I was never really a fan of the Ju-On series. If you hadn’t ever noticed, I have never reviewed The Grudge on this website (at the time fo this review) and it is because I was never motivated to share my opinion on such a mediocre film. In this film(s) case, this is brand new Grudge story, so I decided to tackle it and watch it in one sitting. On its own, the episodes within White Ghost and Black Ghost can be extremely short stories of their own, and it is clear that it may be the stronger of the two. This movie tells a story of revenge. Revenge by someone who blames her friend for neglecting her at a time she sought and needed her help. I won’t go into details but you’ll understand that once you’ve seen the movie. White Ghost then flip-flops back and forth between several characters and decides to let the audience try and figure things out for their own. To say I was lost a few times watching this is an understatement.
Now given that this movie is just an hour long, I won’t blame a viewer if he missed this part of the story. In just a matter of less than 3 minutes, you’ll see a scene of Atsuji caressing her sister Mirai, Mirai mentioning something about her underwear, and the ghostly grandmother somehow lusting for Atsuji. I think this film has a good frame work for a really good horror; just not enough was put in. Like I touched upon in the first paragraph, I personally, prefer White Ghost to Black Ghost, mainly because of the storyline which was more engaging and kept within its limits. Also, you can tell right off the bat that these two films didn’t get much of a budget, which is somewhat surprising considering how successful the series is internationally. In addition, the director is still promising a third Grudge movie for Japan, not to be confused with the American The Grudge 3, which wasn’t directed by Shimizu. Not confusing at all.
Ju-On fanatics may just appreciate these entries, but it just doesn’t generate enough scares for me to recommend. They continue very much in the fine tradition of suddenly appearing in ridiculous places, grabbing at characters, their black eyes wide and enthusiastic, making their trademark throaty clicking. 10 years after the original are we still spooked by these recycled tactics? The J-Horror staple of scares is to let the audience’s imagination do much of the work. I’ve been watching Asian films enough to know that, but what good is your imagination if you are bored to tears?
In conclusion, this film is only getting a review posting above the original western version because it is a new blu-ray release. If you were wondering about picture quality, well, Ju-on White Ghost Black Ghost has the shiny, overly polished look of high def video. Everything here is smooth, and supplements are aplenty. Aside from that, I can’t give much praise to this release. Also, what the heck with the old lady holding a basketball? Her appearance was just a gags. The only original ghost that appeared in this movie was Toshio, for a little five sec. Where is Kayako? Takeo? Ridiculous. If you’re a fan of the Ju-on series, you may want to rent this, otherwise, for everyone else this is a definite pass.