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Japan, 2002 (MIFF 2003, Regional Focus)

Director: Takashi Shimizu

Under the supervision of Ring and Ring 2 writer Hiroshi Takahashi, newcomer Takashi Shimizu has directed a supernatural hit that has gone box-office ballistic in his home country. Sharing an approach with the Ring films, The Grudge is not reliant on overblown effects but the creation of terrifying atmospheres, shadows moving in dark corners and terrors glimpsed out of the comer of the eye.

Japanese legend has it that a man who dies in a fit of rage leaves behind a malevolent presence that nests in his home; a contaminant that plagues all those that come in contact with it. When Rika, a social worker, pays a visit to an infirm elderly woman she finds the house in disarray and the woman paralysed by shock. Moving forward and backward in time, the horrific events that came to pass are seen impacting on subsequent visitors, particularly a police detective that abandoned the case and quit the Force to preserve life and sanity. Leaving a trail of cataleptic, self-mutilating victims, the grudge spreads like a pool of blood. Already slated for a Hollywood re-make by Sam Evil Dead Raimi.

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