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Juon

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The Japanese horror movie that inspired 2004's underrated remake The Grudge, and because the original Japanese director was used, it is more or less the same.  It even shares some of the same scenes with the remake.  However, Juon uses an all Japanese cast in place of The Grudge's American main characters lost in a Japanese setting and doesn't give into the Hollywood sensibilities the remake sometimes does.  On the other hand, Juon has a more splintered, anachronistic feel than The Grudge's more streamlined, slimmed down plot.  In Juon, the movie unfolds with a series of "episodes" that focus on different sets of characters each time as they encounter the curse at different points in time.  Juon also explains things that weren't present in the remake.  But no matter which version you choose, both are just as equally terrifying, and both never give in to extravagant special effects or gore.  Review edit:  After viewing the original Japanese version a second time, I've become even more impressed with the way it sets up its situations.  I've also noticed that it doesn't use the typically American tradition of having a "sting" inserted in the music whenever something creepy happens but rather just has the scares play out naturally.  I'm also finding the boy Toshio even creepier than before.  Without the American version's overused meowing, Japanese version Toshio creeps us out purely on the strength of his mannerisms and his lifeless eyes, making him that much more effective.  Overall I find Juon to be thoroughly more terrifying than the remake.  However, the remake has its strengths as well.  Japanese language with English subtitles  Grade: A

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