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The Grudge

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Grudge

Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jason Behr
Director: Takashi Shimizu
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 96 Minutes
Release Date: October 2004
Genres: Horror, Drama, Thriller

*Also starring: Bill Pullman, Clea Duvall, William R. Mapother, Kadee Strickland, Rosa Blasi, Grace Zabriskie, Ted Raimi

Review by Steve Rhodes
1½ stars out of 4

THE GRUDGE, a slump-in-your-seat, would-be thriller, is a shockless shocker. No matter how many horror movie clichés it turns to -- "Don't open that door" moments, apparitions that appear out of nowhere, cats that hiss and sudden loud noises -- the movie is much more likely to induce small smiles than the intended jumps.

In a failed experiment, Takashi Shimizu, the writer and director of the Japanese original, JU-ON: THE GRUDGE, was put in charge of its Hollywood remake. But rather than being creepily intriguing, the movie is slow and plodding. The characters aren't interesting, and story has no original ideas. The plot concerns a cursed house in Japan that keeps killing visitors. The film makes the fatal mistake of showing the story's not very frightening monster way too soon.

Sarah Michelle Gellar gives an instantly forgettable performance as Karen, an exchange student studying social work in a foreign land. Other than playing the usual game of guessing who is going to die when, the movie provides only one other treat. We learn that real estate agents on the other side of the world are just as ambitious as they are here. When an agent discovers a killer in the bathroom, he doesn't disclose it to the buyer but gets him to sign on the dotted line as quickly as possible.

THE GRUDGE runs 1:36. The film is in English and in Japanese with English subtitles. It is rated PG-13 for "mature thematic material, disturbing images/terror/violence, and some sensuality" and would be acceptable for kids around 12 and up.

Copyright © 2004 Steve Rhodes

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