Grudge, The

Crazed eye shrouded by black hair. ('The Grudge' movie poster)

I hope someday someone makes a film with Grace Zabriskie and Veronica Cartwright. And they take turns going totally apeshit crazy. I’ve written it before – no one goes nuts like these two actresses (and throw in Bill Paxton for balance). Grace you’ll remember as Laura Palmer’s mother and her primal scream of grief through a telephone as she learns of her daughter’s death.

In The Grudge, Grace plays a bed-ridden woman with dementia that happens to live in a cursed house. She gets enough time onscreen to freak you out. The film delivers enough jolts and suspense that I can’t wait to hear my sister’s reaction to this film. Ron and I jumped many times as well as that inner squirming and thrashing as you wait for the release of suspense by some terrible new surprise.

The imagery in the films coming out of and inspired by Japanese horror films is so much more urbane than what we have here in the States. So much creepier and unsettling – instead of just shocking us with an image and jumping to the next thing – sometimes the directory just parks the camera on a terrible tableau – this is the one part I liked about the film Jeepers Creepers 2 where the Creeper licks the backdoor of the bus and the camera is parked on him for minutes. Like when a doomed woman goes up an elevator to her condo and as the elevator rises the same grey-skinned, black-eyed child stares at her – from every floor (especially since my building’s elevator has similar windows). There’s lots of use of suggestion to let you put all the pieces together in your head. And just a touch of gore – such as the discovery of a ripped out jawbone – and your mind fills in the hideous backstory. Great use of unearthly burping and rattling – or the wet slap of a bathed child running in the theatre’s rear sound channels.

As Ron would say monsters don’t scare him much – but if it’s just people and creepy stuff it’s totally unsettling. He also sees a parallel to these movies and Filipino ghost tales with ghosts being women with long black hair – and many times choking their victims with it. It is interesting that in many of these films the horror element is feminine instead of the masculine here in this country.

Oh and Sarah Michelle Gellar is such a beauty. I was never a big Buffy-head but am always charmed by her.

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