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Look out for more coverage of
The Grudge in our magazines

THE MOVIE: The Grudge

THE STARS:
Sarah Michelle Gellar • Jason Behr
DIRECTOR: Takashi Shimizu

Sarah Michelle Gellar THE CONCEPT:
Based on the Japanese blockbuster Ju-On: The Grudge, the American version has a US exchange student, Karen (Gellar), studying social work in Japan, who innocently agrees to cover a nurse who didn’t show up for work. But she soon discovers the house that she visits is possessed by a violent curse that destroys the lives of everyone who enters it.

U.S. RELEASE: October 22 2004, Nationwide
• Rated: PG-13

THE COMMENTS:

SAM RAIMI (Producer):
“When I saw the original version I was in love with it, I thought it was brilliant, so my job was to change as little as possible and yet make it acceptable to the American and Canadian audience. American audiences don’t usually see films with Japanese actors, shot in Japan, speaking Japanese, except in art houses in LA, New York and Chicago. So I felt, let’s just change the most minimal amount, we’ll keep the same director, we’ll shoot it in Japan, we’ll have them speak English. We had to change the story to understand why these Americans are going to Japan, but those stories elements never really effected the stuff that was great about the movie.”

SARAH MICHELLE GELLAR:
“The reason I wanted to be a part of this film is because, in my opinion, they were doing it the right way. Instead of getting an American director to put an American spin on what is essentially a Japanese story, they were going to do it with the original Japanese director. I love the idea of a non-linear movie. I love the idea that there’s not that beginning, middle and end. It isn’t completely wrapped up. I just feel like that’s one of the really interesting things about Japanese films. I love that they weren’t going to shy away from that.”

JASON BEHR (Doug):
“I grew up on stuff like Friday the 13th and American Werewolf in London. They are two movies that really influenced me when I was a kid. It was cool hanging out with my brother and his friends, who were older. I was in third grade, and they were in sixth grade, and we were watching American Werewolf in London, but at one part I just started screaming at the top of my lungs. I had nightmares about werewolves for a long, long time.”

RAIMI:
“There were problems all along the way, cultural problems. I’d say, ‘When this happens to Sarah, she’s got to react to it,’ and the director would say, ‘No, a woman does not react in that way.’ And I would think, yeah, but an American woman would. She doesn’t think it’s rude to say, ‘No, I’m not going to endure this any longer.’ We had plenty of experience where we realized, gee, you guys just think differently about everything.”

GELLAR:
“For me personally this was the most amazing experience that I’ve ever had working. When you’re in a place and you’re working with people and you don’t know their language, you wind up making these really deep friendships because you have to listen so intently, and you really have to get to know them to understand what it is they’re trying to convey.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official The Grudge site
Images above © Columbia Pictures
Feature © 2004 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #650, November 2004 cover

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