Saturday, June 04, 2005

The Grudge

I managed to watch this horror movie the other week ... the remake starring Sarah Michelle Geller rather than the original Japanese version. I was pleasantly surprised. The film has a somewhat eclectic narrative style and leaps about all over the place time-wise (a fact that the people making it liked according to the DVD extras, but which makes it hard to follow), and is something akin to an anthology movie where a number of characters all meet different ends after having come into contact with a house haunted by the spirits of a girl, a boy and a cat. There are some moments of genuine unsettling terror in here - in particular the episode featuring a woman (I'm not sure without checking who she actually is or what her relationship is to the other characters) who ends up getting dragged down into her bed by the girl spirit. Very scary use of lighting and the walking ghost, plus an incredible vocal effect as the ghost approaches. The later scene of the girl coming down the stairs on her hands and knees is likewise totally terrifying and matches the similar scene from The Ring where Sadako emerges from the television set at the end. I'm not sure what Geller brings to the proceedings. She spends most of her screen time looking bemused and the eclectic time jumping means that she appears then vanishes again for a long period before appearing again at the end. As mentioned, perhaps the film's biggest fault is that the characters are all somewhat vague and hard to remember who they are and what their relationships are together - the ghosts are non-descrimatory when it comes to attacking them and good guys and less than good guys alike get their come-uppance over the course of the film. The Grudge is a great little slice of modern horror, and tinged with that great Japanese talent for unsettling the audience rather than grossing them out, it's something I'd recommend for a dark night ...

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