“Ju-On: The Curse” is comprised of six vignettes. Each one centers around a different character, but the timeline between episodes is not always chronological. There is always some kind of connection between them, however, and this makes the film work on a deeper level. It’s not quite as common-sense as “Momento,” but that only adds to the replay value. The first episode, “Toshio,” will be recognizable to those who have seen “The Grudge.” It tells the story of a teacher who visits the home of a little boy who has been absent from school. While there, he discovers that the house may be haunted. While the American remake has very little interaction between this teacher and other characters, “The Curse,”in one of the most difficult scenes to watch, displays a disturbing connection between him and another, surprising, person. Other vignettes revolve around the house and those who live or visit there. Some are similar to scenes in the remake while others, such as a scene revolving around a character who is terrified of cats, will seem unusual to some Westerners unfamiliar with Japanese superstitions (And speaking of our feline-fearing friend, if you thought the first couple of minutes in the attic during “The Grudge” were scary, wait until you see this expanded version of the intro scene. It’s worse. Much worse.). The main difference between this film and “The Grudge” is one of quality: “Ju-On: The Curse” was shot directly on video. It is filmed as if it were a theatrical release (meaning there’s no jumpy “Blair Witch” action here), but the stark quality of the images makes it more visceral and accessible than any other of the other films in the series. The sharp camera work adds a voyeuristic quality that only adds to the creepiness of the film.
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