The Grudge (2004) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Horror
Sony || Unrated - 98 minutes - $28.95 || May 12, 2009
Reviewer: Tyler Thomas || Posted On: 2009-05-03


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Takashi Shimizu
Writer(s): Takashi Shimizu (film Ju-On: The Grudge), Stephen Susco (screenplay)
Cast: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jason Behr, William Mapother, Clea DuVall


Theatrical Release Date: October 22, 2004


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • 2 Feature Commentaries
  • 6 Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Short Films
  • BD-Live


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), French (Dolby TrueHD 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, French

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.::THE FILM::.

It never forgives. It never forgets.

I love how the makers of the film came up with a line that describes almost every single one of my exís. I try to be funny, sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesnít. Itís almost as funny as that one time I was at a club and completely shot down three different girls at once. What, no clip? No clip? Alright then, moving along to The Grudge, a film that sparked the Japanese horror film remake launch, which is both a blessing and a curse.

Yoko (Yoko Maki) is a caretaker for a family and goes to visit their house once a day to check up on the elderly Emma Williams (Grace Zabriskie). She heads inside and checks on Emma, and proceeds up the stairs where she hears a voice coming from the attic. She peaks up inside the hole and is promptly grabbed and killed by something strange, which we find out later is known as the grudge, since the person who killed her died in a state of rage. Thereís more of an explanation available in the film, but for the sake of this review, thatís all youíre getting.

Karen (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is also a care taker, and is sent over to the Williamsí house to investigate what happened to Yoko, since itís been a few days since anyoneís heard from her. After heading into the house and finding Emma who doesnít talk that much (you find out why, sort of, later) she finds a little boy by the name of Toshio (Yuya Ozeki) who is hiding upstairs behind some tape. Karen rips off the tape (bad idea) and calls the police to inform them of the little boy, but he vanishes without a trace. Puzzled by this, she heads home to her boyfriend Doug (Jason Behr) and doesnít think much of it.

She heads back to the home yet again, but this time Emma is in a near-coma state and is lying on the ground paralyzed. Karen tries to help her, but is startled by a giant shadow, and thatís all we see of it. Meanwhile, there is another story going on that tells more about the Williams family that used to be in the house basically; Matthew (William Mapother), Jennifer (Clea DuVall), and Susan (KaDee Strickland).

The Williams are slowly picked off day by day because of the ghost that haunts the house, but are unaware and powerless to stop it or do anything about the presence there. Their death scenes are pretty lame, even on the unrated cut, and were disappointing in my opinion coming from a horror buff. Take into account the fact thereís also another story thatís slowly being put together by events from the past happening in the present but they arenítÖ. itís confusing. It wasnít to me, but the person I was watching it with I had to stop every ten minutes and explain what was going on.

Even the death scenes are lame for a horror movie. That canít happen, all death scenes should make viewers squirm or gasp in horror, the only thing I gasped about was how atrocious the pacing was. The movie takes a while to get going, and once youíve figured out why the spirits are so ticked off and killing anyone who enters the house, youíll understand why I didnít like this move. Itís not that I didnít enjoy it at all, because in all honesty I did, it just doesnít hold up as well as it should have due to other films coming out that Iíve found more interesting.

The Grudge is still a decent movie if you take it for what it is; a film that relies more on story-telling and jump moments than actually being better than what it actually is, which is a middle-of-the-road horror flick.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Commentary with Stephen Susco, Sam Raimi, Stephen Susco, Robert Tapert, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jason Behr, Clea DuVall, KaDee Strickland, and Ted Raimi: The superior of the two audio commentaries, mainly because the other just has subtitles. This one is actually funny and entertaining at the same time, and the cast and crew donít step over one another and talk about a roundtable of things. I found this to be better than the film itself, as this does a great job of going into the story a bit more than the movie did. **Theatrical Version Only**

Commentary with Takashi Shimizu, Taka Ichise, and Takako Fuji: This has no English audio track, as it only as subtitles which I found to be a pain. I listen to a commentary, to, well, listen, not to read. Itís not that entertaining, as the first track is much better. Iíd recommend just skipping past this one unless you have a ton of free time.

Deleted Scenes (34 minutes): Yes you read that right, there really is that many deleted scenes available to watch. After shifting through all of them, I can say that honestly this is worth watching as they add a ton to the back story of some of the characters as well as a few things that were important in the film you may not have caught onto (mainly because a few of the scenes were cut).

A Powerful Rage: Behind the Grudge (48 minutes): Comprised of a whopping five different featurettes, it mainly deals with how the film was made and provides cast and crew interviews about it. Itís incredibly insightful, but Iíd recommend flipping the subtitles off as though they take up most of the screen. Once again, if you enjoyed the film at all, then by all means free up some time and dive deeper into the flick.

Under the Skin (12 minutes): Some guy with a PhD talks about ďthe rushĒ while watching a horror film in the theater and why we like it so much. Apparently heís written a book, so heís one step farther in life than I am. Itís a bit entertaining, but itís not for everyone.

The Grudgeís House: An Inside Tour (4 minutes): You are given an inside look at the house from the film. No idea who would bother watching this, but if you like houses then start watching.

Storyboard Art (3 minutes): The story is shown through the artwork of the director of the film and how it came to be in the movie.

Production Designers Notebook (2 minutes): Thereís artist concept drawings of the house and the characters of the film, and thatís pretty much it.

Video Diaries (23 minutes): Sarah and KaDee talk about their experiences in the film, and the better one is KaDee by far. She is funnier than her cast counterpart, and better to check out if youíve got some time. They both take a look at shooting of the film as well as traveling where the movie was shot at.

Short Films (6 minutes): Two short films that tie in somehow with the movie, but they are boring and donít amount to that much. Skip them.

** BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVE **

The only exclusive available is BD-Live, which at the time of this review being written; there is nothing but the usual previews available for select films.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Although the film is only a few years old, and I think this is the best the movie odds are will ever look, that doesnít mean itís great. Noise and distortion are apparent in most of the scenes, and at times a bit distracting. I was also taken back by the contrast issues that were in several scenes and made me think I was watching a DVD instead. Color levels also appeared bleak and dull, as there was a strange blue tint that was in most of the movie as well. Flesh tones were okay though, nothing spectacular or writing-about worthy. It sounds like Iím bashing the video quality and still giving it a decent rating, and I am because even though there are a few faults in it, it still does look okay. Just not anywhere near of how Iíve come to expect Blu-Rayís as of late that are coming out.

On the audio side, the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track fares a bit better for the horror flick. Surround use is somewhat extensive, but not how it should be used. The jump moments are timed out rather well, with the surrounds working just right, but the levels are a bit off, especially during the dialogue-heavy scenes. It is sometimes too soft, and then after turning it up to hear them a jump moment almost always came before I could crank the volume back down. Itís annoying to say the least that the levels werenít consistent, but it does fine for the horror genre.



.::OVERALL::.

The Grudge is a movie that does need to be viewed, as it started off the whole horror film genre yet again with a resurgence of the Japanese horror remake. Then again, because of that, weíve had a bunch of crappy movies (Iím looking at you One Missed Call) that spawned from this as well. The special features package is identical to the DVD, and the video and audio side of things isnít that impressive either. If you own the DVD already, thereís no real reason to upgrade. If you donít, then rent it before buying. I hold a grudge against this one for being nothing more than a rental.