‘Grudge’ thin on plot


“The Grudge,” a remake of the Japanese “Ju-On,” is a terrifying movie thin on plot and character. Directed by famed Japanese Director Takashi Shimizu, who also directed the original, “The Grudge” stars Sarah Michelle Gellar as a social worker abroad in Tokyo. Like last year’s “The Ring,” “The Grudge” deals with a supernatural force responsible for killing off more than half the cast. My biggest gripe with the movie is that it ignores plot in order to create more scenes to jolt the audience. As if Shimizu knew the audience would lose interest in the movie if they weren’t reminded they were watching a horror movie every two minutes. Karen (Gellar) recently moved to Japan with her boyfriend. When one of her co-workers mysteriously disappears and misses work, Karen is asked to fill in. She is sent to care for an elderly American woman who suffers from extreme lethargy. During her stay at the patient’s home things begin to go awry. Apparently there is curse in the house, and everyone who enters will eventually die, very much like “The Ring’s” plot, except there isn’t a videotape or a deadline for the victim to die. But there are creepy phone calls and footage of black haired dead girls walking zombie-like. Through a series of flashbacks, the movie tries to explain the curse and little less, leaving plot holes the size of Jupiter. The movie is no more than a calculated scare-a-thon. Instead of using scenes to explain plot and character, Shimizu uses them to scare the audience senseless-but it works. The audience isn’t going to see a movie starring Gellar, called “The Grudge,” for an Oscar worthy performance. They want cheap thrills, and this movie delivers them by the bucket full. However, not everyone will be able to watch the mindless scares which become repetitive as the movie progresses: a 7-year-old boy meowing like a cat can only scare you so many times, a body falling from the attic isn’t scary the third time around. However, I can’t dismiss it as an unsuccessful horror genre picture, because few rarely produce scares and even more rarely have a coherent plot. So, “The Grudge’s” scare factor is just enough to win it a positive mark.