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PCR # 239  (Vol. 5, No. 43)  This edition is for the week of October 18--24, 2004.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"The Grudge"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Three stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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Columbia Pictures     
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jason Behr, Takako Fuji and Bill Pullman
Directed by: Takashi Shimizu
Rated: PG 13
Running Time: 1 hour 35 mins

Last year moviegoers were introduced to "The Ring," a remake of a very scary and popular Japanese film, "Ringu." Taking a page from that successful venture, Columbia Pictures and "Evil Dead" and "Spider-Man" big-shot Sam Rami have updated another classic Japanese horror film, "Ju-on," translated simply to "The Grudge."

The film begins with what looks like a peaceful morning in Tokyo. Shockingly, we witness what appears to be a suicide. At a local care giving facility, a young woman is dispatched to check in on a shut in. While in the house, she hears noises and follows them upstairs. Not very smart! When she can't be located, her friend, Karen (Gellar) is sent in her place. Upon her arrival, she begins to get an eerie feeling and finds herself surrounded by horrific images and sounds, most of them seemingly coming from a young boy. Investigating further, Karen finds herself trapped in a story about unrequited love and the revenge taken against it.

While not as intense as "The Ring," "The Grudge" more then lives up to the hype surrounding it. The story is built around a Japanese saying that says anyone who dies in a rage will be forced to deal with it in the afterlife. Director Shimizu both wrote and directed the original and his knowledge of the subject serve him well. His camera angles and shot selection help build your suspense while never telegraphing the action. The story, adapted from Shimizu's original screenplay, holds your attention until the end. Gellar does a fine job in a role that she could have easily walked through. And much credit to young Takako Fuji, who plays the young boy at the center of the story. Fuji is actually reprising his role from the original Japanese film, which shows the confidence director Shimizu has in him. Shimizu has already released the sequel in Japan. I would anticipate the same here next year.

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give "The Grudge"  Three stars

This week's movie review of "The Grudge" is ©2004 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2004, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.