Dear Non English Speaking Director of THe Grudge who isn't sam Raimi but will now be called Sam because I don't care enough to find your name even though Maddie gave me the link and I don't want to change the "Sam"'s to some crazy Japanese name,
It is common sense that, when producing a film, one must choose a small array of thematic elements which guide the viewer deeper into a movie. The more elements, the more work the direct has to do to keep them straight and coherent in the mish-mash of a movie. This is why The Ring, albeit a bad scray movie, is far superior to The Grudge. Which is sad, because you stole all the stupid from The Ring
The Ring had the video tape and the characteristics of said video tape to guide the viewer. While there were, indeed, many elements to keep straight- the mirror, the horse, the fly etc etc. -but each in context of a creepy little girl filing a creepy little video work to keep the viewer enthralled; so much so, in fact, that it is possible to ignore the gaping plot holes - the shrewd structuralist (or maybe postmodernstructuralist) would interpret as plot "rings"
The Grudge on the other hand has many, many inconsistencies that - on the surface - tie into the house, but really have nothing to do with the house, or the plot for that matter. First, the imagery of the hair. We are first introduced to this in the credits which are easily the coolest part of the movie. The hair pops up two more times, one when the catatonic (not really), demented (maybe) woman bites the dust and the end when the movie "resolves." As near as I can tell, the hair is just a creepyt, well digitzed effect that shows that the demony-thing can grow lots of hair. It was no instrument of doom, no key plot/theme element. That is one.
Then there's the cat. Why does the boy meow like a cat? Creepy, yes - but he has no mythological cat characteristics. Cats have been said to steal souls while people sleep. Excellent opportunity to show some mythological flair, but Sam.... what did you do? The boy does nothing cat like... he just meows before something creepy happens. I meow when I attack kiss my girlfriend, am I creepy? Sure, the cat died in close proximity to the boy but this does not justifiy the cat becoming the boy.... What does that mean?
The house. Apparently Sam, as you state in through Nakagawa, angry people that die leave their stain on a place. That stain blah blah people die when they enter the house. Why don't all the characters die in the house? Are we to believe that the house has iky doom tentacles that can use telephones and impersonate loved ones to get characters to open does? And if this "doom house" can impersonate people and leave it's own foundation why can't it just pass through the door and killify with little regard for law or linoleum?
The death rattle. This was the best part, but poorly used in the last half. Oh sam! The potential you raped. The best part of a thriller is the subtle negative reinforcement that comes with stimulus followed by icky condition. At first where there is rattle there is evil creepy scray bit that happens. You used htis exquisitely in the train scene with the bike rider and the creepy reflection. But, you could have used it when you used the same sound for the computer. Then the end, Sam, the end. There was no music, only rattle, scream, rattle, scream etc. Now, when you present the stimulus so damn much we lose the conditioning. The stimulus ceases to be scary and quickly runs to to join the rejects with the taped-together glasses in the "annoying" corner.
The high pitched whine that's almost like a TV blaring. What did this mean, Sam? Did you think, "Oh Fuck Yeah! I'll give my viewers a headache.. for realism! It'll be great!" No Sam, no. Bad Sam.
Now I hate to pull out the big guns, Sam, but I need to. The opening of the movie states that the anger lingers when people die with strong anger (which you then add on to this "great sorrow" thank you Nakagawa so you can cover your dumb ass). Now, would the victims be angry? No. They, as the movie shows in a really choppy quasi-action, quasi-flashback scene, are quite surprised when they get killed by the angry husband. How did I know he was furious? Well.... it could be the three knuckle cracking shots, the nostril flaring, the extremely murdering of his wife, child, and cat. So, one would assume that the father's "spirit" or waht have you would being doing the post-mortem Rambo act, but no. It's the child and mother that mangle and mange (that's a cat disease, Sam). So, waht gives? You seem to have broken the one rule you set and don't replace it in any great flare. Oh sure, Nakagawa says "Great anger or sorrow" in his little "let's-advance-the-plot" tirade at the sexy, sexy,
OHHH that's right.. the father kills Nakagawa. Drowns him in the tub. Yeah that's fine... it didn't come out of left field at all - you know... given that the killer seemed to be either Catboy or Watter-Logged-Moma (who didn't drown, by the way, but was stabbed and mangled - but I'm sure you knew that, Sam). But then there's Yoko. Why did she kill Alex? She had nothing to do with the curse. That was kinda weird, a little off theme.
Let's see if I can get this straight.... So there's a house with a curse that kills people. Well, there's a mother and a son... and a cat...in a house that kill people. Wait, wait.. a very sorrowful mother and very sorrowful boy and very sorrowful cat in a house that kills people. No... wait... A very angry father who kills the very very sorrowful mother and very sorrowful boy and very sorrowful cat in a house that kills people.... expect the ones that kill themselves. So.. wait wait.... A very angry father who kills the very very sorrowful mother and very sorrowful boy and very sorrowful cat in a house that might kill you unless you're really depressed over the very angry father who kills the very very sorrowful mother and very sorrowful boy and very sorrowful cat.
I get it! That's where the sorrow comes from! This movie is abuout how depressed ghosts kill other people for not being depressed and the depressed people kill themselves because they nondepressed people they know get killed by the depressed ghosts. Well, that's a great movie plot right there. Why didn't you just say so!
I think what is really going on here is that we need to remember that you directed Darkman (all three) and produced The Evil Dead (which is a great movie for radically different reasons than you'd like). THat way, we'll stop seeing your crap movies. I want my $8.00 back.
William J. Ringland
Potential spoliers, but the movie isn't good enough for you to worry about spoilers.