Takashi Shimizu's theatrical thriller picks up themes and images from his direct-to-video JU-ON: THE CURSE aand JU-ON: THE CURSE 2 (both 2000), recycling and expanding on them to truly frightening effect. Like the others, it's divided into sections named for characters whose paths crisscross in a sunny, modern house in Tokyo's Nerima Ward; their interlocking stories are rooted in a ju-on ("curse") spawned by violent death and passed from person to person. It begins with "Rika:" 23-year-old Rika (Megumi Okina), an inexperienced home-care aide is sent on her first solo home-care assignment. She's to help Kazumi Tokunaga care for her elderly mother-in-law, Sachie (Chikako Isomura). Though neat from the outside, the house is a shambles within, and Rika overhears the apparently unresponsive Mrs. Tokunaga speaking to someone even though they're apparently alone in the house. A noise, like the crying of a cat, draws Rika into an upstairs room with a sleeping alcove that's been hastily taped shut. Inside she finds a cat and a silent, battered-looking boy (Ryota Koyama), whom she later persuade to identify himself. His name, he says, is Toshio. While waiting anxiosuly for her supervisor, Rika learns that her vague feelings of something wrong in the house are more right than she could ever have imagined. In "Katsuya," high-strung stay-at-home wife Kazumi Tokunaga (Shura Matsuda), exhausted because her mother-in-law's nocturnal restlessness keeps her up all night, has a terrifying encounter with Toshio while her husband, Katsuya (Kanji Tsuda), is at work. Katsuya's sister, "Hitomi" (Misaki Ito), has her own terrifying run-in with the grudge, first at work and then in the illusory safety of her apartment. "Toyama" begins with Rika's supervisor coming to the house, where he finds Rika in a state of shock. He calls the police, who find Kazumi and Katsuya's bodies in the attic and learn that Hitomi is missing. Detective Nakagawa (Hirokazu Inoue) investigates the house's haunted history, which begins with the Saeki-family murder-suicide three years earlier: Takeo Saeki (Takashi Matsuyama) killed his wife, Kayoko (Takako Fuji) in a jealous rage; their five year old son, Toshio, was never found. Nakagawa's inquiries lead to Detective Toyama (Yoji Tanaka), one of four policemen who investigated the original crime. He's the only one not dead or missing. Reluctantly forced to think again about the aura of evil that surrounds the house, Toyama tries to burn it down, but instead gets a terrifying glimpse of his daughter Izumi's (Misa Uehara) future. "Izumi" details her fate, and that of the three classmates — Saori, Ayano and a third girl — who visit to the haunted house on a lark. Finally, in "Kayoko," Rika's sister, schoolteacher Mariko (Kayoko Shibata), pays a home visit to a student who hasn't been coming to class. The little boy's name: Toshio. Rika rushes to the house in hopes of saving her sister, but the malevolent power of the grudge is inescapable. Shimizu generates a sense of palpable dread in each segment, expertly manipulating tried-and-true scare tactics supplemented by a truly inspired use of spooky sound effects.
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 2002
- Rating: R
- Review: Takashi Shimizu's theatrical thriller picks up themes and images from his direct-to-video JU-ON: THE CURSE aand JU-ON: THE CURSE 2 (both 2000), recycling and expanding on them to truly frightening effect. Like the others, it's divided into sections named f… (more)