Ju-on: The Curse
ju-on | ju-on: the curse | takashi shimizu | yurei yanagi | yue | ryota koyama | curse | ghost | ghosts | haunted | haunted house | mystery | japan | hitomi miwa | asumi miwa | yumi yoshiyuki | kazushi ando | chiaki kuriyama | yoriko doguchi | takako fuji | jun'ichi kiuchi
Film: Ju-on: The Curse
Director: Takashi Shimizu
Writer: Takashi Shimizu
Starring: Yûrei Yanagi, Yue and Ryôta Koyama
This is a film that I had some trouble trying to locate since it was a straight to video and actually heard was made for television in Japan. It is actually the same writer and director who did the Japanese remake that was made for a much larger release as well as the American remake that many of us saw first. I also now have given it a second viewing as it is part of The Podcast Under the Stairs Summer Challenge Series for the 2000s. The synopsis for this version is a teacher visits the house of one of his students after the boy goes missing, only to have a horrifying excuse for his absence from school.
As I normally state when I talk about films where I have seen other versions, I do want to touch on the similarities and differences, but I’m not going to focus on them for this review. I will admit as well that I had to watch this film on YouTube as I have been unable to find a streaming service that offers this or a physical copy. This film is very similar to the two versions we know, but it is also different.
We start with a teacher, Shunsuke Kobayashi (Yûrei Yanagi) that goes to see why the boy, Toshio (Ryôta Koyama) has been missing in school. What I like about this film and the other two remakes is that it is presented as different points of view as short films that make up the overall story. It isn’t a traditional anthology film though.
Going from that, we get this broken up into 6 chapters. The first is titled Toshio and that is what I laid out there where Mr. Kobayashi goes to the house of Toshio, because he’s been missing school to check on him. The next is Yuki and it follows two girls who are trying to study. Not to spoil this, Kanna (Asumi Miwa) and her family are living in the house where everything happened. The following chapter is Mizuho (Chiaki Kuriyama) and she’s the girlfriend of Kanna’s brother, Tsuyoshi (Kazushi Andô). Mizuho goes to the school where she’s supposed to meet him. Chapter 4 is Kanna and it shows what happens to the mother in the house. It is then followed by Kayako (Takako Fuji) and fills us in from where things go in the first chapter. We also learn more about the connection between Kobayashi and Kayako, or at least what her husband things. The movie then ends with Kyôko (Yûko Daike) to bridge the gap of the house and its occupants.
This version is tamer than the others in the horror aspects. I think a lot of that was because it was shown on television for its initial run. With that said though, it does do some things that we come to expect with Kayako. When you finally see her in her ghost form, it is quite creepy and the sound she makes as well. Toshio and the sound he makes also falls into this category as well. As I said, I like the different take this film has on this story. There is also something that is much more violent than in the other films as well. The ending is interesting and I thought it was fine for what the film was going for.
I do think that the editing of this film is really good. Much like the other films in this series, it is told out of order and we have to piece the film together through things that happen. It should really be created here, as this is the first take on this story. I think that it is well done and not the easiest thing to do. I think the tension is built for this film all the way to the climax.
As for the acting in this film, I also thought this was good. I do find it interesting that Fuji plays the role of Kayako in this film as she also is in the theatrical film that is remade from this as well. That’s pretty impressive to me, because I thought she plays the role very well. She gets less screen time in this version though. I thought Koyama was good as the boy. Yanagi is solid as the teacher as well. The rest of the cast round out the film for what they needed. Those that show fear I think do a good job. No complaints about any of the actors.
For the effects, it seems to be a majority of practical with a little bit of CGI. Overall there aren’t a lot of effects in this version. They hide some of the things that are probably due to having a smaller budget. The only time I noticed it was when a character is missing their jaw that was done with CGI. It was creepy, I will give credit there, but it wasn’t very good looking either. The blood in the film did though and the look of Kayako was great. This film really didn’t introduce the whiteness of the skin for the ghosts, as from my understanding that is lore for the region. It is just something to point out.
Now with that said, I thought this was a solid take on the Ju-on curse. This film started it all and it is crazy that it was originally straight to video and for Japanese television. I thought this story is good and builds the curse. You can definitely see the parts that work and were used in the other films. I thought not all of it worked, but that’s fine. The editing of the film was good, as it builds tension throughout. The acting was good as well. There aren’t a lot in the way of effects, but the ones used are mostly practical. There was a scene with CGI that didn’t look great, but it doesn’t hurt the film. The soundtrack also didn’t really stand out. It doesn’t hurt the film, so I don’t have anything negative either. Overall, I would recommend this film if you are a fan of series to see where it started. I thought it was an above average film. Really interesting to see where this all begin and where it is now.
My Rating: 7.5 out of 10