The Grudge (film series)

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The Grudge
The Grudge series logo.png
Series logo
Created byTakashi Shimizu
Stephen Susco
Sam Raimi
Print publications
  • The Grudge
  • The Grudge 2
ComicsThe Grudge
Graphic novel(s)The Grudge 1.5
Films and television
Short film(s)Tales from the Grudge (2006)*
  • The Grudge
  • The Grudge 2
* Series of three short films.

The Grudge is an American horror film series released by Sony Pictures, based on, and a part of the larger Japanese Ju-On franchise. The first installment is a remake of Ju-On: The Grudge and follows a similar storyline to the Japanese film.[1] The sequel, The Grudge 2, is not a remake and follows a unique storyline, albeit still borrowing some plot elements from several Japanese predecessors.[2] The final sequel, The Grudge 3, picks up shortly after the events of the second film.

The series focuses on those affected by a curse created in a house in Suginami by a deceased family's rage that destroys the lives of everyone who comes in contact with it. Known as "the ju-on", this curse causes its victims to become fatally afflicted with it, which in turn leads to a new curse being born and passed like a virus to all those who enter the family residence or come into contact with the curse in any way.

On March 20, 2014, it was announced that a reboot was in the works, to be released in 2020.[3]. Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert served as producers for the first two installments and the reboot, through their Ghost House Pictures production company, with Takashige Ichise also serving as a producer on all four films.


Film Director Writer(s) Producer(s)
The Grudge (2004) Takashi Shimizu Stephen Susco Sam Raimi
Robert Tapert
Takashige Ichise
The Grudge 2 (2006)
The Grudge 3 (2009) Toby Wilkins Brad Keene Andrew Pfeffer
Takashige Ichise
Grudge (2020) Nicolas Pesce Jeff Buhler
Nicolas Pesce
Sam Raimi
Robert Tapert
Takashige Ichise

The Grudge (2004)[edit]

The series began with The Grudge, premiering on October 22, 2004. The story follows Karen (Sarah Michelle Gellar), an exchange student studying social work, living with her boyfriend Doug (Jason Behr) in Japan, who innocently agrees to cover for Yoko (Yōko Maki), a nurse who didn't show up for work. When she enters the assigned home, she discovers an elderly American woman, Emma (Grace Zabriskie), who is lost in a catatonic state while the rest of the house appears deserted and disheveled. As she is tending to the stricken old woman, Karen hears scratching sounds from upstairs. When she investigates, she is faced with a supernatural occurrences and encounters spirits of the deceased Saeki family members. Within this house, a chain of terror has been set in motion resulting from tragic murders that occurred years before. As more people die, Karen is pulled into the cycle of horror and learns the secret of the vengeful curse that has taken root in this house while simultaneously trying to keep her boyfriend from getting involved.

The film was a major box office success, grossing over $180 million at the box office, far exceeding the expectations of box office analysts and Sony Pictures executives.[4]

The Grudge 2 (2006)[edit]

The second installment was released on October 13, 2006 and is set within two years after the first film and between two countries. It follows Aubrey Davis (Amber Tamblyn), Karen's younger sister who, after receiving a phone call from her mother (Joanna Cassidy) regarding Karen's confinement in a mental hospital after the events of the previous film, travels to Tokyo, Japan to meet her. When she witnesses Karen dying horrifically, she sets out to find the source of the curse along with a journalist named Eason (Edison Chen).

An American teenager studying in a Japanese International School named Allison Fleming (Arielle Kebbel) also has to deal with a terrifying supernatural event inflicted by a prank by her classmates. Meanwhile, in Chicago, Jake Kimble (Matthew Knight) is also caught up in the curse that seems to have spread to his apartment after Allison Fleming moves back there with her family.

Like its predecessor, the film was a box office success, earning $70 million worldwide.

The Grudge 3 (2009)[edit]

In Chicago, Jake Kimble, the sole survivor of The Grudge 2, is interned in a mental institution and his therapist Dr. Sullivan (Shawnee Smith) does not believe that he is haunted by the malevolent ghosts of Kayako and Toshio. When Jake is killed in his cell with nearly all his bones broken, Dr. Sullivan decides to investigate further with an open mind. Meanwhile, Lisa (Johanna Braddy), the sister of the building's superintendent, Max (Gil McKinney), steals the key of apartment 305 to have sex with her boyfriend Andy (Beau Mirchoff). When she realizes that the apartment is a crime scene, she immediately returns to her apartment, where she resides with Max and their ill sister Rose (Jadie Rose Hobson). In the meantime, Naoko Kawamata (Emi Ikehata) travels from Tokyo to Chicago to stop the curse of her sister Kayako. She meets Lisa and tells her that she needs hers and Rose's help to stop the fiend of her sister, but Lisa refuses to participate. When Max is possessed by the evil spirit of Takeo, Lisa decides to reconsider Naoko's offer.

Unlike the first two films, The Grudge 3 did not receive a worldwide theatrical release. Instead, the film was released on straight-to-video.

Grudge (2020)[edit]

A sequel was announced in August 2011, with a release set for 2013/14.[5] The film was speculated to be a reboot of the series, rather than a direct sequel. It is also expected to introduce a new storyline, not that of the Saeki Family curse that covered the prior films.[5]

On March 20, 2014, it was officially announced that a reboot of the franchise was in the works, with Jeff Buhler set to write the screenplay.[3] Buhler had stated in an interview that the upcoming reboot will not serve as a remake of the original film, and is expected to introduce "New characters, new ghost, and a new mythology”. It was also reported that the character of Kayako Saeki, who had been a central character of the previous three installments, will be absent from the reboot.[6]

On July 6th, 2017, it was announced that Nicolas Pesce was set to rewrite, based on Buhler's script, and direct the reboot.[7] It is unknown if the reboot will retain the characters of Kayako and Toshio. Pesce has stated that the film will be: "[much] darker, grittier, and more realistic."[8]

On March 15, 2018, it was announced that Andrea Riseborough and Demian Bichir had joined the cast, and that filming was set to start in May 2018. On March 16, 2018, it was announced that John Cho had joined the cast. [9] On March 21, 2018, Lin Shaye was added to the cast. [10]

The film is scheduled to be released in the United States on January 3, 2020 by Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Main characters[edit]

Karen Davis[edit]

Karen Davis (portrayed by Sarah Michelle Gellar) is the main protagonist of The Grudge. Karen originally traveled to Tokyo, Japan with her boyfriend Doug as a foreign exchange student. During her studies in Tokyo, Karen decides to volunteer as a house maid for a social worker program. She soon finds out about the Saeki curse, and tries to stop it before she and Doug are claimed by it. While trying to keep her boyfriend Doug from falling to the curse she burns the house down, unintentionally releasing the curse instead. In The Grudge 2, Karen is placed in a Japanese hospital. She is strapped to a bed and constantly guarded by the police. She is still haunted by Kayako, causing her to panic and free herself. She successfully evades the police while being chased by the ghost. When she reaches the roof of the hospital, she backs away to the edge of the roof and Kayako either pushes her off or she commits suicide (the latter is more likely due to Karen not screaming while falling to her death).

Gellar received praise for her performance in the first film.[11] Where many critics referenced her performances as the reason for the film's success.[12] Upon her appearance in The Grudge 2, she received mixed reviews due to the character's surprise death upsetting many fans since Scream 2 (1997).[13]

Aubrey Davis[edit]

Aubrey Davis (portrayed by Amber Tamblyn) is Karen's younger sister and the protagonist of The Grudge 2. She lives in Pasadena, California and is one day called to her mother's house. Mrs. Davis tells Aubrey what has happened to Karen and Doug before announcing to her that Aubrey will be flying to Tokyo to bring Karen back. Instead, she feels compelled to investigate Karen's death (after Karen jumps off a building, or gets "dragged off" by Kayako). Aubrey tries to stop the curse and, during her visit to the Saeki House, she mysteriously gets warped through time to the night of the first murders. There, she is violently killed by Takeo Saeki in exactly the same manner as his wife, Kayako, was.

She turned into an Onryō due to dying in extreme sorrow and pain. From that point on, she replaces Kayako until Allison comes face to face with her. Whether she still resides in the house as Kayako's replacement is unknown.

Lisa Morrison[edit]

Lisa Morrison (portrayed by Johanna Braddy) is the main character of The Grudge 3. She is a resident of the building and appeared to be living in the apartment for some time, knowing most of the residents such as Jake and Allison Fleming (albeit rarely meeting the latter). At the time of the events of The Grudge 3, she had been intending to leave Chicago for New York with her boyfriend to work as a fashion model so she can win the scholarship money to pay for her sister's Rose's medical bills. She becomes rather uncomfortable with the fact that Rose is saying that a new boy had moved into the building despite not hearing about it before. She later finds out the 'new boy' is in fact Toshio Saeki after running into him at the same floor Jake's apartment is. After Kayako's younger sister Naoko moves into the building and tries to convince Lisa and her sister to participate in an exorcism to rid the building of the evil spirits, Lisa refuses to participate but soon after finding out her brother had been possessed she changes her mind. After her brother kills Naoko during the exorcism, Lisa gets cornered by Kayako. To save her sisters life, Rose finishes the exorcism ritual herself by drinking Kayako's blood and causes Kayako to disappear. Shortly afterwards, her brother is killed by Naoko's spirit.

Lisa is one of the two survivors from the apartment massacre though she does not know that Rose's body now houses Kayako's spirit. It is unknown what happens to Lisa and Rose after this, and if the spirit of the deceased Naoko comes for them.

Cast and characters[edit]

  • A Y indicates the actor portrayed the role of a younger version of the character.
  • An O indicates a role as an older version of the character.
  • A V indicates the actor or actress lent only his or her voice for his or her film character.
  • An A indicates an appearance through archival footage or stills.
  • A dark gray cell indicates the character was not in the film.
Characters Films Animated Short series
The Grudge The Grudge 2 The Grudge 3 The Grudge 1.5 Tales from the Grudge
2004 2006 2009 2006 2006
Kayako Saeki
(née Kawamata)
Takako Fuji Takako Fuji
Kyoka TakizawaY
Aiko Horiuchi
Takako FujiA
Kyoka TakizawaYA
Silent Anna Moon
Toshio Saeki Yuya Ozeki Yuya OzekiA Silent  
Ohga Tanaka Shimba Tsuchiya
Takeo Saeki Takashi Matsuyama Takashi MatsuyamaA  
Karen Davis Sarah Michelle Gellar Sarah Michelle GellarA  
Detective Nakagawa Ryo Ishibashi Ryo IshibashiA  
Doug Jason Behr Jason BehrA  
Jake Kimble   Matthew Knight  
Nakagawa Kawamata   Kim Miyori Kim MiyoriA  
Eason   Edison Chen   Edison ChenV  
Aubrey Davis   Amber Tamblyn  
Allison Fleming   Arielle Kebbel  
Lisa Morrison   Johanna Braddy  
Max Morrison   Gil McKinney  
Rose Morrison   Jadie Rose Hobson  
Maria Kirk Rosa Blasi  
Igarashi Hiroshi Matsunaga  
Suzuki Hajime Okayama  
Mr. Fleming   Paul Jarret  
Mrs. Fleming   Gwen Lorenzetti  
Mrs. Davis   Joanna Cassidy  
Michael   Shaun Sipos  
Folkfore Guy
  Zen Kajihara  
Matthew Williams William Mapother  
Jennifer Williams Clea DuVall  
Emma Williams Grace Zabriskie  
Alex Ted Raimi  
Peter Kirk Bill Pullman  
Susan Williams KaDee Strickland  
Yoko Yōko Maki  
Vanessa Cassidy   Teresa Palmer  
Miyuki Nazawa   Misako Uno  
Lacey Kimble   Sarah Roemer  
Bill Kimble   Christopher Cousins  
Ms. Dale   Eve Gordon  
Trish Kimble   Jennifer Beals  
Sally   Jenna Dewan  
Dr. Francine Sullivan   Shawnee Smith  
Andy   Beau Mirchoff  
Gretchen   Marina Sirtis  
Naoko Kawamata   Emi Ikehata  
Mr. Praski   Michael McCoy  
Daisuke   Takatsuma Mukai  
Renee   Laura Giosh  
Brenda   Mihaela Nankova  
Abby   Stefanie Butler
Ross   Daniel Sykes
Brooke   Ginny Weirick
Josh   Alexander Morse
Woman on Bench   Jenna Morganelli


Crew/detail Films
The Grudge The Grudge 2 The Grudge 3 Grudge
2004 2006 2009 2020
Director Takashi Shimizu Toby Wilkins Nicolas Pesce
Producer Sam Raimi
Robert Tapert
Takashige Ichise
Andrew Pfeiffer
Takashige Ichise
Sam Raimi
Robert Tapert
Takashige Ichise
Writer(s) Screenplay by
Stephen Susco
Based on
Ju-on: The Grudge
by Takashi Shimizu
Stephen Susco Brad Keene Screenplay by
Jeff Buhler
Nicolas Pesce
Story by
Jeff Buhler
Composer Christopher Young Sean Mchahon
Cinematography Hideo Yamamoto Katsumi Yanagishima Anton Bakarski
Editor Jeff Betancourt John Quinn
Production Company Ghost House Pictures Ghost House Pictures
Stage 6 Films
Ghost House Pictures
Good Universe
Distributor Columbia Pictures Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Sony Pictures Entertainment
Release date October 22, 2004 October 13, 2006 May 12, 2009 January 3, 2020
Running time 92 minutes 102 minutes 90 minutes


Box office[edit]

The Grudge was a box office success. The film opened in North America on October 22, 2004, and generated $39.1 million in ticket sales in its first weekend of release.[14] During the film's second week, it declined 43% with $21.8 million, becoming the first horror film to top the Halloween box office since House on Haunted Hill (1999).[15] It made a total of US$110,359,362 in North America alone and $187,281,115 worldwide, far exceeding the expectations of box office analysts and Sony Pictures executives, who anticipated just $20 million.[16][17] The company stated that the film cost less than $10 million to produce, thereby making it one of the most profitable films of the year.[17][18]

A sequel was announced the Monday after The Grudge opened in North America.[19] Later titled, The Grudge 2, the film opened on October 13, 2006 in North America, to capitalize on Friday the 13th.[20] The marketing worked, and the filmed grossed $10 million on its opening day.[21] The Grudge 2 topped the North American box office with $20.8 million overall, during its opening weekend.[22] This was well below what most analysts had expected,[23][24][25] and more than 44% less than the opening of the previous film.[20] However, despite failing to reach expectations, it was enough to cover its $20 million production budget.[26] In total, the film had grossed $39 million in North America, the equivalent to what the first film opened with.[27][28] Worldwide the film grossed $70,711,175.[29]

Box office performance[edit]

Film Release date Box office gross Budget Reference
North America Other
The Grudge October 22, 2004 $110,359,362 $76,921,753 $187,281,115 $10 million [30]
The Grudge 2 October 13, 2006 $39,143,839 $31,567,336 $70,711,175 $20 million [31]
Total $149,503,201 $108,489,089 $257,990,290 $30 million

Critical and public response[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
The Grudge 39% (159 reviews)[32] 49 (32 reviews)[33]
The Grudge 2 12% (76 reviews)[34] 33 (16 reviews)[35]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Grudge - An Interview with Sam Rami and Rob Tappert". Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  2. ^ "Takashi Shimizu Interview on Grudge 2 and the Ju-On Movies". Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Horror Hit 'The Grudge' Going Reboot Route". March 20, 2014. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
  4. ^ "Around the World Round Up: Will Smith Woos Germany with 'Hitch'". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  5. ^ a b "The Grudge 4 on the way | GamesRadar". August 29, 2011. Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  6. ^ "Writer Jeff Buhler Talks 'The Grudge'". April 10, 2014. Retrieved April 10, 2014.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ "The Grudge (2004)". I Like Horror Movies. December 28, 2011. Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  12. ^ "The Grudge Movie Review & Film Summary (2004)". Chicago Sun-Times. October 21, 2004.
  13. ^ "The Grudge 2 Movie CLIP - Chased in the Hospital". YouTube. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  14. ^ Rich, Joshua; Schwartz, Missy (November 5, 2004). "'Grudge' Report". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  15. ^ "'Ray,' 'Saw' See Robust Bows". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  16. ^ "'Grudge' Grabs No. 1". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  17. ^ a b "'Grudge' Hits $40 Million So Fast It's Scary". Los Angeles Times. October 25, 2004. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  18. ^ "'Passion of the Christ,' 'Fahrenheit 9/11' Tops in 2004". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  19. ^ "Sony rushing Grudge sequel into production?". Movie Hole. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  20. ^ a b Friedman, Josh (October 16, 2006). "`Grudge 2' Takes Hold of No. 1 at Box Office". LA Times. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  21. ^ "`Grudge 2' Daily Box Office - October 2006". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  22. ^ "'Grudge' Budges in Popularity". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  23. ^ "Grudge Hopes to Take it Out on the Competition". The Numbers. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  24. ^ "'Saw' Sharp in Third Outing". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  25. ^ "Prestige Powers to Number One as Flags Falter". The Numbers. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  26. ^ "Saturday the 14th Turns Out to be the Really Unlucky Day for The Grudge". The Numbers. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  27. ^ "The Grudge 2 (2006) - Weekend 2006". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  28. ^ "DVD Releases for February 6, 2007". The Numbers. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  29. ^ "The Grudge 2 (2006)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  30. ^ "The Grudge (2004)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  31. ^ "The Grudge 2". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  32. ^ "The Grudge (2004)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  33. ^ "The Grudge (2004) reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  34. ^ "The Grudge 2 (2006)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  35. ^ "The Grudge 2 reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved April 14, 2018.