Horrorfest 2020 Presents: Ju-On: The Grudge (2002, Takashi Shimizu)


What we learn in the really good, almost great Japanese horror movie Ju-On is that the legacy of violence never ends. It just leads to more violence. Unlike the other J-Horror films that offer a possible solution to what is happening, Ju-On does not have that level of optimism or hope. Nope, the cycle just keeps on going, which is depressing yet more realistic. Man is a violent creature, and his actions lead to tragedy and horror on multiple scales. In this case, it results in a cursed house.

This is bad news for the family that has moved in there, the police investigating, and others who are friends or relations. I found this movie to be frightening and very realistic in terms of quietly showing it’s many horrors. Particularly during a scene where a TV set is one of the most dangerous things in a small room occupied by one person. Oh and creepy kids show up again because well, they are creepy and effective.

I don’t like comparing this one to Ring, as the two films are quiet different and I actually found Ju-On to be more scary. There is an excellent hallway scene that is beyond terrifying, and I love how this movie ends. I will say that Ring flows better narrative wise, yet the two are both satisfying and must sees for any horror movie. Besides I think Pulse (Kairo) is better than either one, anyways.

Horrorfest 2020 Presents: Ringu (Ring 1998, Hideo Nakata)


What I have learned from horror movies is that when the TV turns on by itself, that’s bad. Such was the case in Poltergeist, yet also it happens in the incredibly unsettling Japanese horror classic Ringu, or Ring, which helped jumpstart so called J-Horror in Japan. This also started the trend of really creepy girls being a part of horror movies, although I’m sure that probably showed up somewhere before.

Nanako Matsushima is fantastic as the movie’s protagonist, Reiko, who is forced to investigate the tape and unfortunately watches it. Teaming up with her ex husband, she desperately tries to solve the mystery of the really eerie and weird videotape. I like how most of it still remains a mystery, and how the viewer is pulled into the frantic search to discover a way to break the curse.

Plus there is a scene that is famous for being pure nightmare fuel, and was made famous also by the American remake, which I might see even though I’m not expecting it to be as good as the Japanese original. Even the original spawned sequels and a prequel, which just goes to show that horror franchises are universal. That and the mirror part is also creepy-I loved how the movie has so many creepy small moments that build up into one freaky entity.

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