Gellar,Sarah Michelle ~ Grudge
It's not the scary hit that The Ring was in 2002, but The Grudge makes a similarly convincing case for American remakes of popular Japanese horror films. Barely a year passed between the release of Takashi Shimizu's creepy ghost story Ju-On: The Grudge and the production of this American remake, set in Tokyo and starring Sarah Michelle Gellar in her first post-Buffy horror film. About the only significant difference between the two films is the importing of a mostly-American cast (including Bill Pullman, Clea DuVall and Grace Zabriskie), but The Grudge was reconfigured (by screenwriter Stephen Susco) to allow Shimizu to refine and improve the spookiest highlights of his earlier version, which enjoyed previous incarnations as a short film and two made-for-Japanese-video features. Surprising box-office analysts with a $40 million opening weekend, The Grudge may disappoint hard-core horror fans because it lacks gore and graphic violence, but as a creepy tale about a very haunted house, it's guaranteed to send a few chills up your spine. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.
A remake of the Japanese horror hit Ju-on (widely considered to be one of the scariest movies ever made), The Grudge is helmed by its original director Takeshi Shimizu. Like its predecessor, this Hollywood version of the film takes place in Tokyo, but most of the main characters are American, including Karen (Sarah Michelle Gellar of Buffy the Vampire Slayer), a young social worker, and her peers. When Karen enters a seemingly abandoned home to look after a mentally disturbed resident, she soon discovers that there's an evil - and very aggressive - presence in the house, and it's lashing out at every person that sets foot inside. Having directed both the original Ju-on and its sequel in Japan, Shimizu was very familiar with his own tale of terror by the time he directed its 2004 incarnation. Using many of the key actors from the previous films (including Takako Fuji and Yuya Ozeki who have unforgettable roles), Shimizu recreates the story with the added advantage of a Hollywood budget (acquired with the help of producer Sam Raimi of Spider-Man fame, who is also a noted horror-movie director). As with many Japanese horror films (particularly the original Ring, which strongly influences this movie), The Grudge relies on atmosphere over plot, resulting a series of utterly chilling moments that will leave viewers fascinated and unbelievably frightened. --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.