Ju-On

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Ju-On
Ju-on logo.png
Franchise logo
Created byTakashi Shimizu
Original workKatasumi and 4444444444 (1998)
Print publications
Novel(s)
  • Ju-On (2001)
  • Ju-On 2 (2001)
  • Ju-On (2003)
  • Ju-On: White Ghost (2009)
  • Ju-On: Black Ghost (2009)
  • Ju-On: The Beginning of the End (2014)
  • Ju-On: The Final Curse (2015)
Comics
  • Ju-On: Video Side
  • Ju-On: Vol. 2
  • The Grudge
Graphic novel(s)The Grudge 1.5
Films and television
Film(s)
Short film(s)
Television seriesJU-ON: Origins (2020)
Games
Video game(s)Ju-On: The Grudge (2009)
Audio
Soundtrack(s)
  • Ju-On: The Grudge
  • Ju-On: The Grudge 2
  • The Grudge
  • The Grudge 2
Miscellaneous
PachinkoCR Ju-On

Ju-On (呪怨, Juon, lit. "Curse of Grudge", also known as The Grudge) is a Japanese-American horror franchise created by Takashi Shimizu. The franchise began in 1998 with the release of the short films Katasumi and 4444444444. Shimizu attended the Film School of Tokyo, where he studied under Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Kurosawa helped Shimizu shepherd the Ju-On projects to fruition.[1]

The Ju-On films generally revolve around a curse created in a house in Nerima, Tokyo, when Takeo Saeki, convinced that his wife Kayako was having an affair with another man, murdered her, their son Toshio and Toshio's pet cat in a jealous fit of rage. According to Ju-On, when a person dies with a deep and powerful rage, a curse is born. The curse gathers in the place where that person has died or where they were frequently at, and repeats itself there. The spirits of the deceased haunt the location, potentially killing anyone who encounters the curse by any means, such as entering a cursed house or being in contact with somebody who was already cursed. The curse's manifestation is mainly death, where the victims' bodies may or may not disappear. The following deaths may create more curses and spread them to other locations.

The franchise consists, to date, of 13 films, including four American-produced films, and one streaming television series, alongside various additional media and merchandise products.[2]

History[edit]

Shimizu stated in an interview that the inspiration for Ju-On came from his own personal fears as a child, and from a Japanese dance group that would paint their nude bodies white and perform. Shimizu found the performance frightening and decided to "paint [his] ghosts white". He also mentioned that the rise in the number of domestic abuse cases emerging in Japan during production of his previous films gave him ideas about the origins of the story.[3]

The title of the Japanese films translates roughly to "Curse of Grudge", or more abstractly, a curse created due to an individual bearing a grudge against someone or something. The first two films in the series were so-called V-Cinema, or direct-to-video releases, but became surprise hits as the result of favorable word of mouth. Both films were shot in nine days and feature a story that is a variation on the classic haunted house theme, as well as a popular Japanese horror trope, the "vengeful ghost" (onryō). The titular curse, ju-on, is one which takes on a life of its own and seeks new victims. Anyone who encounters a ghost killed by the curse is killed themselves and the curse is able to be spread to other areas.

Under very tight budgetary constraints, Shimizu's films garnered much acclaim from both critics and genre fans for their effective use of limited locations and eerie atmosphere to generate chills. Shimizu was at the same time perfectly willing to show his ghosts onscreen, in contrast to some directors who might choose only to hint at their appearance. But critics noted that Shimizu's minimalist approach to directing and storytelling—a necessary by-product of the production's limited overall resources—allows the films to retain their ability to unnerve viewers. Very few scenes in the movies are graphically bloody, making such scenes more disturbing when they occur.[3]

Following the success of the two direct-to-video films, and the international success of Hideo Nakata's Ring (1998), Kurosawa and Ring screenwriter Hiroshi Takahashi helped Shimizu develop a theatrical Ju-On sequel starring Megumi Okina and Takako Fuji. The film, titled Ju-On: The Grudge, was released on October 18, 2002 to critical acclaim, and was followed by a sequel, Ju-On: The Grudge 2, that was released on August 23, 2003.

The rights to an American film remake of The Grudge were eventually acquired, with Shimizu himself attached to direct and Sarah Michelle Gellar starring.[4] The film was released in 2004 to mixed reviews. The film's box office success would lead it to spawn its own series of American-produced films, including 2006's The Grudge 2 and 2009's The Grudge 3.[5] Both films follow a unique storyline, albeit The Grudge 2 still drawing inspiration from several Japanese films.[6]

In celebration of the tenth anniversary of the franchise, two new sequels, Ju-On: White Ghost and Ju-On: Black Ghost were screen simultaneously in Japanese theaters in 2009. The stories of two films deviate from that of the cursed Saeki family, focusing on two unrelated, but also, ill-fated families.

For the fifteenth anniversary of the Ju-On franchise, a reboot was released in 2014, titled Ju-On: The Beginning of the End. Drawing inspiration from The Grudge 2, The Beginning of the End features a new backstory regarding the curse, while still featuring the Saeki family as an integral part of the plot.[7] The film was followed by a 2015 sequel, Ju-On: The Final Curse, which was promoted as the final film in the series.[8] Both films had no significant input from series creator Shimizu.

A crossover with the Ring franchise, Sadako vs. Kayako, was released on June 18, 2016.

A reboot of the American film series was announced in 2014 and was later released on January 3, 2020 to generally negative reviews.[9]

In September 2019, the Grudge reboot director, Nicolas Pesce, expressed interest in a crossover between the American Grudge and Ring film series, just as was done with 2016's Sadako vs. Kayako.[10] Prior to his film's release, Pesce expressed further interest in a sequel being set in both a different part of the world than America or Japan, and in a different "less contemporary" time period compared to previous films.[11]

In May 2020, a TV series adaptation, titled JU-ON: Origins, was announced and subsequently released exclusively on Netflix worldwide on July 3.[12]

Films[edit]

Ju-On
Original series in light green
Remake series in blue
Reboot in yellow
Crossover in orange
1998Katasumi and 4444444444
1999
2000Ju-On: The Curse
Ju-On: The Curse 2
2001
2002Ju-On: The Grudge
2003Ju-On: The Grudge 2
2004The Grudge
2005
2006The Grudge 2
2007
2008
2009The Grudge 3
Ju-On: Black Ghost/Ju-On: White Ghost
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014Ju-On: The Beginning of the End
2015Ju-On: The Final Curse
2016Sadako vs. Kayako
2017
2018
2019
2020The Grudge

Japanese films[edit]

Timeline 1: Original films[edit]

Timeline 2: Reboot series[edit]

Timeline 3: Crossover[edit]

American films[edit]

The Grudge Trilogy

Sidequel

Box office performance[edit]

Japanese films[edit]

Film Release date Box office gross
Japan United States and Canada Other territories
Ju-on: The Grudge 18 October 2002 ¥500,000,000[15] $325,680[16] $9,306,043[a]
Ju-on: The Grudge 2 23 August 2003 ¥1,100,000,000[21] $511,350[22] $4,375,425[b]
Ju-On: The Beginning of the End 28 June 2014 ¥570,000,000[24] N/A $4,082,954[25]
Ju-On: The Final Curse 20 June 2015 ¥419,000,000[26] N/A $1,724,642[c]
Sadako vs. Kayako 18 June 2016 ¥1,000,000,000[29] N/A $884,250[d]
Regional total ¥3,170,000,000 ($38,475,815) $837,031 $20,373,314
Worldwide total $59,686,275

American films[edit]

TV series[edit]

JU-ON: Origins - is a streaming television series.[31] The series premiered on Netflix on July 3, 2020 and there are a total of 6 episodes.[32]

Literature[edit]

Several Ju-On print publications were published by Kadokawa in Japan, and Dark Horse Comics in North America between 2003 and 2015. Every single Ju-On film has received a novel adaptation, except for The Grudge 3.

Novels[edit]

In 2003, novelizations of stories from the series were written by Kei Ohishi. The first novel, Ju-on, elaborates on events and characters from Ju-On: The Curse, The Curse 2 and Ju-On: The Grudge. A novel titled Ju-On 2 was released the same year, which elaborates on the events from Ju-On: The Grudge 2.[33] Novelizations of Ju-On: White Ghost and Black Ghost were published in 2009. Ju-On 2, White Ghost and Black Ghost did not receive English translations. In 2014, a novelization of The Beginning of the End was released and a novelization of The Final Curse was released in 2015.

Official Japanese-language novelizations of the American films were also written by Kei Ohishi,[34] the first being a novelization of The Grudge (released in Japan as The Juon), which was published in 2005 and generally follows the premise of the film faithfully. A novelization of its sequel, The Grudge 2 (released in Japan as Ju-On: Pandemic), was published later on in 2007. The novels were all published by Kadokawa Shoten and only the 2003 novel received an English translation.

Video game[edit]

In honor of the series' 10th anniversary, a game, titled Ju-On: The Grudge – Haunted House Simulator was developed for the Wii. The game was released in Japan in 2009 by AQ Interactive under the title Kyoufu Taikan: Ju-On (Fear Experience: Ju-On), and in Europe under the title Ju-On: A Fright Simulator. Upon release, the game was critically panned.

The video game was confirmed on May 22, 2009. Shortly afterwards, a demo of the game was unveiled at E3 2009, where Xseed Games described it as a "haunted house simulator," rather than a traditional survival horror game. The game does not feature any combat, as its format relies on subtle exploration and scare tactics. Joystiq reviewers who were present for the demo's screening at the E3 justified this, observing that, "In most horror games, a skilled player can actually defeat the creatures (with notable exceptions like Silent Hill 2's Pyramid Head ...), making the game more of a power fantasy than a true fright. In both of these games [Silent Hill 2 and Ju-On: The Grudge], you can escape the creatures at best."[35]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Ju-on (2002) overseas box office:
    • South Korea – 1,016,928 admissions in 2003[17] – ₩7,118,496,000[18] ($5,973,847)[19]
    • Other territories – $3,332,196[20]
  2. ^ Ju-on 2 (2002) overseas box office:
    • South Korea – 440,000 admissions in 2003[23] – ₩3.08 billion[18] ($2,584,738)[19]
    • Other territories – $1,790,687[22]
  3. ^ The Final Curse (2002) overseas box office:
    • South Korea – ₩462,659,400[27] ($409,014)
    • Other territories – $1,315,628[28]
  4. ^ Sadako vs. Kayako (2016) overseas box office:
    • South Korea – ₩202,716,000[23] ($173,952)
    • Other territories – $704,922[30]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Takashi Shimizu's Ju-on
  2. ^ Ju-on (呪怨) series
  3. ^ a b "Ju-On: The Interview". NeoMag. 2013. Archived from the original on November 9, 2013. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  4. ^ "The Grudge – An Interview with Sam Rami and Rob Tappert". Dvdtalk.com. Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  5. ^ Box Office Mojo (October 20, 2006). "Grudge opens on 3,348 theatres". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 20, 2006.
  6. ^ "Takashi Shimizu Interview on Grudge 2 and the Ju-On Movies". Movies.about.com. Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  7. ^ "Takashi Shimizu Interview". Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  8. ^ 呪怨 -ザ・ファイナル- "We have decided to produce the latest work of "Kurinen" series. The title is "Curricity -The Final-"! That's right, the world-famous Curse series that started in 1999, finally the final chapter! ! Released on June 20th, starring Airi Taira. Please stay tuned!"
  9. ^ "Horror Hit 'The Grudge' Going Reboot Route". deadline.com. March 20, 2014. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
  10. ^ "New Film 'The Grudge' Takes Place at Same Time as the 2004 Version [Exclusive]". September 20, 2019.
  11. ^ "Further 'The Grudge' Sequels Could Explore Other Time Periods [Exclusive]". December 31, 2019.
  12. ^ "Netflix's JU-ON: Origins Live-Action Horror Series Debuts Worldwide on July 3". Anime News Network. May 11, 2020. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  13. ^ "Film Review: JUON director interview". Archived from the original on September 1, 2005. Retrieved January 5, 2006.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". www.countingdown.com. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved January 12, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "2003年度 日本映画・外国映画 業界総決算 経営/製作/配給/興行のすべて". Kinema Junpo. Kinema Junposha (2004年(平成16年)2月下旬号): 160. 2004.
  16. ^ Ju-on: The Grudge at Box Office Mojo Retrieved 8 September 2013
  17. ^ "영화정보". KOFIC. Korean Film Council. Retrieved February 1, 2019. The Grudge
  18. ^ a b "Screen Industry Snapshot Korea". Austrade. Government of Australia. September 26, 2017. p. 49. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  19. ^ a b "Official exchange rate (LCU per US$, period average)". World Bank. 2003. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  20. ^ "Ju-On: The Grudge (2004) - International Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  21. ^ "2003年(平成15年)興収10億円以上番組" (PDF). Eiren. Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  22. ^ a b "Ju-on: The Grudge 2". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  23. ^ a b "영화정보". KOFIC. Korean Film Council. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  24. ^ "2015年3月下旬 映画業界決算特別号". Kinema Junpo: 102. 2015.
  25. ^ "Ju-on: Owari no hajimari". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  26. ^ "2016年3月下旬 映画業界決算特別号". Kinema Junpo: 84. 2016.
  27. ^ "영화정보". KOFIC. Korean Film Council. Retrieved February 1, 2019. Juon The Final
  28. ^ "Ju-on: The Final Curse". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  29. ^ "2016". Eiren. Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  30. ^ "Sadako vs. Kayako". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  31. ^ "Everything We Know About Ju-On: Origins". Screen Rant. June 1, 2020. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  32. ^ "Ju-On: Origins - Official Trailer - Netflix". YouTube (in Japanese). May 11, 2020. Archived from the original on December 12, 2021. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  33. ^ 呪怨<2>
  34. ^ THE GRUDGE novel
  35. ^ Fletcher, JC (June 7, 2009). "Impressions: Ju-on: The Grudge (Wii)". Joystiq. Retrieved June 17, 2009.

External links[edit]