This isn’t an entirely timely rant. The last Grudge movie was released on 20th October 2006 and the next one’s not due till sometime next year. But the soggy dead girl is a trope we still haven’t managed to escape, and Shimizu is almost entirely to blame, so I’m getting out my darts anyway.Dart One (50 points)Ju-on: The Curse. Ju-on: The Curse 2. Ju-on: The Grudge. Ju-on: The Grudge 2. Ju-on: The Grudge 3. Et cetera, ad nauseum.
The first time I saw Ju-on: The Grudge, I loved it. Well, I was petrified by it, and then I loved it. By chance, it happened to be showing at a local cinema during a weekend my best friend and I were having a J-horror marathon, so we trundled along to see it, and ended up scared out of our wits. Compared with its contemporaries like Ring and Dark Water, Ju-on: The Grudge is refreshing – it’s not a slow burner with one killer shock at the end, it’s a relentless assault on your senses. Everywhere you look, there’s a little blue faced boy and a mangled, long-haired, rattle-throated woman coming at you, and no matter where you hide, they’re going to get you, and when they get you they will kill you. It’s terrifying.
And then I found out that there were other movies in this series. I thought that was awesome and set about watching them all… only to find out that they’re al the same movie. Seriously. There’s a TV movie, then the sequel to that TV movie. Then there’s a cinematic remake, and a sequel to that… but they all use the same scare and, quite often, the same set up of that scare. And by the time you get around to Ju-on: The Grudge 2, everyone involved has run out of steam and ideas and has resorted to making evil wigs.
Evil wigs. Fucking hell.Dart Two (100 points)The Grudge. The Grudge 2. If this rant is starting to sound repetitive, it’s because, well, it is. Because what I’m ranting about is basically a seven-film series made up of the same thing. Only the American remakes are somehow even worse than their Japanese counterparts. There was very little story in the TV movie version of the Ju-on story, and with every incarnation it seems to get a little bit more watered down so that by the time you get to The Grudge 2, nothing makes sense any more.
I’m willing to concede that throwing a po-faced Sarah Michelle Gellar off the top of the building was an inspired moment, but other than that, arghhhhh. That scene where the schoolgirls and their high school counsellor all stand up and gargle in dreadful attempts to make the death rattle noise will stick with you, and not in a good way. In a really embarrassing, I-can’t-believe-no-one-saw-how-stupid-this-was kind of a way. The series has gone beyond scary into stupid into hilariously stupid before finally nosediving into unwatchable nonsense.
Dart Three (bounces off the wall, hits someone on the head and falls into his beer)JUST STOP MAKING FREAKING SOGGY DEAD GIRL MOVIES ALREADY.