Ju-on: The Beginning of the End
ju-on | ju-on: the beginning of the end | ju-on: owari no hajimari | sequel | remake | masayuki ochiai | takashige ichise | sho aoyagi | Shô Aoyagi | yoshihiko hakamada | yasuhito hida | ghost | ghosts | curse | haunted | haunted house | japan | misaki saisho
Film: Ju-on: The Beginning of the End (Ju-on: Owari no hajimari)
Director: Masayuki Ochiai
Writer: Masayuki Ochiai and Takashige Ichise
Starring: Shô Aoyagi, Yoshihiko Hakamada and Yasuhito Hida
This is technically another sequel to the Ju-on franchise in Japan, but actually this is a reboot as well, taking it back to the beginning of the curse. The official synopsis is in this seventh installment of the Ju-on franchise, a school teacher visits the home of a boy who’s been absent form school for a long period of time, unaware of the horrific tragedy which occurred in the boy’s household many years ago.
Much like the rest of the films in the franchise, this again is taking the almost anthology approach of having each story broken up and then compiled together out of order. This film does do that pretty well actually. It keeps me on my toes trying to piece together where each story we see goes where. What I also like about this film is that it is actually a reboot of the original Ju-on franchise, even though it is considered a sequel. We get a new house. We have the original idea back that the teacher of the missing student, Toshio Saeki (Kai Kobayashi), checking on him since he is missing a bunch of days of school. The teacher for this film is Naoto Miyakoshi (Shô Aoyagi). This gets interesting is she is not the original teacher; the one who started the year quits. She is also dating Kyosuke Takeda (Yoshihiko Hakamada) who is a screenwriter, but he also does the research to learn more of this curse.
This film does something different that I was a fan of as well. It actually puts a wrinkle into the back-story that I thought was a good touch. It definitely helps it to be different. This is good to ensure that it isn’t a shot for shot remake. There is also an interesting scene where four high school girls go into the cursed house and they find pictures that were drawn by a child. It foreshadows to something later that I thought was also a good touch.
For a film like this, the editing is very important. I think this film did very well here in piecing the stories together and still building tension. What is interesting is that each story builds its own tension, but it starts to become an overarching thing that culminates in the final story. I thought the ending was worth the build up that we got. I definitely have no complaints here.
I actually thought the acting was good for the film as well. Aoyagi is good as the actual star of the film. What is interesting about this series though is that she actually disappears for a good stretch of the film, but it makes sense in everything that the film is building. I really liked Hakamada as well, but that might be because of his screenwriting story-line. I thought Yasuhito Hida had a good look for the crazy Takeo Saeki. There are some things that get foreshadowed and then revealed involving him that I thought was good. The four high school girls I thought were good and seeing their fear was believable. I need to give a shout-out to Misaki Saisho who takes on the role of Kayako Saeki. She brings her our distinct craziness to the role that made me feel uncomfortable. I also thought that Kobayashi was good as well.
The effects for this film were interesting to me. This one is actually bloodier than many of the films in the series, but I didn’t mind that. The blood looked good. Another thing is that this film used more CGI. I actually didn’t have any problems here, because they took the time and effort in it and it looks pretty seamless. I feel there may have been some practical effects also thrown in. If they weren’t, this is some of the best CGI I’ve seen in a film like this for sure.
As for the score of the film, it really didn’t stand out to me. I have no complaints in regards to it. It never took me out of the scenes so it did what it needed to. The only thing that did stick out was the humming that Kobayashi does. This is a recurring thing, along with the other creepy sound that comes back in this film. The humming though made me feel very comfortable and other characters start to do it as the film goes on as well. I really liked that aspect.
Now with that said, I felt this film was above average Japanese ghost/curse film. I thought the story did enough to preserve the major aspects that make the Ju-on series what it is, but it also introduced some new things as well. I was a fan of that. I thought the film was edited well. It follows the blueprint of the series, where it is shown out of order, but still builds tension to a satisfying climax. The acting of the film I thought was good across the board; I don’t really have any complaints there. The effects were also pretty strong in this film. The score doesn’t really stand out in the film, but it did have a recurring humming that creeped me out. None of the musical selections ever took me out of the film as well. If you like the series, I would definitely recommend giving this one a viewing. I will warn you, I had trouble finding this and ended up watching it on YouTube. It is from Japan, so I watched it with subtitles on. If that is a problem, then I would definitely recommend avoiding this film.
My Rating: 7 out of 10