Grudge 3 (The) [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - America - Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Jeremiah Chin (11th July 2009).
The Film

Even though John Landis is often credited as the founder of the horror-comedy with “An American Werewolf in London” (1981), in that same year Sam Raimi’s “The Evil Dead” broke on to the scene as a video nasty with comedic elements before going into full blown comedy with “Evil Dead 2” (1987), one of my favorite movies ever made. That sort of horror comedy style was synonymous with Sam Raimi horror movie, giving me a set of expectations going into the film. Unfortunately Raimi took time out to do the 3 “Spider-Man” movies (2002-2007) and hasn’t really touched his horror-comedy roots since “Army of Darkness” in 1993, until this year’s “Drag Me To Hell” (2009) which I highly recommend getting in to a theatre to see before it hits Blu-ray. But while Raimi was in the middle of this hiatus, he started throwing his money and name around on the title of various horror movies, the first being “The Grudge” (2004). Having my expectations about Raimi and horror, I went into the theatre looking for a comedy and I found a beautifully unintentional comedy that relies so heavily on the sort of jumping from around the corner scares that it just adds to the hilarious lack of tension.

Remade from the Japanese film “Ju-On” (2003), this Americanization of the film focuses on a bunch of people from the good ol’ U.S. of A living in Japan, while having to deal with some freaky Japanese hauntings. Karen Davis (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is a nurse/caretaker who is hired to work in a mysterious house, caring for Emma Williams (Grace Zabriskie) who has some mental and physical conditions that prevent her from caring for herself. After working there for a short time, Karen discovers a pair of bodies in the attic belonging to Matthew and Jennifer Williams (William Mapother and Clea DuVall), Emma’s son and his wife, who have been visited and apparently killed by the curse of the house. Karen decides to investigate after speaking with Detective Nakagawa (Ryo Ishibashi) who reveals that all of his detective friends have died trying to investigate the strange occurrences surrounding this house. Everyone has been haunted by the ghost of a long haired woman who makes a croaking death noise as well as a little kid who meows. Oh and Bill Pullman jumps off a roof in the opening scene of the film.

The plot is told in a non-linear manner, which may help to add to the comedy by making the movie a bit more confusing, but also helps to keep the film moving. My biggest problem with Takashi Shimizu’s directing is his dependence on the jumping in scares without giving enough payoff in the scenes. Just having the image of Toshio (Yuya Ozeki) popping in every now and then to appear in the windows of an elevator or meow like a cat (apparently because he is possessed by a cat ghost) is more comedic than scary, and helps make “The Grudge” one of the most unintentionally funny horror movies to have come out in the past while. Some of the scenes have been cut down to help keep it to a 'PG-13' level, which helps to add to the comedy as you get only brief glimpses of big mysterious elements of the story and make it a little more nonsensical.

What’s remarkable is that this movie acts as one of the perfect centerpieces for a game of six degrees of separation between three of the best TV shows ever; bringing Sarah Michelle Gellar of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1997-2003) into the same film with William Mapother, who played Ethan in “Lost” (2004-Present), and Grace Zabriskie, Sarah Palmer from “Twin Peaks” (1990-1991). In addition Ted Raimi pops up as he does in every Raimi producton, bringing his usual presence of comedy. Maybe the biggest surprise was Ryo Ishibashi who was a part of “Audition” (1999) and “Suicide Club” (2002), two of the more infamous, gory and awesome movies to come out of Japan. Their performances range from typical to over the top, and it seems like Shimizu was able to better communicate what he wanted from his Japanese performers rather than the Americans as some of the scenes just feel stiff or off, when I know that Sarah Michelle Gellar can actually act.

Overall “The Grudge” can be a fun and comedic experience if you give it the chance. As a pure movie it doesn’t work in a lot of ways, but as a bit of unintentional comedy it plays really well between the ridiculous noises and Toshio the cat-boy. Everything horrifying about long-haired Japanese women was scared out of me in “The Ring” (2002) and “The Ring Two” (2005) which are both amazing and better than people give them credit for. “The Grudge” on the other hand is funny in it’s own right and delivers in an unintentionally bad capacity more than anything elese.


Presented in 1080p 24/fps with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio and AVC MPEG-4 encoding, "The Grudge" turns out fairly well in high-definition, with only some battles with grain in the background or out of focus areas that aren’t too distracting. For the most part the colors come through well in good contrast, even in darker scenes which let the blacks and grays seem more natural for how prevalent they are in the film.


The film sounds fairly good in the English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track mixed at 48kHz/24-bit, there is also a French Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track also mixed at 48kHz/24-bit, bringing out the attemptedly eerie soundtrack and the throat popping noise of Kayako. The ambient noises that try to create tension in the film work fairly well in the sound mix and come through clearly. For the most part it’s a good sound mix that moves for a TrueHD track and works like it should in the sort of jumpy horror film that “The Grudge” creates.
There are English, English for the hearing impaired and French subtitles.


The Blu-ray comes with both "Theatrical" and "Unrated" cuts of the film, an audio commentary, an assortment of deleted scenes, a documentary, featurettes, short films, bonus trailers and BD-Live access.

The "Theatrical Cut" runs for about 91 minutes, while the extended runs for a little over 98 minutes, referred to on the packaging as an "Unrated Cut", a stupid marketing label, referred to in the menus as the ‘"Extended Cut" and in the audio commentary as a the "Director’s Cut". The video on this version doesn’t seem to be upgraded to 1080p, but rather just looks like an upconverted DVD. It adds a bit more story in, but doesn’t transform the movie into a masterpiece.

There are two audio commentary tracks for each version of the film:

The "Theatrical Cut" features audio commentary by screenwriter Stephen Susco, producers Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert as well as actors Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jason Behr, Clea DuVall, KaDee Strickland and Ted Raimi. It sounds like a crowded group for the commentary, but it ends up running mostly between Gellar, Behr and the Raimis, which is fine by me. Honestly the commentary is the main reason I was excited to review this movie, because every commentary Raimi did on the “Evil Dead” trilogy was hilarious and engaging. These don’t quite live up to that standard, but function as a good track about living in Japan, dealing with the style of director Takashi Shimizu, their different reactions of the film, covering up tattoos and more typical commentary talk. What I appreciated most was how they would joke about the ridiculousness of scenes, like the fingers coming out of the back of the head, asking why it would happen, but just writing it off as a fun scare. It lacks the Sam Raimi-Bruce Campbell banter that I grew to love from Raimi, but it’s still a fun addition.

For the "Director's/Extended/Unrated Cut" of the film, there is an audio commentary with director Takashi Shimizu, producer Taka Ichise and actress Takako Fuji, AKA the long haired girl who likes to pop up in doorways. The commentary is also in Japanese and has an automatic English subtitle track to go along with it, which does a good job of covering the dialogue and the voices are distinctive enough that you can tell who is saying what even though the subtitles don’t really make an indication. They make fun of Ted Raimi’s eating habits, praise for Sarah Michelle Gellar, and spend the majority of their time talking about the differences between Japanese and United States versions. There are some great quotes about things they have in Japan that we just don’t have here, like ‘They don’t squeeze the zokin?’

Next are the deleted scenes with optional audio commentary with director Takashi Shimizu, producer Taka Ichise and actress Takako Fuji in Japanese with English subtitles:

- “The Subway” runs for 1 minute and 4 seconds, Karen and her beau kiss, the trio talk about subway etiquette.
- “Seven Years Bad Luck” runs for 1 minute and 27 seconds, Karen and Doug go to school and kiss a lot while the trio talk about the rudeness of foreigners.
- “Karen Meets Emma” runs for 3 minutes and 3 seconds, Karen introduces herself to Emma, the trio talk about Karen running a bath without rinsing the tub.
- “The Bicycle” runs for 1 minute and 7 seconds, Matthew leaves the house and the trio points out a mystery shadow.
- “Call An Ambulance” runs for 1 minute and 6 seconds, Matthew goes to call an ambulance, the trio talk about how the scene runs a bit long.
- “Go Away” runs for 4 minutes and 20 seconds, Matthew sees cat shadows and gets attacked by Toshio, the trio talk about cat shadows.
- “The Investigation” runs for 1 minute and 17 seconds, Karen gets questioned by the police, the trio comment on how Karen looks too calm.
- “Gruesome Discovery” runs for 1 minute and 14 seconds, Emma gets loaded into the ambulance, the trio talk about editing out the coroner.
- “Yoko” runs for 5 minutes and 17 seconds, Yoko chats on the phone while cleaning, the trio talk about how the scene doesn’t work.
- “The Hospital” runs for 1 minute and 53 seconds, Karen checks out of the hospital, the trio talk about how the sceen may have been too stereotypical.
- “Susan’s Apartment” runs for 1 minute and 54 seconds, Susan gets freaked out in her apartment, the trio talk about the trouble of shooting the scene.
- “The Morgue” runs for 1 minute and 16 seconds, the detectives visit the coroner, the trio talk about cutting the coroner out of the film and the ease of the story.
- “Karen’s Apartment” runs for 3 minutes and 51 seconds, Doug tries to talk to Karen, they talk about how the scene wasn’t really appropriate.
- “The Police Station” runs for 1 minute and 34 seconds, Karen visits the police station, the trio talk about Gellar’s Japanese and volunteers.
- “Flashback after the Fire” runs for 3 minutes and 12 seconds, Karen torches the house and gets rescued, the trio talk about the reasoning of the film.

“A Powerful Rage: Behind the Grudge” serves as the main documentary for “The Grudge”, playable together for 48 minutes and 06 seconds, or broken down into 5 segements:

- “The Birth of the Grudge” runs for 9 minutes and 48 seconds, Raimi and Tapert talk about why they brought the work of Shimizu to the United States and the reasoning behind the remake. Gellar, Pullman and the other major players of the film chip in with different reasons for why they joined up with the cast.
- “Myth of the Ju-On” runs for 10 minutes and 58 seconds, here the major players in the film talk about what made the film so scary, the ideas behind the grudge, coupled with some hilarious footage of making different scenes with people popping out of nowhere and making funny faces.
- “Culture Shock: The American Cast in Japan” runs for 10 minutes and 39 seconds and deals with the principle actors from the United States and talking about how working and living in Japan was different, as well as the way the set differed. Again, more good behind the scenes footage of the film.
- “Designing the Grudge House” runs for 8 minutes and 34 seconds, the cast and crew discuss the impact of the set and scenery on the actors, both in their reactions to the story and the plot itself. More behind the scenes footage is thrown in with the discussion of the house’s constancy and presence in the film.
- “A New Direction: Understanding Takashi Shimizu” runs for 8 minutes and 7 seconds. This final segment deals with Shimizu’s style, something that doesn’t quite hit my horror mark and comes off as a little too pretentious for my taste. However the amount of behind-the-scenes footage is good, and rounds out a fairly well put together making of.

“Under the Skin” runs for 12 minutes and 26 seconds. This featurette is an extended discussion with Joseph LeDoux, professor of neural science and psychology at New York university, talking about the nature of te scare and fear generated by film. Intercut with clips from the film, the conversation holds back from being too academic or overly complex and gives a little bit of insight into the nature of the scare itself, though goes on a bit too long considering the subject matter is fairly well covered within the first few minutes.

“The ‘Grudge’ House: An Insider’s Tour” runs for 3 minutes and 58 seconds. This brief featurette plays some spooky music through a home-video quality camera recording of the home featured in the film, with a few clips of scenes from different rooms faded over, trying to create a spooky effect that makes the featurette more annoying than it should be for a quick, behind-the-scenes look.

“Sights and Sounds: The Storyboard Art of Takashi Shimizu” runs for 3 minutes and 13 seconds. This featurette is another spooky music coupled with insight, looking at some of the storyboards from the film with the film’s sound track playing over it, including dialogue and effects. It’s always interesting to see how some directors will storyboard their shots, but I would have also liked to see a side-by side comparison with the film since his storyboarding seems so meticulous and precise.

“Production Designer’s Notebook: The Sketches of Iwao Saitofeaturette runs for 2 minutes and 26 seconds. I’m always a sucker for production design glimpses, and this is a basic slideshow of some of the conceptual art for sets and designs in the film set to more creepy music. It’s really cool to see how well the concept art matches the different interior shots of the home for the film, though differing on a few scenes in terms of placement of bodies.

Next are the “Video Diaries” featurettes, split into two sections for two of the main actresses in the film:

- “Sarah Michelle Gellar” runs for 9 minutes and 2 seconds. Gellar goes around behind the scenes of the set talking with the different crew that you don’t really see on a set of a film. Everyone seems to be waiting on the set of the film for the director to show up on the film, Gellar provides some fun banter from behind the camera, poking fun at the director for being late, who shows up halfway through and apologizes profusely.
- “KaDee Strickland” runs for 13 minutes and 31 seconds. Strickland opts more for her view on Tokyo, having someone hold the camera and follow her through the city from her perspective. Strickland makes a lot of “this culture” statements while looking at different stores and landmarks within the Tokyo area, a fun look at her view on the city and culture, though a little too long for me.

There are two short films included on the disc, labeled as “Ju-On Short Films” apparently relating to the idea of a grudge beyond death but with different settings:

- “4444444444” runs for 2 minutes and 58 seconds, a Japanese man finds a phone ringing filled with the number four, answers to hear a cat noise on the other end of the phone, Toshio Shows up and he dies.
- “In a Corner” runs for 3 minutes and 23 seconds, two Japanese girls care for a rabbit until one gets cut and disappears, only to have Kayako pop up.

There are two bonus trailers:

- “Zombie Strippers” runs for 1 minute and 46 seconds.
- “Resident Evil: Degeneration” runs for 1 minute and 58 seconds.

Finally there's some BD-Live access for those with a profile 2.0 player.


The Film: C- Video: B+ Audio: A- Extras: B+ Overall: B-


Rewind DVDCompare is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and the Amazon Europe S.a.r.l. Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to,,,,, and . As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.