Ju-on: The Grudge

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Ju-on: The Grudge
Theatrical release poster
Japanese 呪怨じゅおん
Hepburn Juon
Directed by Takashi Shimizu
Produced by Taka Ichise[1]
Written by Takashi Shimizu[1]
Music by Shiro Sato[1]
Cinematography Tokusho Kikumura[1]
Edited by Nobuyuki Takahashi[1]
Distributed by Lions Gate Films (US)[1]
Release date
Running time
92 minutes[2]
Country Japan
Language Japanese
Box office $3,004,709[3]

Ju-on: The Grudge is a 2002 Japanese supernatural horror film written and directed by Takashi Shimizu. This film is the third installment in the Ju-on series and the first film to be theatrically released (the first two entries being direct-to-video productions). The film premiered at the Screamfest Film Festival in October 2002 and has spawned several sequels and an American remake titled The Grudge, which was released in 2004. The film was followed by Ju-on: The Grudge 2.


Several years earlier, Takeo Saeki murdered his wife Kayako after discovering she was in love with another man, also murdering the family cat Mar and possibly his son Toshio. The murders created a curse that revived the family as onryō, with Kayako’s ghost murdering Takeo. Whoever enters the house in Nerima, Tokyo, is eventually consumed by the curse and it spreads to the place they die in, consuming anyone in turn who goes there.

The latest owners of the house are the Tokunaga family, consisting of businessman Katsuya, his wife Kazumi, and his ill mother Sachie. Kazumi is quickly consumed by the curse, and Katsuya is emotionally affected by Takeo’s personality before dying too. Katsuya’s sister Hitomi also dies. Social worker Rika is sent by her boss Hirohashi to care for Sachie. She discovers Toshio, and witnesses Sachie being killed by Kayako’s ghost, causing her to faint.

Hirohashi finds Rika and contacts the police. Detectives Nakagawa and Igarashi discover Katsuya and Kazumi’s bodies in the attic, and later learn of Hitomi’s disappearance and the death of a security guard at her workplace. Hirohashi’s body is discovered, and Rika is haunted by the ghosts. Upon researching the history of the house and the Saeki murders, Nakagawa and Igarashi contact a retired detective named Toyama, who is afraid of revisiting the case. Toyama goes to burn the house down but hears a group of teenage girls upstairs. One flees while the others are consumed. Kayako appears, chasing Toyama away but killing Nakagawa and Igarashi.

Several years later, Rika has moved on with her life. Her friend Mariko, an elementary school teacher, pays a visit to Toshio, who is registered as her student but has never shown up for class. Rika races to save her but is too late. Kayako’s ghost comes after her, and Rika witnesses Kayako briefly take on her appearance. She realizes that she is doomed to play out the curse and the same fate as Kayako. Takeo’s ghost then kills her. Toyama also dies at some point, leaving his daughter Izumi behind. As a teenager, Izumi went to the house with her friends but fled while her friends were killed by Kayako; this was the event Toyama witnessed in the past.

Izumi is wrought with guilt for abandoning her friends and becomes increasingly paranoid and unstable. Two of her other friends visit discover Izumi and her dead friends have their eyes blackened out in photos. Izumi encounters a vision of her dead father, then discovers the ghosts of her friends watching her. She is cornered by her dead friends, only for Kayako to appear and drag her into damnation.

In the deserted Tokyo streets, many missing persons posters lying on the ground. Rika’s corpse lies in the house’s attic, only to spring to life with a death rattle.



In 2004, Sony Pictures Entertainment released an American remake of the film. The film was directed by Takashi Shimizu and starred Sarah Michelle Gellar and Jason Behr. The main plot of the film followed Rika's experience within the house but with a different ending. Its sequel, The Grudge 2, however, mirrors a similar ending where Aubrey meets the same fate as Rika.[citation needed]


Ju-on: The Grudge was shown on 18 October 2002 at the Screamfest Horror Film Festival in Los Angeles California under the title The Grudge.[4] The film was also released as part of the Toronto International Film Festival's "Midnight Madness" screening in September 2003.[1] The film received a limited theatrical release in the United States on 23 July 2004.[5]

In the United States, the film grossed a total of $325,680 from 23 July – 9 December 2004.[6] Ju-on: The Grudge was released on DVD by Lions Gate on 9 November 2004. The disc contains an audio commentary with Sam Raimi and Scott Spiegel and interviews with the cast and crew.[7]


A sequel to the film titled Ju-on: The Grudge 2 also directed by Shimizu was released in 2003.[8]


At Metacritic, a website which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 for reviews from mainstream critics, the film has received an average score of 48, based on 22 reviews indicating "mixed or average reviews".[9] The Washington Post gave the film a mixed reviewing, stating that it "isn't particularly scary. No, it's much harder on you than mere fright: It's . . . creepy" and "it lacks any interest in conventional narrative and doesn't bother with hero or heroine, or with any sense of coherency, of any mechanism of solution of its mystery."[10] David Kehr of The New York Times compared the film unfavorably to The Ring (1998), opining that Ju-on: The Grudge "turns into a rote series of killings, with each new sequence introduced by a title with the name of its primary victim. Because there is a new hero to identify with every 10 minutes, the viewer isn't drawn into a sustained suspense, but is merely subjected to a series of more or less foreseeable shocks."[11] Kim Newman gave the film three stars out of five in Empire, noting that "As a film, it is at once too much a part of an overarching story and divided into too many episodes to be all of a piece. However, as a sustained collection of scare moments, it's a winner."[12] Derek Elley compared the film unfavorably to both The Ring and Dark Water, writing that "In the end, “The Grudge” comes down to little more than when and where the ghostly little boy will next appear, and the final explanation is so-what."[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Elley, Derek (28 October 2003). "Review: ‘The Grudge’". Variety. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  2. ^ "JU-ON: THE GRUDGE (15)". Medusa Communications & Marketing. British Board of Film Classification. 14 August 2003. Retrieved 8 September 2013. 
  3. ^ Ju-on: The Grudge at Box Office Mojo Retrieved 8 September 2013
  4. ^ "The Grudge". Screamfest Horror Film Festival. Archived from the original on 20 October 2002. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  5. ^ Cooper, Tracie. "Ju-on: The Grudge". Allmovie. All Media Guide. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  6. ^ "Ju-On: The Grudge (2004)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  7. ^ "Ju-on: The Grudge". Allmovie. All Media Guide. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  8. ^ Weissberg, Jay (24 November 2003). "Review: ‘The Grudge 2’". Variety. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  9. ^ "Ju-on: The Grudge". Metacritic. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  10. ^ Hunter, Stephen (15 October 2004). "'Ju-On': It's Sure To Give You The Creeps". Washington Post. Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  11. ^ Kehr, David (23 July 2004). "Beware the Ghosts in the Closet (and Virtually Everywhere Else)". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  12. ^ Newman, Kim. "Ju-On: The Grudge". Empire. Retrieved 27 September 2014. 

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