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The Grudge

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The Grudge
Theatrical release poster
Directed byTakashi Shimizu
Screenplay byStephen Susco
Based onJu-On: The Grudge
by Takashi Shimizu
Produced by
CinematographyHideo Yamamoto
Edited byJeff Betancourt
Music byChristopher Young
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • October 22, 2004 (2004-10-22)
Running time
91 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
  • English
  • Japanese
Budget$10 million[2]
Box office$187.3 million[2]

The Grudge is a 2004 American supernatural horror film directed by Takashi Shimizu, written by Stephen Susco, and produced by Sam Raimi, Robert Tapert, and Takashige Ichise. A remake of Shimizu's 2002 Japanese horror film Ju-On: The Grudge, it is the first installment in The Grudge film series. It stars Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jason Behr, KaDee Strickland, Clea DuVall, and Bill Pullman. Takako Fuji, Yuya Ozeki, and Takashi Matsuyama portray the characters Kayako Saeki, Toshio Saeki, and Takeo Saeki from the original films. The plot is told through a nonlinear sequence of events and includes several intersecting subplots.

The Grudge was released in North America by Sony Pictures Releasing on October 22, 2004, and grossed $187.3 million worldwide, and received mixed reviews from critics.



The Grudge is a curse, born when someone dies in extreme rage or sorrow, and lingers where the person dies. Those who encounter it will die, and the curse is reborn repeatedly, passing from victim to victim in an endless growing chain of horror.

In 2001, Kayako Saeki, a housewife in Tokyo, is in love with her college professor, Peter Kirk, obsessively writing about him in a diary. Her jealous husband Takeo discovers the diary, and believes Kayako is having an affair. In a fit of rage, he brutally murders her, their young son Toshio, and their pet cat Mar. After Takeo hides the bodies in the house, Kayako's ghost hangs him with her hair. After receiving a letter from Kayako, Peter visits the Saeki house only to find her and Takeo's corpses and Toshio's ghost. Shocked and horrified, he flees the scene and commits suicide the next day. The remainder of the Saeki family rises again as restless ghosts due to the curse, notably Kayako, who appears as an onryō.

In 2004, the Williams family from America moved into the Saeki house for Matt's job. While Matt is thrilled with the house, his wife Jennifer and dementia-ridden mother Emma feel uncomfortable, the former experiencing culture shock and feeling lost as she can't speak Japanese, and the latter sensing that something is wrong with the house. The curse quickly consumes Matt and Jennifer. Matt's sister Susan is also haunted, as the curse follows her back into her apartment. Yoko, a care worker, arrives at the house to find Emma alone before she encounters Kayako, who drags her up into the attic. Concerned about Yoko's disappearance, her employer Alex sends another care worker, Karen Davis, to take over the care of Emma. Karen discovers Toshio sealed up in a wardrobe at the house and later witnesses Kayako's spirit descending from the ceilings to claim Emma.

Alex arrives at the house and finds Emma dead and Karen in shock. He calls the police, who come with Detective Nakagawa. In the attic, Nakagawa and his partner Igarashi find Matt and Jennifer's bodies, along with a human's lower jaw. Meanwhile, Matt's sister, Susan, is pursued by Kayako around her office building. At home, Kayako attacks her and she vanishes. While leaving work, Alex is killed by Yoko's jawless corpse. Kayako begins haunting Karen, who informs her boyfriend Doug of the situation.

Karen researches the house, eventually confronting Nakagawa, who explains that the curse consumed three of his colleagues investigating the Saeki deaths. That night, Nakagawa carries gasoline into the house to burn it down but is killed by Takeo. Karen races there after learning Doug has ventured to the Saeki house to look for her. She finds Doug paralyzed and attempts to flee with him. Kayako crawls down the stairs and latches onto Doug, who dies of shock. As Kayako closes in, Karen sees the gasoline and ignites it. Karen survives and in the hospital, she learns that the house also survived the fire. Visiting Doug's body, Karen realizes that Kayako still haunts her.





Takashi Shimizu, the director and creator of the original film, was hired to direct The Grudge, from a screenplay by Stephen Susco. Sam Raimi produced through its Ghost House Pictures banner, alongside Robert Tapert and Takashige Ichise.[3] Principal photography on the film began on January 26, 2004, with reshoots occurring in July 2004 in Tokyo, Japan.[citation needed] Sarah Michelle Gellar filmed her scenes in Tokyo within three months before returning for the reshoots.[4]



Box office


The Grudge was theatrically released in the United States by Columbia Pictures on October 22, 2004, and opened at 3,348 theaters.[5] The film generated $39.1 million in ticket sales in its first weekend (October 22–24), exceeding the expectations of box-office analysts and Sony Pictures executives.[6] Ticket sales declined 43% on the second weekend, earning $21.8 million.[7] It grossed $110.4 million in the United States and Canada, with $76.9 in other territories, for worldwide total of $187.3 million.[2]

Home media


The Grudge was released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on VHS, DVD, and UMD on February 1, 2005.[8] The film was released on Blu-ray Disc in the US on May 24, 2009.[9] The film made $9.24 million from DVD sales in its first week, debuting at #2 in the sales chart behind Ray.[10]

Critical reception


On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 41% of 163 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 5.1/10. The website's consensus reads: "There's some creepy imagery to be found, but not much in the way of logic or truly jarring scares."[11] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 49 out of 100, based on 32 critics, indicating "mixed or average" reviews.[12]

Roger Ebert of Chicago Sun-Times gave the film one star out of four, writing "I'm not sure how most of the scenes fit into the movie. I do, however, understand the underlying premise: There is a haunted house, and everybody who enters it will have unspeakable things happen to them." He criticized the fragmented time structure and said he "eventually lost all patience".[13] Brian Rentschler of Screen Rant gave an overall positive review but in the end, unfavorably compared the film to The Ring, writing: "Writer/director Takashi Shimizu (who also wrote and directed the original) does a decent job of setting the mood of the film and (to a lesser extent) developing the storyline, but to be so similar to a movie that came out only two years ago... it's a tough obstacle to overcome."[14]

Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "A convoluted plot makes it hard for the viewer to track the action and to become involved with any of the characters, including Gellar's perfectly nice, perfectly ordinary student. This makes it all the harder to go along with all the haunted house horrors that ensnare her". He ended his review with, "The Grudge is a fairly faithful adaptation of Shimizu's Ju-On, which in turn was based on his direct-to-video version, which in turn also spawned a direct-to-video sequel. More than anything, The Grudge suggests that it's time for Shimizu to move on.[15] Scott Foundas from Variety wrote, "Project might have been more successful if Shimizu had style and/or atmosphere to substitute for his canned scares, cardboard compositions and flaccid cutting".[16]


  1. ^ "The Grudge (15)". British Board of Film Classification. July 19, 2006. Retrieved October 28, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c "The Grudge (2004)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved January 23, 2020.
  3. ^ Dargis, Manohla (October 22, 2004). "A House Even Ghostbusters Can't Help". The New York Times. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  4. ^ Jenson, Jeff (October 8, 2004). "Sarah Michelle Gellar on The Grudge". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 24, 2020.
  5. ^ "Grudge opens on 3,348 theatres". Box Office Mojo. October 20, 2006. Retrieved October 20, 2006.
  6. ^ "The Grudge was expected to generate 20 million". Box Office Mojo. October 20, 2006. Retrieved October 20, 2006.
  7. ^ "Grudge tops box office". Box Office Mojo. October 20, 2006. Retrieved October 20, 2006.
  8. ^ "The Grudge Due 2/1". IGN. January 4, 2005. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  9. ^ McCutcheon, David (January 20, 2009). "The Grudge Curses HD". IGN. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  10. ^ "Ray and The Grudge top the DVD charts". MovieWeb. February 9, 2005.
  11. ^ "The Grudge". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved November 27, 2023. Edit this at Wikidata
  12. ^ "The Grudge". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  13. ^ Ebert, Roger (October 21, 2004). "The Grudge (2004)". Chicago Sun-Times.
  14. ^ Rentschler, Brian (November 19, 2004). "The Grudge Review". Screen Rant.
  15. ^ Thomas, Kevin (October 22, 2004). "Time to get over The Grudge". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  16. ^ Foundas, Scott (October 21, 2004). "The Grudge". Variety. Retrieved June 16, 2019.