The SHALLOWeen Series: The Grudge
This Halloween season, I'm presenting a new feature: The SHALLOWeen series! I'll share a series of very shallow assessments of all the movies (and the one music video) that have ever scared me. Get ready... I'm a true 'fraidy cat.
First, a quick note about my personal experience with this movie: The year that THE GRUDGE was released, I had just moved into a house in Echo Park that didn't look all that different from the haunted house in the movie. It just so happened that my roommates and I all had different class schedules, so I'd end up home alone a lot of the time. I really hated that.
Anyway, the horror scene in the early 2000s was awash with J-Horror remakes. I had already seen the scariness of The Ring (a movie I will no doubt cover here), and I was ready for more. There was just something special about these movies -- They were atmospheric and deliberate, and most of all, very different from the typical horror fare that I'd been watching during that period. Granted The Sixth Sense was excellent and Final Destination was goofy and fun... but The Haunting was trash... and the less said about the tail end of the Scream-fueled slasher revival, the better. I'd hoped that The Grudge was going to be just as creepy as The Ring. I wasn't disappointed.
What made the movie particularly authentic was the director, Takashi Shimizu's choice to keep the story in Japan. The place grounds the story in a way that would've been hard to duplicate had the setting been changed to LA or New Orleans.
So here's my shallow assessment: The mystery is what makes The Grudge scary, and it's strengthened by the non-linear storytelling. Things happen out of order, which is unsettling to me. You don't necessarily know where it's going, and I like that. Also, that scary-ass croaking voice.