Directed by Takashi Shimizu, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jason Behr, KaDee Strickland, Ryo Ishibashi, Grace Zabriske, Clea DuVall, Bill Pullman and Ted Raimi.
Living with her boyfriend (Behr) in Tokyo, American student nurse Karen Davis (Gellar) also helps out with social work as part of her course. When a Japanese nurse fails to show up for her shift, taking care of a woman (Zabriske) with Alzheimer's, Karen is dispatched to the house to fill in. On arrival she finds the house in disarray, with food and papers thrown everywhere and her patient in a catatonic state. As the day wears on, Karen's sense of unease grows into full-blown terror - she has stumbled on 'The Grudge', a powerful curse which leaves people dying in a rage, before moving on to another victim.
With 'The Ring' a huge success in the US, its sequel on the way and Walter Salles' version of 'Dark Water' also due on screens, 'The Grudge' is another of what will inevitably be too many remakes of Japanese films (there's a follow-up to this one already on the horizon). But the original 'Ju-On: The Grudge' was no classic, and returning director Takashi Shimizu has failed to turn his film into a must-see the sixth time 'round - there was a short, a Japanese straight-to-video version and a sequel, a Japanese theatrical version and a sequel, and now this. And the problems are almost as numerous, with the film episodic, the cast underused, the script loose and the Tokyo backdrop redundant for what's essentially a haunted house story.
But all those shortcomings would be tolerable if Shimizu had good scares throughout. Instead, he relies on clichés (attics, empty office blocks), with the undead in this case either looking pasty enough to join The Cure or recalling Kenny Everett's make-up in his mime artist TV sketch. They're not even slightly terrifying, and when they open their mouths with 'The Grudge' it sounds more like an overdose of the 70s sweet Space Dust than terror at high volume.
"It never forgets," boasts the poster. You will.