The Grudge, Whack-a-Mole Contortionism

The Grudge

I remember a time when The Grudge was considered the latest and greatest horror movie. Looking back on it now, Sarah Michelle Gellar seemed a bit out of place in the American remake of the Japanese horror flick Ju-on. That could just be because I don’t care for her, but alas; this review’s more about the film than the cast. I’m sure most of you probably already know the story, but for the sake of formality, tallyho.

The origin of the curse is the most important aspect, as you’ll often see it reflected in the curse-killings. Kayako Saeki was locked in a loveless marriage with Takeo, and found herself growing obsessed with Peter Kirk, and American college professor working in Japan. One day, Kayako comes home to find Takeo reading her Peter-crazy (tee hee) diary. He doesn’t seem very happy. One snapped spine, one drowned Toshio Saeki (their son), and one slit cat’s throat later, Takeo hangs himself. Thus, the curse is born from Kayako’s rage. Toshio can come too.

The GrudgeFun fact: The Grudge uses noise triggers to tap into your fear centers. The guttural inhaling sound Kayako makes and the high pitched meowing sound Toshio makes show up in moments of great tension. Thus, the sounds become scary. You may get goosebumps the first or second time you hear them. Maybe. The more you know!

The Grudge has a lot of throwaway protagonists, which is rather unfortunate, because if you don’t wind up liking any of the main characters in a horror flick, you can’t feel bad for them when they die or go insane. Kayako chews through a whole bunch of throwaways before going after the main main character, letting her go, then performing one final scare just before the credits. Honestly, you watch this one for Kayako’s creepy shenanigans, not the plot or characters.

Because of how absolutely BORING all the characters are, I’m not going to describe them. They just die anyway. Instead, I’ll talk about the aforementioned Kayako monkeyshines! Hooray! Warning: May contain gurgling noises, kitty screams, black hair, and being pulled into nowhere.

I suppose it would ruin your entire experience if I called Kayako a whack-a-mole contortionist. She pops out when you least expect her, and sometimes she goes up and down stairs doing THE most uncomfortable inverse crabwalk you’ve ever seen. It’s almost adorable. I can’t say a lot for Toshio, aside from that he’s got a good creepy stare. And that he meows.
The GrudgeHijinks! Right-o. These are the main focus of the movie, and they aren’t too shabby. You never see Kayako or the mighty morphing Cat Ranger physically kill anyone, but they like to appear in beds and doorways and grandfather clocks. Sometimes they put their victims into a catatonic state and steal the life from them. Sometimes they pull their panicked prey into nowhere. Imagine that! You’re sleeping in a bed, when suddenly you notice a swell near the end of your mattress. What could it be? You lift up your sheets to find Kayako’s pale and bloody face nestled on your sternum, and she suddenly tugs your ankles and pulls you into nowhere.

Should you laugh? Be afraid? I have no idea, and because of that, I LIKE The Grudge. It has earned the Softcore Horror Seal of Approval.

Bill Beyrer of CinemaBlend hates The Grudge with a passion. HATES it! Says the cast should have been a bunch of unknowns, and that the DVD case is scarier than the movie itself. It’s true, eventually you get used to having Kayako’s dead face shoved in your face. Eventually, you just want to lean your head forward a little, give her a peck on the forehead, and say, “Okay, you can stop now.” Read up here: