Karen Davis was praised by critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 39%, based on 158 reviews (with 61 out of 158 film reviews counted fresh), with an average rating of 5.1/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "There's some creepy imagery to be found, but not much in the way of logic or truly jarring scares". On Metacritic, which uses an average of critics' reviews, the film has a score of 49 out of 100, based on 32 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Classic FM's film critic Simon Bates deemed it the scariest film he had ever seen.
The Grudge was released on VHS, DVD, and UMD on February 1, 2005, as a standard version of the film with only a few special features. On May 17, 2005, the unrated director's cut of The Grudge was released on DVD in North America. The release included several scenes that were cut to achieve a lower rating from the MPAA, as well as others which were removed for pacing and plot reasons. This version of the film was used as the theatrical run in Japan. The release also contained new deleted scenes and commentaries, director Takashi Shimizu's original Ju-On short films, "4444444444" and "In a Corner", and more. The film was released on Blu-ray Disc in Germany in 2008 and in the US on May 12, 2009, the same day that The Grudge 3 was released on DVD. It was made available to purchase on iTunes in 2008.
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- "Horror Remake Movies at the Box Office - Box Office Mojo". www.boxofficemojo.com.
- The Grudge at Metacritic
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