How odd. For the fourth entry in the Ju-On cycle, Takashi Shimizu, the director of the original Ju-On: The Grudge, has almost entirely ditched the muted ethos of the original in favour of a British Hammer Horror approach. “In America,” he says in the production notes, “people tend to be scared by a lot of blood and direct attacks.… In England people tend to fear evil and the source of darkness… Hollywood just doesn’t have the history of this type of expression of horror.” However you look at it, the original Ju-On The Grudge was scary as hell, and even the American remake (with Sarah Michelle Gellar) was pretty terrifying. But if you’re expecting more of the same with this follow-up then you are out of luck. Allied to this treatment is a self-reflexive plot – horror actress finds herself monstered in real life by all sorts of unpleasantness – which screams Scream. It’s not all bad. There are a couple of good shocks, which prove that Shimizu hasn’t completely lost his touch. But even so, it will take a real devotee of Hammer to clutch this beast close to the bosom.
© Steve Morrissey 2006