The Grudge (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Karen Davis (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is an American who currently resides in Tokyo, a student who makes ends meet working as a caregiver. She is employed by an agency that caters to shut-ins, people who never leave their homes. Karen’s first client is also an American, so it seems to be a good fit. She is Emma Williams (Grace Zabriskie), an elderly woman who lives in a nice home, but as Karen soon discovers, some secrets lurk in the shadows. After some strange and scary events unfold, Karen is convinced the house is haunted by evil spirits. These ghosts don’t seem to like strangers in their home, but Karen must endure, though she decides to learn the truth about the house. As she searches for answers, will she find what she seeks and in the meantime, can she survive the spirits, who seem to be more vengeful as time passes?

The trend of remaking Asian horror hits has slowed down, but back when it was in full stride, The Grudge was one of the tent poles of the movement. The original film was solid, but by no means a great picture. Even so, it deserved better than Sarah Michelle Gellar, that much is certain. At least director Takashi Shimizu returned to helm the remake, but could the original director steer this new version to the same success? As it turns out, The Grudge is not that bad. I still think a better lead than Gellar was in order, but even she doesn’t detract too much. As a horror film, The Grudge has competent atmosphere, some nice scare moments, and some good performances. I still prefer the original (known as Ju-On), but as far as American remakes are concerned, The Grudge isn’t half bad. This disc offers us both the theatrical and unrated versions, plus a much improved soundtrack and a nice plate of extras, so this is well worth a rental.

Video: How does it look?

The Grudge is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The visuals here don’t pop off the screen, but the transfer is solid and captures the film’s intended look quite well. This isn’t a flashy film in terms of visuals, detail is great in close and mid-range shots, while further shots tend to be softer. That is part and parcel with how the film was shot however, so not a complaint about this transfer by any means. The colors and contrast perform well also, no serious concerns. This isn’t going to dazzle, but it looks good and is a nice step up over the DVD.

Audio: How does it sound?

A Dolby TrueHD 5.1 option is included and it sounds great, even better than expected. The surrounds are used often, to help maintain the eerie atmosphere, which really enhances the film’s impact. A spooky movie might not be bombastic, but as this proves, horror movies can benefit greatly from an active soundtrack. In addition to tense atmosphere, this track delivers clear vocals and well handled music. This disc also includes a French language track, as well as subtitles in English and French.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This edition includes both the theatrical and unrated versions, which is a welcome inclusion. Each version has its own audio commentary also, with the theatrical cut getting a host of cast and crew members, while the unrated version boasts the director, producer, and one of the stars. I should note that the unrated commentary is in Japanese, but English subtitles are provided. Both tracks have solid information, but the theatrical version is lighter and more humorous. A Powerful Rage is a five part look inside the production, which is good as a whole, but not so much when split up. Still, its a decent watch and fans of the film will appreciate the content here. This disc also includes a look at the film’s storyboards, two brief video diaries, and two of the director’s short films, which were fun to watch.

Disc Scores