This introductory chapter provides an overview of Ju-on: The Grudge (2002), which was written and directed by Takashi Shimizu. Ju-on: The Grudge was one of the key titles that helped launch the popularity of ‘J-horror’ at the turn of the millennium. It plunged audiences into Japan's rich supernatural folklore while tapping into universal fears in a very contemporary context. In this sense, not only is the film brimming with atmospheric tension and masterfully executed camera work, it is also rich with social commentary that inspires repeated viewings of the film, as well as the discovery of other titles in the Ju-on franchise. Although hailed as an important film and now recognised as a classic of the horror genre, Ju-on: The Grudge receives only a few pages or even a chapter in most books, but never enough space to examine the film in depth. Similarly, texts that attempt to address the role of Japanese folklore or traditional theatre in contemporary Japanese horror cinema—of vital importance in Ju-on: The Grudge—are often cursory and fail to describe the myriad ways these connections manifest on screen.
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