Ju-on (Ju-on: The Grudge) (2003)

6.5 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Creepy kid and lady

Not into the story

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Ju-on (Ju-on:  The Grudge)

Studio:  Pioneer LCD

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  January 25, 2003

MPAA Rating:  R


I knew I should have bought a better mattress

A horror exists inside a home and latches on to everyone who enters.  A caregiver named Rika Nishina (Megumi Okina) becomes victim to the evil and awakens a chain of terror that originated in the murder of a wife and child, spread to the home’s current owners, their family, and the police that investigated the crime and their own family.  The horror is unstoppable and the rage it holds for the living has no end.

Ju-on is the original Japanese version of what was remade in the United States as The Grudge in the U.S. in 2004 and is often referred to as Ju-on:  The Grudge.  The movie was a big success and reached international success when The Grudge was released in the U.S.


What’chu talkin’ ’bout Willis?

The Grudge has this weird history.  As mentioned Ju-on is often called Ju-on:  The Grudge.  That is because it is really the third movie in the series but the first one released in theaters.  The first two films were actually TV movies.  In 1998, a story called Katasumi and 4444444444444 was part of Gakkō no kaidan G and introduced Ju-on.  The first real movie was Ju-on:  The Curse and a second straight to video movie called Ju-on 2 (or Ju-on:  The Curse 2).  The first two movies involve the backstory of characters who appear in Ju-on:  The Grudge and expand on some of the little vignettes in the story.

Ju-on is set is up in a strange format.  It is made up of different stories and the stories are spread through a long period of time with some temporal crisscrossing.  The evil is known as an onryo (or vengeful ghost), created by rage, and jumping from person to person.  It makes it not even safe outside of the home from which it originates and can come at you when you are most vulnerable.  With all the jumping around, it is sometimes a bit hard to follow.  The filmmakers do a good job distinguishing the characters, but the transitions sometimes don’t make much sense if you aren’t ready for what is happening.


I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!

What does work is that Ju-on is creepy.  The child spirit that always watching and meowing and can be seen darting out of the corner of the eye gives fear to the unseen.  Add to that the woman with the strange guttural clucking which despite crawling after her victims manages to freeze them in place with fear.  The movie preys upon the fears that there are things you can fix and there are some things that are un-escapable.  You can’t escape the grudge so it is just a matter of if you want to go out screaming.

Ju-on is a tricky movie.  I like the fears that it induces, but I don’t love the story.  Since it is made up of vignettes, it feels really segmented despite having a central theme.  The problem is if you don’t get into the central story, the segments feel kind of weak and anticlimactic.  That being said, it is worth watching for its weirdness and creepy imagery.  Ju-on was followed by Ju-on:  The Grudge 2 (also released in 2003).

Related Links:

The Grudge (2004)

The Grudge 2 (2006)

The Grudge 3 (2009)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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