By Mariko McDonald | June 25, 2004

After a short intermission and the departure of Corinne since she had already seen it, we started the main attraction. Although Graeme had already seen it a few weeks prior he decided to stay and watch it with the crowd, if only to clear up some continuity issues as the actual story jumps around quite a bit. About five minutes in he gives a stern warning to the peanut gallery, my fiancé in particular, to quit nattering or we won’t get any of the scares. And it does manage some pretty good scares and enough creepiness to satiate most horror freaks. The story itself is basic horror manga fodder. One day a father goes into a rage and kills his wife and son, the legend being that an act fueled by such anger and brutality stays in the house like a spirit infecting those who come into contact with it. From there it jumps around through time showing a number of different stories episodically.

In a way, “Ju-On: The Grudge” represents a genius in horror film franchising. There is no real through line throughout the film, other than various people, some of whom know each other, some of whom don’t; coming into contact with the house and what happens to them from there. By this method the series could go on indefinitely as the film is more about scaring the crap out of people than pretending to tell some sort of coherent story to be resolved. I’m not even sure if there was much of a resolution, a few key details were revealed by the end, but I certainly wouldn’t say that it was resolved. It’s also one of those horror mythologies that is loose enough to be remolded in perpetuity. It’s also important to point out that “Ju-On: The Grudge” is actually part three in the “Ju-On” series, the first two having been released direct to video as “Ju-On” and “Ju-On 2” in 2000. There is also a “Ju-On: The Grudge 2” and the aforementioned Sarah Michelle Gellar vehicle “The Grudge” which seems to be taking it’s cue from the American “Ring” by combining elements from all of the films in the franchise and then making it more palatable for American audiences. I personally think it could be okay since a) it’s being directed by the guy who started the franchise and b) they shot most of it in Japan with a largely Japanese cast.

Rumblings from the Peanut Gallery: Despite the numerous “C.S.I.” jokes and some very impressive gore, “Tell Me Something” was the clear loser of the evening. The biggest problem was that everyone in the film was so stupid that we got quite used to shouting at the television and this risked ruining the experience of “Ju-On: The Grudge”. I personally would like to know who Placebo paid to get their album so much exposure in the film (at one point a character holds the album cover up to the screen for identification). And how do I know what the album cover to Placebo’s first album look like? Never you mind that…

Mariko McDonald and her boyfriend host a weekly film night in their apartment, affectionately known as the Den of Sin. It’s kinda like evil film school. Monthly screening schedules are available at http:filmgurlland.blogspot.com and if you happen to live in the Vancouver, BC area and are interested in catching a screening please drop her a line at filmgurl79@hotmail dot com. Suggestions, hate mail and cute pictures of cats also accepted.

And of course you can always offer up some juicy Back Talk>>>

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