Saturday, 08 February 2014 02:55
Ju-on: The Grudge - A Bone-chilling Minimalist Ghost Story Written by Churchill Guevarra
Revenge is a dish best served cold and with an infantile specter spouting creepy animal noises, dishing out the grudge platter and deliberately preying on innocent lives in cold blood; the aftermath couldn’t be any more terrifying. Ju-on is a perverse yet minimalist horror film with a really meandering storyline. But don’t worry, the scares are riveting and the musical score sets them up perfectly. Ju-on is as raw as it gets and it creates/communicates the language of fear through imagery and sound, better than its fancier, more elaborate counterparts.
The minimal, almost made for TV cinematography becomes an ideal conductor for the portentous energy that lurks in the stillness of the scenes and the normalcy of its characters. The shocking imagery is purposely tucked within its simplistic setting and is dispensed evenly throughout the fluctuating plot; making the experience more palpable and effective than the fancier, well-choreographed jump scares of a typical mainstream horror picture.
What really gets me is the eerie calmness that emanates from this film—an unsettling sense of tranquility that comes with an ostensible terror just waiting in the corner to be unleashed when you least expect it. And when it does hit you, you’re dumbfounded by the modesty of the scene’s progression. It cuts right away and moves along before you can even catch your breath and retort. Writer/Director Takashi Shimizu doesn’t prolong or overplay his shock mechanisms and rightfully so, as excessive manipulation can ruin a really good scare.
What Ju-on achieved under such meager resources is a testament that a good horror movie need not be glossy or overproduced. It’s even more effective if the imagery, musical score and overall ambience are confined within a raw, somewhat grainy picture for it gives you a sense of realistic dread that permeates through the inner depths of your psyche. Watch it alone in the dead of night for maximum effect; a vengeful 4 out of 5 stars!