Ju-On: The Grudge has had a lasting effect on the horror landscape in the west, and along with Ring, it’s has done a great job at bringing Japanese horror films over here to the west.
While there are some fans of the American remake of The Grudge that prefer it, and tons that just plain haven’t seen the original, there’s something almost more frightening about the rough-around-the-edges feel of Ju-On: The Grudge that makes it an absolute must-watch for any self-respecting horror fan. After watching the original, watch the remake and the sequel to the remake, and if you really enjoy the three of those, go ahead and watch the rest of the series. Which is the best though? The original or the recent reboot?
10 Classic: The Gritty Feel
The estimated budget for Ju-On: The Grudge is an estimated 3,500,000 in USD, which really isn’t big at all despite it sounding like a lot to most people. That means that there wasn’t enough for CGI and they used practical effects for blood, any slight amount of gore in the murder sequences, and for Kayako and Toshio. This means that they had a real actor and actress for all of their scenes, and as a horror actor, it’s a lot easier to react to something that’s actually there rather than a CGI rig in front of a green-screen. This contributes to its gritty, unpolished feel, which honestly gives the film an air of reality.
9 Reboot: The Cast
The cast in the 2020 reboot is legitimately really solid, featuring really well-respected actors and actresses such as John Cho, Andrea Riseborough, and a Hollywood scream-queen named Lin Shaye. While some would argue that the writers and directors of the film didn’t use them to their full capability, the star power alone is something that doesn’t really happen in a whole lot of horror movies, and when it does, they aren’t usually popcorn flicks like this.
8 Classic: The 2004 Remake Was Good
While a lot of people probably avoided the remake of Ju-On: The Grudge released in 2004 and starring Michelle Gellar, it’s a legitimately good film that any horror fan should watch, especially if they want a horror experience that helped shape the landscape of horror in the mid-2000s and into the late 2000s.
A lot of people have seen it, and the second one, which is why they might have been disappointed with the pacing and atmosphere of the remake since a lot of people seem to find it just a little bit boring so far.
7 Reboot: It’s What Horror Audiences Are Expecting
While some people might say that The Grudge didn’t need a reboot, audiences have probably wanted one for a while, especially after the release of The Grudge 3 which even die-hard Grudge fans found difficult to enjoy. While it might not have been exactly what we wanted, the reboot we got does a pretty okay job at keeping the feel of the first two films in the western remake series, in addition to adding a grit that we hadn’t really seen before in the series. There’s also the introduction of a police officer and an investigation of the murders that happened, which we don’t really see in the original either.
6 Classic: It Helped Bring Foreign Horror To The West
Before the wide attention that J-horror got after the release of The Grudge and The Ring, the only people who were familiar with Ju-On: The Grudge or Ring were horror film buffs and people who had their thumb on the pulse of international films given the buzz the release of the two generated for Japan. At this point, tons of people are specifically hardcore fans of J-horror, and now foreign-language horror releases are getting more attention from the film community at large regardless of what country they’re from, a big example being the Turkish horror film Baskin.
5 Reboot: Nicolas Pesce Is A Solid Director So Far
Nicolas Pesce doesn’t really have too much under his belt yet, but what he has done so far has gotten at least mixed-to-positive reviews. While this isn’t necessarily the most glowing of reviews for him, it still means that he’s a capable director with a future fit for honing his craft. With the help of horror-legend Sam Raimi, the film should have been everything we ever wanted for a Grudge film.
That being said, there are a lot of arguments going around that it’s not at all what we wanted. In both of his previous films, he’s definitely shown a lot of style, and if that can be molded into style that absolutely has the fundamentals down, then we’re looking at another great horror director.
4 Classic: It’s Based On Traditional Japanese Ghost Stories
One of the things that make Ju-On: The Grudge so charming and important to viewers is that it’s based on legends that are popular in Japan. In the same way that the release of John Carpenter’s Halloween was so affecting because it told the story of something that could happen and blow-up every aspect of a nice suburban life, the tale of that old, empty house that all the neighborhood kids know not to enter, Ju-On does that too. A lot of small cities in Japan probably have tales about murder-houses in their neighborhood that no one should go near, and that’s really at the heart of the film.
3 Reboot: Realism
One thing the director wanted to do with the reboot is to make it grittier than the movies that preceded it. That being said, sometimes grit isn’t exactly what a horror movie needs, which is the issue a lot of unrelated films from the early to mid-2000s had. Yes, you are making a horror movie, but being gritty for the sake of being gritty and punishing characters who don’t deserve it even a bit can be just a little bit cruel-hearted. This film does a decent job at avoiding both of those extremes, even if they definitely were leaning towards doing a lot with the gritty factor.
2 Classic: It’s Like A Series Of Horror Vignettes
While it may be a critique from some people, tons of critics and writers have noted that while the film does have an over-arching plotline running throughout it, it also takes its time to visit people who aren’t directly related to the initial incident that started the curse, only to show how their fates began to be intertwined with it later. It gives the whole movie a really interesting pace, and while it prevents us from identifying with the characters fully, it keeps the scares coming.
1 Reboot: Pushing The Mythology Further
Another thing Nicolas Pesce wanted to do when making this reboot of The Grudge was to make sure that they did something new with the mythology. Pretty much everyone who’s seen a trailer for any of the three preceding films is well-aware of how the curse works and how it’s able to spread. This film brings it to America after a new encounter with Kayako’s house, and from there we see a new string of murders. Not only has the curse moved to a new group of people, it’s also replicated itself here in the States.
NEXT: 10 Scariest Japanese Movies To Never Watch Alone, Ranked