“A movie that will give you nightmares for weeks to come!!”

Over the last century, the movie industry has supplied us with some very decent horror films. From “The Shining” to “Psycho” and all the way to “The Ring,” it is horror movies that keep us up at night. Alfred Hitchcock invented the genre, and hundreds of directors around the world have been reinventing it. Now, in the year 2004, nearly 80 years after horror movies were first made, director Takishi Shimuzu has fine-tuned it by writing and directing the Halloween hit, “The Grudge.”

It’s said that in Japan, when someone dies in the grip of a powerful rage, a curse is planted there, and will repeat itself forever and ever. Whoever encounters the curse will be haunted until it kills them.

That is the basis of “The Grudge.” Karen Davis (Sarah Michelle Geller) and her boyfriend move to Japan to search for a career. Karen, once she is there, is hired as a caretaker for a frail American woman who suffers from dementia. Karen doesn’t consider asking what happened to the old caretaker who hasn’t shown up for work for a couple of days or why everyone cringes when she mentions the house she’s heading to. She’s just excited to have her first real job.

When she gets to the house, she immediately notices how strange things are.

She finds a boy in a room upstairs that was apparently stuck in a closet for a while. Things begin misplacing themselves. At night, she hears strange meowing sounds. Karen knows that things are definitely not all right in that house.

Her premonitions and hunches about the house come true when she sees the curse that lies inside the house. It scares her out of the house and leaves her in a shocked state.

To give anymore of the story away would ruin the whole movie. All I can say is that there are plenty of twists and plenty of scares.

“The Grudge” is based upon Shimuzu’s original screenplay from the 80’s. He shot the original movie in Japan and redid it in 2004 with American actors.

I’ve heard a lot about the Japanese version, and everyone says that this American version blows the other one right out of the water. The acting, the dialogue, and most of all, the scares are all better.

One of the most interesting features of the movie is the way that the flashbacks occur. In certain parts of the movie, in order to explain things, the director takes you back in time to answer any questions the audience might have. The most interesting flashback was when they went back in time to show the tale of Peter Kirk (Bill Pullman) and how he was killed by the curse of the house.

“The Grudge,” in my opinion, produced more screams from the audience than any other movie I’ve seen. Every two seconds, a face would pop out from the shadows and cause everyone to scream out loud. I have to give credit to the makeup artists who did this movie. They made the actors look so real and scary.

It’s strange seeing how the horror genre has been constantly reinvented.

It started off in the Hitchcock era, with movies that weren’t scary, but were suspenseful enough to make you shiver. It was touched up by Tim Carpenter in the 70’s and 80’s with the “Halloween” series and was once again changed in the late 80’s and 90’s by Wes Craven with the “Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Friday the 13th” and “Scream” series. But now, the Japanese director Takishi Shimuzu has once again reinvented the horror genre, this time in a whole new and exciting way.

OVERALL GRADE – A+


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