AT THE MOVIES WITH KASEY BUTCHER

I learned a very important lesson last weekend; never drink coffee before going to see a night showing of a horror movie. After doing so, even the ridiculous ones, such as The Grudge, seem scary.

The Grudge is a story based upon the Japanese belief that if a person dies in rage, their anger will stay on the place like a blemish forever, killing everyone who comes into contact with the place of death. The movie features Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as a young psychology student, Karen, is living with her boyfriend in Japan while he also attends school. One day, after another student, Yoko, fails to show up to work, Karen is sent to go visit her patient. This leads her to a creepy house on the outskirts of Tokyo. From the moment she steps inside, she can tell that not all is right there. Karen waits all afternoon and into the night for her patient’s son and daughter-in-law to arrive back home, but no one ever comes. Then, she sees something she cannot explain (the Grudge) and calls the police for some help. When the cops arrive, they find the bodies of the son and daughter-in-law in the house and, although she is not a suspect, Karen finds herself wrapped up in a life and death search to find out the truth behind the terrible thing that happened in that house and the curse that resulted.

As silly as the story is, it is still suspenseful and visually frightening. The Japanese really have found a niche for making really scary movies (Heads up, there is a sequel to The Ring coming our way in March 2005). Although I covered my eyes so frequently that I never actually saw the monster, my friend gave me a play by play of every moment that I did not see for myself. Thanks to her, I can tell the reader that the Grudge involves long black hair that turns into things, a creepy face, and a little cat-boy.

The movie, scary as it was, did feature some scenes that did not work. Things happened that did not seem continuous with the audience’s perception of what the Grudge was capable of. It is hard to believe that, having never done it before and never doing it again, the Grudge can eerily make a phone call and sound like anyone it wants to. The disgusting “thing” that shows up momentarily on the back of Sarah Michelle Geller’s head in the shower (as seen on previews) seems out of place and does not make much sense.

The surprising and frightening, however, out-weigh the silly and make The Grudge a somewhat stupid, but scary movie. Just be sure to drink decaf before going to see it.

The Waynedale News Staff

Kasey Butcher

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