The Grudge on DVD
The Grudge leaves as many unanswered questions as a Democratic
Party press conference.
At only 91 minutes, it manages to raise 100,000 questions in your
head and answer about 3 of them.
And not the most important three, either
Karen (Sarah Michelle Gellar) has moved to Japan with her
sweetheart and, as a hospice student, is assigned to an elderly, almost mute
woman living in a creepy house. The woman's normal caregiver has not shown up
for work that day, so Karen just needs to fill in. She can feel something is
wrong with the house from the moment she walks in, but opts to do her job
Once she finds a young boy stuck behind a taped-up wall, she
begins to ask questions (and so do we). Not long after that, she leaves the
house and we think everything is going to be fine. But when someone dies in the
grip of a powerful rage, a curse is left behind. It never forgives, it never
forgets. And just because you leave the house, doesnt mean the evil force
wont find you.
As is typical of Japanese films like this, The Grudge whips from
now to then and back to now and even further back to then without telling you.
Pay close attention or youll be lost. Come to think of it, youll
probably still be lost. The film is set up well enough, with a pretty good
opening, but is never quite sure where to go from there. It has a good vibe,
and some sufficiently creepy moments, but even most of the scares are complete
clichés (such as a cat jumping onscreen with a loud
rrrreeeoowwww). It seems to be doing its darndest to be the next
The Ring, but at least The Ring had an intriguing story that was easy to
The Grudge just wants to show people getting terrorized by this
evil force that wont let up, not caring that the premise goes against
everything people know about ghosts and spirits, even the most violent ones.
For example, its clearly known that spirits (vengeful or otherwise)
almost always stay in one place. If a spirit does move, it follows a specific
individual usually in their early teens, and pretty much leaves everyone else
alone. Of course, since its debatable that ghosts even exist, The Grudge
relies on this fact to take things to the next level.
If youre looking for a good scare, watch The Ring. The
Grudge is far too much of a mishmash to be anything but forgettable. Its
worth a watch once, but to think on it too much will only cause an
Both the picture and sound on the DVD are only slightly above
average. Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, theres not really
anything good or bad you could say about the video quality. Its pretty
clean and crisp, with minimal foreign artifacts, but actors faces can
seem drowned out by lighting techniques, and skin detail looks a tad bit off.
The Grudge is the kind of film that benefits from a 5.1 system to
scare the audience (such as the cats meow starting in the back corner of
the room and jumping to the front), but it just doesnt get used enough
here to make it worthwhile. Dialogue also seems very quiet at points, to the
extent that you have to turn the volume up considerably to hear what everybody
Extras include an audio commentary by Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi, Sarah
Michelle Gellar and a few others. Its a thoroughly entertaining track,
featuring lots of jokes and amusing anecdotes, but its a little too
lively for a horror movie (hows that for a lame complaint?). A
Powerful Rage is a 47-minute making of documentary that covers everything
from pre-to-post production. Its very extensive, featuring plenty of
behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the cast and crew. Under
the Skin is a short featurette on medical explanations of fear response
in film. It examines the relationship between scary movies and the brain.
Its pretty interesting, but not very engaging.
Finally, we get a bunch of trailers for new and not so new movies
from Columbia Tristar.
The Grudge, from Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment
minutes, anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jason Behr, Kadee Strickland with Clea Duvall
and Bill Pullman
Produced by Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, Taka Ichise
Screenplay by Stephen Susco, Directed by Takashi Shimizu
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