Sarah Michelle Gellar
Now while much of the film's eeriness can be compared to that other Japanese import, THE RING, this movie tended to run into a tad of redundancy as one scene of someone being stalked by weird apparitions leads almost directly into another scene of someone else being scared as well -- but even then, most of those scenes were effective, with the film's frightening score, helping to up the ante as the director did a pretty solid job of balancing the silent baby steps with the speedy apparitions. The one shot of the kid's head popping up next to the bed scared the beejesus out of me. The film's cast was also good as the folks caught in the web of the "Japanese Haunted House from Hell", while Sarah Michelle Gellar, whose character was actually in the film a lot less than I thought, was convincing as the Americano looking for answers. And is it me or does Ted Raimi look an awful lot like Spider-Man's alter-ego?
One of the film's most effective scare sequences, in my opinion, featured KaDee Strickland trying to get home after work. Yeah, that's it honey...get into bed to hide from the boogeyman...great idea!! Hehehe. Another thing that might've helped this film's overall feeling of uneasiness was the fact that it was set in a foreign land, which skewed things to the left to begin with. Anyway, like I said right off the top of my review, this film wasn't the most engrossing motion picture of all-time, but caught under my sheets in the dark, by myself, late at night...it somehow creeped me out for most of its way, so check it out if you're looking for some odd and memorable sequences featuring boo scares, creepy-looking "ghosts" popping up and around, and an overall feeling of "brrrrrrrrrrrr."
"A Powerful Rage": A 5-part "making of" documentary (~ 50 minutes): You can watch each of these five 10-minute featurettes separately or together. A decent background course on the phenomenon of the GRUDGE films, with emphasis on how the Japanese version was "turned" into the American version, the origin of the Ju-On (grudge), the cultural differences between the cast and crew, the construction of the actual haunted house and a focus on the director, Takashi Shimizu...who apparently, doesn't speak English (this is mentioned about a zillion times throughout). I liked the piece about the cultural differences between the Japanese crew and the American cast the best, with the focus on Japan and its differences, and how that affected the film's production. Interesting. Other than that, I was already aware of most of the stuff about this film's background, so the rest of the stuff wasn't as informative for me. If you dug the film, you should enjoy all of the interviews and insight though. PS: The chick who played Yoko in the film is damn cute. Call me!
"Under the Skin" featurette (~ 12 minutes): This is a very clinical deconstruction of how human beings react when watching a scary movie, and how their interpretation of reality/fantasy affects their brain and its functionality. A doctor in the art of neurology (or something like that) comes in and discusses our fears and responses to fear, both when watching movies and in real life. Kinda interesting, but not really worth 12 minutes of my time.