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In the tradition of Ringu which shares producer Taka Ichise Japanese horror has emerged as popular fodder for American remakes Here Takashi Shimizu re-imagines the third film from his own Ju-On franchise which started out as a straight-to-video series but quickly ended up in Japanese theatrical release thanks to word-of-mouth Although the two movies are at times strikingly similar--some of Shimizus sets and even shots are constructed exactly the same--the American version had the budget for slicker special effects and has clarified the non-linear plot for an audience that requires a more definitive resolution Karen Sarah Michelle Gellar whos already battled her share of supernatural creepy-crawlies in TVs Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Scooby-Doo franchise is an American exchange student studying social work in Tokyo who agrees to fill in for a nurse who hasnt shown up for her shift When she makes the house call she finds the elderly American woman in her care catatonic in a house that is deserted and disheveled What she discovers next is the metaphysical incarnation of the Japanese belief that when someone dies on the grip of a powerful rage a curse is left behind infecting anyone who comes in contact with it Gellar is billed as the flicks above-the-line star but the truth is The Grudge is more of an ensemble piece that consists of several storylines of which she is not the center including one featuring Bill Pullman Shimizu retained Ju-Ons Japanese setting but in order to appeal to American audiences peopled many of the main characters with American faces--a device that feels contrived even while adding an interesting thematic layer about the alienation of living abroad What worked about the original remains intact--that freaky-deaky signature sound effect and specters who arent apparitions but rather corporeal including the same ghoulish little boy whos starred in all the films In the interest of narrative clarity however the filmmakers here have added an explanatory
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