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The Grudge

Kayako eyes the camera ominously on the movie poster
Directed by Takashi Shimizu
Produced by Sam Raimi
Robert Tapert
Written by Stephen Susco
Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar
Jason Behr
William Mapother
KaDee Strickland
Clea DuVall
Bill Pullman
Rosa Blasi
Music by Christopher Young
Cinematography Katsumi Yanagishima
Editing by Jeff Betancourt
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date(s) United States:
October 24, 2004
February 11, 2005
Running time 92 min. (98 min. director's cut)
Country USA
Language English
Budget $10 Million[1]
Gross revenue $187,281,115
Preceded by Ju-on: The Grudge 2 (2003)
Followed by The Grudge 2 (2006)

The Grudge is the 2004 American remake of the Japanese film Ju-on: The Grudge, and the first horror film in the Ju-on series, Ju-on 1. The film is the first installment in the American horror film series The Grudge. The film was released in North America on October 22, 2004 by Columbia Pictures,[2] and is directed by Takashi Shimizu (director of the original series)[3] while Stephen Susco scripted the remake. In the same tradition as the original series, the plot of the film is told through a non-linear sequence of events and includes several intersecting subplots.

The film has spawned two sequels: The Grudge 2 (which was released on October 13, 2006)[4] and The Grudge 3 (which was released on May 12, 2009).[5]



The Grudge describes a curse that is born when someone dies in the grip of a powerful rage or extreme sorrow (see Onryō). The curse gathers in the place where that person died. Those who encounter this murderous supernatural force die and the curse is reborn repeatedly, passed from victim to victim in an endless, growing chain of horror. The following events are explained in their actual order (which differs from the order shown on film).

The Williams Family

Matthew Williams (William Mapother), his wife, Jennifer (Clea DuVall), and his ailing mother, Emma, move into the Saeki house. Jennifer is unhappy with her life in Japan; she is unable to speak the language, and has gotten lost once on a walk. Matthew assures her things will improve and that if they don't, the family will return to the United States.

Jennifer falls asleep on a couch in the living room. The sound of her bowl hitting the floor startles her awake and she discovers the bowl on the floor, the contents strewn everywhere. She scolds Emma for making the mess, but then sees a trail of wet child's footprints leading out to the hall. She sees a cat on the landing of the stairs and sees a pair of white arms gently pick it up. She continues upstairs and enters her bedroom (Toshio's former bedroom). The door closes behind her.

Matthew returns from work and finds the house in complete disarray with trash strewn everywhere. He calls out to his wife, who doesn't answer. He finally finds her on their bed, unable to move or speak and struggling to breathe. Before he can call an ambulance, he is startled by the sudden appearance of a young boy making cat sounds. He backs up against the closet as Toshio appears suddenly over his head.

Later, Susan, Matthew's sister, is preparing to leave the office. After attempting to call, Susan increasingly becomes concerned from not being able to reach Matthew. She starts to leave her office building but she is stopped by the sound of moaning coming from the hallway. She quickly exits to the stairs but is frightened when the lights start to flicker and shatter. Susan looks over the railing to see Kayako's ghost crawling up the stairs. Susan flees to the closest hallway but Kayako grabs her cell phone charm and pulls it off. Susan goes to the security office, seeking help. There, the security guard promises to check it out. Susan watches the monitor as the security guard investigates. However, he finds nothing and leaves. Then, the lights flicker and Kayako rises up out of the shadows in the hallway and walks toward the security camera. Susan runs.

Susan takes a taxi cab back to her apartment. She enters an elevator, and it ascends several floors. Susan does not notice, however, that Toshio is standing outside each set of elevator doors she passes, getting progressively closer with each passing floor. Susan makes it safely inside when her phone rings. It is Matthew claiming to have forgotten her apartment number and asking to be buzzed inside. She tells him where to find her and activates the buzzer with the phone. The doorbell rings immediately after she hangs up. Thinking Matthew couldn't possibly have had time to arrive, she checks the peephole of the door. Shocked to find it is Matthew, Susan believes he is pranking her. She angrily throws open the door, but no one is there. The death rattle emanates loudly through the phone in Susan's hand. She drops and breaks the phone, yet the rattle can still be heard. Cowering in bed, Susan reaches beneath the covers and pulls out the rabbit's foot phone charm from her phone and drops it in fear. A lump billows from underneath the covers and moves toward Susan. She lifts the sheets, seeing Kayako's face. She is abruptly pulled under and both vanish completely.

The Social Workers

(The events in this section are shown throughout the film, though they take place in time shortly after the Williams' move in to the house.) Yoko (Yoko Maki) is a girl whose work is to take care of Emma and clean the house. When picking up trash on the floor and stairs, she hears someone walking around up in the attic. Following the noise, Yoko enters a closet in the bedroom and sees a small door in the ceiling, which leads to the attic. Using a lighter, Yoko sticks her head up through the door and slowly turns around, looking for the source of the sound. She eventually comes face to face with the onryo which Kayako Saeki has now become, who attacks her, dragging her up into the closet.

Karen Davis (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is then called in to work at the house and care for Emma after Yoko disappears. While working, Karen finds a closet that's been taped shut with cat-like noises coming from it. When she rips off the tape and opens the door, she finds a little boy (Toshio). The boy refuses to come downstairs so she asks him for his name. "Toshio," he says, in a toneless, eerie voice. Emma begins stirring and muttering in the other room. As Karen calms her, a dark shadow of hair emerges from a corner of the room, terrifying Emma. Karen looks up to see Kayako reaching for Emma. Kayako's hair, which was covering her face, flies back to reveal the whites of her eyes. The irises roll into place and focus on Karen as she backs away in fright.

Alex, Karen's boss, finally arrives to find Emma dead and Karen in a state of shock. Karen is taken to the hospital while detectives question Alex. Detective Nakagawa (Ryo Ishibashi) asks Alex about the people that lived there, and tell him that Yoko has been missing from work. The detectives notice that the phone handset is missing from the cradle and push the page button. They trace the sounds to the attic where they discover the corpses of Matthew and his wife. They also make the grisly discovery of a human jaw and wonder to whom it belongs and where the rest of the body might be. Later in the movie, Yoko is spotted again by Alex as she is shuffling down the stairs of the caretaking facility where Alex, Karen, and Yoko work. As he is walking towards her, he accidentally slips on a liquid, which he discovers is blood when he touches it. Alex calls out repeatedly to Yoko, who does not answer in any way until she reaches the bottom of the stairs. She then turns around to reveal her face, now horribly disfigured without her lower jaw. Alex screams in terror, and the screen fades to black.

Karen tells her story to detectives, emphasizing the appearance of a boy. Over the next few days, she is constantly tormented by Kayako, in her shower, on a bus, etc. Frightened but determined, she begins to research the history of the House. Eventually, she learns of the murders.

Detective Nakagawa becomes convinced that the rash of deaths and missing people is connected to the house when he views the entire security video taken at Susan's office building. He watches as Kayako proceeds down the hall, then to come face to face with the camera as the video fuzzes out. He then returns to the Saeki House with two cans of gasoline. He is distracted by sounds of Toshio drowning in the bath tub. He enters and finds a boy hanging out of the tub, and tries to revive him. His eyes snap open, and Takeo appears behind him. Nakagawa only has time to turn around before Takeo shoves him into the bathtub and drowns him like Toshio.

Karen questions Maria Kirk, Peter's widow, who does not appear to know anything about the house, its occupants, or why her husband committed suicide. She allows Karen to search through old photos. Karen discovers a living Kayako in the background of every photograph, clearly following the couple. Karen then attempts to go talk with her boyfriend, Doug (Jason Behr), at their apartment. However, she discovers he has gone looking for her after his own investigation. Karen then returns to the house in search of Doug.

Inside the house, Karen experiences a flashback of Peter Kirk's visit. She watches him, reliving the experience with him finding the corpse of Kayako, and upon discovering the corpse of Takeo Saeki hanging from a noose of Kayako's hair, the evil manifesting itself around Takeo allows Karen a brief insight into Takeo's life, wherein she relives his final moments when he murders his wife, Kayako, and his son, Toshio. Overwhelmed by the brutality of Takeo's assassination of Kayako, Karen staggers downstairs and the house returns to the present time. Doug grabs her ankle before she leaves. He is incapacitated, and she tries to drag him to the door. A door opens upstairs. The onryo which Kayako has now become crawls down the stairs toward them, and gives Doug the kiss of death. Karen opens the door, but Kayako's ghost is suddenly there. She slams the door and kicks over one of the gas cans. She takes Doug's lighter and tosses it onto the gas as Doug suddenly becomes Kayako. The screen goes white. (In the director's cut, there are shots of Karen being put into an ambulance van).

At the hospital, Karen learns that the house was saved from burning and mourns Doug's dead body. Suddenly, Kayako's hair and arm comes from beneath the sheet that covers him, but Karen realizes that it's just her imagination. Kayako then appears behind Karen. As Kayako utters her death-rattle, the movie ends with an eyeshot of her.

Differences from the original

In the original Ju-on: The Grudge, Kayako is murdered by Takeo off-screen, except for the montage in the opening that shows him after she is murdered. This makes the Ju-on murder of Kayako a mystery. It's believed that Kayako was murdered by a utility knife due to the slash marks on both her body and face. A deleted scene in the DVD release shows Takeo slashing Kayako with a penknife. One possibility is that Kayako saw Takeo reading her diary most likely in their bedroom, and he attacked her, pushing her down. She crawls down the stairs and is followed by Takeo. Kayako is cornered by Takeo and backs up against the wall by the door. Toshio is watching from the top of the stairs, not really understanding what is happening. Takeo reaches his hand out for Kayako's face to slash her neck. Toshio goes and hides in his closet. Takeo brings Kayako up to their bedroom and slashes her with a utility knife. Then he wraps her in a plastic bag and puts her in the attic. He drowns Toshio and slits his cat's throat. Takeo shoves Toshio with the cat back in the closet. Kayako's body was found in the attic, and Takeo died on a nearby street because of Kayako ghost (shown in the original Ju-on: The Curse). However, it also seems likely that Kayako's neck was broken before she was finished off with the knife, as evidenced by the cracking sounds she makes when she moves her neck.

In the remake, Kayako is murdered when Takeo breaks her neck. The scenes that outline the massacre are shown off-screen in the theatrical cut, but all is shown in the director's cut. In the director's cut, a flashback before the film's ending shows Kayako standing in the doorway of her bedroom, realizing that Takeo is reading her diary and knows about her infatuation with Peter Kirk. He then chases her into the hallway and rips her dress and knocks her to the floor twisting her ankle as he is screaming and hitting on the walls. Kayako then crawls down the stairs in an attempt to escape, but is grabbed by Takeo who snaps her neck with both hands. These events are witnessed by Toshio who was immediately drowned by Takeo with his cat (described in The Saeki Murders).

An interesting sidenote is that in Ju-on, it is repeatedly mentioned that Toshio's corpse was never accounted for, implying that he may have been consumed by his mother, Kayako.


In this film, Takeo's murder of Kayako is the initial murder, occurring on November 1, 2001, along with the murder of his son Toshio. The story of the Williams family occur several years later, in early 2004, and then Karen and Yoko's stories occur in October 2004.


  • Sarah Michelle Gellar as Karen Davis, an exchange student who takes a job as a care worker to obtain social studies credit,
  • Jason Behr as Doug, Karen's boyfriend, who attends the University of Tokyo, and has a part-time job working at a restaurant.
  • William Mapother as Matthew Williams, a "number cruncher" who receives a promotion from his superiors that requires him to relocate to Tokyo.
  • Clea DuVall as Jennifer Williams, Matthew's lonely wife who is trying to adjust to a new life in Japan.
  • KaDee Strickland as Susan Williams, Matthew's younger sister, who resides and works in Tokyo, and who helps her brother, sister-in-law and mother choose and move into their new home.
  • Grace Zabriskie as Emma Williams, Matthew's mother, who is suffering from severe lethargy with mild dementia.
  • Bill Pullman as Peter Kirk, a teacher working in Tokyo, who receives a number of love letters from Kayako, a woman he does not know.
  • Rosa Blasi as Maria Kirk, Peter's wife.
  • Ted Raimi as Alex, the director of the care centre that Yoko and Karen are stationed at.
  • Ryo Ishibashi as Det. Nakagawa, a detective whose colleagues all died or disappeared under mysterious circumstances during the investigation of the Saeki family murder case. He is all too aware of the house and its strange history.
  • Yoko Maki as Yoko, a Japanese care worker who speaks English, and is assigned to care for Emma Williams.
  • Yuya Ozeki as Toshio Saeki, the eight year-old son of Kayako and Takeo Saeki.
  • Takako Fuji as Kayako Saeki, a married woman who develops an attraction towards Peter Kirk.
  • Takashi Matsuyama as Takeo Saeki, Kayako's husband, who is angry when he discovers her feelings for another man. He murders Kayako prior to the film's events and put a curse on the house.



The film opened on 3,348 theatres in North America[6]. The film generated $39.1 million in ticket sales in its first weekend (October 22 - 24 2004). The film later declined 43% on its second weekend by earning $21.8 million, becoming the first horror film to top the Halloween box office since House on Haunted Hill.[7] The film made US$110,359,362 in North America alone and a total of $187,281,115 worldwide, far exceeding the expectations of box office analysts and Sony Pictures executives. Sony also stated the film cost less than $10 million to produce, thereby making it one of the most profitable films of the year.[8].

The film received mixed reviews, earning a "Rotten" rating of 39% on Rotten Tomatoes (with 58 out of 144 film reviews counted fresh).


A sequel, The Grudge 2, was announced three days after the film opened[9] and released in 2006. The sequel stars Amber Tamblyn as Karen's younger sister Aubrey who is sent to Japan by her mother to bring Karen home from Japan.

The Grudge 3 was announced by Sony during Comic-Con 2006. Takashi Shimizu stated he initially offered to direct the sequel but preferred to produce the film.[10] On October 23, 2007, it was confirmed that the film would instead be directed by Toby Wilkins, who directed the short films Tales From The Grudge as promotional material for the release of The Grudge 2 in 2006.[11] The film will be produced by Takashi Shimizu and Sam Raimi. A second draft of the screenplay has been completed,[5][12] and the film could start filming as early as January 2008, depending on further script development. This will be the final film in The Grudge series.[13]

On October 31, 2007, it was revealed the film's screenplay was written by Brad Keene and the film's synopsis was also revealed. The story will follow "A young Japanese woman holds a secret to ending the curse of the Grudge. She travels to a haunted Chicago apartment building where she encounters a family battling to survive the ghosts. Together they confront the ghost of Kayako to save their souls from their impending tragic fate."[14]

On January 19, 2008 it was revealed that Matthew Knight would reprise his role as Jake, and the film would begin production in Bulgaria in March 2008. It was also revealed the film would not be a theatrical release, but direct to DVD instead.[15]

Home release

The film was released on DVD and UMD on February 1, 2005. The film was released as a standard version of the film with only a few special features.[16] On May 17, 2005, the MPAA-unrated director's cut of The Grudge was released onto DVD in North America. The release included several scenes that were cut to achieve a lower rating from the MPAA, as well as others which were removed for pacing and plot reasons. This version of the film was used as the theatrical run in Japan. The release also contained new deleted scenes and commentaries, stories In a Corner, and more.[17]

It was made available to purchase on iTunes in 2008.

The film was released on Blu-ray Disc in Germany in 2008. It was released on Blu-ray Disc in the U.S. on May 12, 2009, the same day as The Grudge 3 DVD.

Directors Cut

Only few releases amongst the current Directors Cut/Unrated DVD by Sony/Columbia proved themselves as useful extended versions.The Grudge is one of them since it had to be trimmed to achieve a lower PG-13 rating.Extended shock moments,more violence and deeper characters define this version(authorized by director Shimizu)and make the theatrical version obsolete.

Below are some scenes that were absent from the theatrical cut but exclusively available to the Directors Cut DVD:

  • A close-up shot of Peter Kirk's face.A puddle of blood spreads from underneath his head.
  • Yoko takes a blood smeared reel of adhesive tape from Emma who had been gripping to it recently.
  • A much more longer and alternate sequence of Yoko cleaning various parts of the Saeki house prior to the scene of her getting killed by Kayako.
  • Doug kisses Karen and she notifies him that public displays of affection are rude in Japan,later they find a Japanese couple sitting on a bench and snogging each other just prior to the scene before she arrives almost late to the social workers.
  • Karen asks Emma about the bloody band aid on her finger but Emma isn't responding.
  • The Directors cut presents a whole new scene.Susan enters the room on top of the stairs and discovers a porcelain statue of a black cat on a table.As she's about to leave the room she sees pictures of cats drawn on walls.After she left the room there's another shot looking down the hallway.
  • Jennifer can't sleep and get's up.She bends over the balustrade in front of the bedroom,looking exhausted.
  • Alternate scene where the Williams family:Matthew,Jennifer portray the manifestation of the Saeki curse,which eventually leads to their death.Matthew(now possessed by Taeko)grabs Jennifer's hair (now possessed by Kayako)pulls her into the attic,pretty much like the same flashback scene where Taeko does the same thing to Kayako.Susan enters the house alternatively,shouting out to the couple to come down and eat dinner she then shouts out a gesturePrepare to be emotionally scarred.She walks up the stairs suddenly startled by a possessed Matthew sitting on the stairs in silence,in a weird catatonic state Matthew attempts to push and kick Susan out of the house,Susan curious on whats happening.Matthew walks up the stairs slowly,as he enters the room a suddenly black bodied person follows behind him which appears to be the spirit of Kayako disguised in black,the door of the room closes on it's own then the screen fades to black.
  • Susan in her apartment after her escape from Kayako,she hears her tap dripping.She walks closer to the tap and finds Kayakos moving hand out of her sink.Scared by it,she runs to her bedroom and is eventually killed by Kayako beneath her bed sheet.
  • Close-up shot of the mummified Williams couple.In the Theatrical version the shot is farther away.
  • The Close up of Yoko's jaw is much longer in the Directors cut.In the Theatrical version it's barely seen in focus.
  • Doug greets more employees of the American Restaurant in the Directors cut.

Basic references

  1. ^ IMDB (October 20, 2006). "The Grudge production budget". IMDB. Retrieved 2006-10-20.  
  2. ^ IMDB (October 5, 2006). "The Grudge release date". IMDB. Retrieved 2006-10-20.  
  3. ^ IMDB (October 20, 2006). "Grudge 2 directed by original Ju-on director". IMDB. Retrieved 2006-10-20.  
  4. ^ House of Horrors (October 5, 2006). "Grudge 2 release date". House of Horrors. Retrieved 2006-10-20.  
  5. ^ a b Shock Till You Drop (October 16, 2007). "Screenplay sent in to Ghost House Pictures". Shock Till You Drop. Retrieved 2007-10-16.  
  6. ^ Box Office Mojo (October 20, 2006). "Grudge opens on 3,348 theatres". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2006-10-20.  
  7. ^ Box Office Mojo (October 20, 2006). "Grudge tops box office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2006-10-20.  
  8. ^ Box Office Mojo (October 20, 2006). "The Grudge was expected to generate 20 Million". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2006-10-20.  
  9. ^ IMDB (September 10, 2006). "Grudge 2 announced 3 days after the release of The Grudge". IMDB. Retrieved 2006-10-20.  
  10. ^ Bloody Disgusting (October 20, 2006). "Grudge 3 announced at Comic Con". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 2006-10-20.  
  11. ^ Bloody Disgusting (October 22, 2007). "Toby Wilkins attached to direct The Grudge 3". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 2007-10-22.  
  12. ^ Bloody Disgusting (October 16, 2007). "Sam Raimi sends in a second draft for screenplay". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 2007-10-16.  
  13. ^ Shock Till You Drop (October 22, 2007). "Production to begin January 2008". Shock Till You Drop. Retrieved 2007-10-22.  
  14. ^ Bloody Disgusting (October 31, 2007). "Story for The Grudge 3 revealed". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 2007-10-31.  
  15. ^ Bloody Disgusting (January 19, 2008). "First Official 'Grudge 3' Casting News!". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 2008-01-19.  
  16. ^ Amazon (October 20, 2006). "Standard Version release". Amazon. Retrieved 2006-10-20.  
  17. ^ Amazon (October 20, 2006). "Uncut Version release". Amazon. Retrieved 2006-10-20.  

Specific references

External links

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