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Ju-On: The Grudge$
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Marisa Hayes

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781911325291

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781911325291.001.0001

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Nature of the Curse – Analysis

Nature of the Curse – Analysis

(p.45) Part Three: Nature of the Curse – Analysis
Ju-On: The Grudge

Marisa C. Hayes

Liverpool University Press

This chapter presents a detailed analysis of Ju-on: The Grudge (2002). The film's links to the revenge hauntings outlined in onryō tales are undeniable, yet it is also true that Kayako's angry ghost does not always adhere to the formula outlined in folklore for tormented spirits of her kind. In the most traditional sense of the term, Ju-on: The Grudge is a kaidan film: few would deny that a strange and ghostly tale is central to its plot. However, the film's contemporary setting and integration of various national and international cinematic influences make it much more than a straightforward period kaidan. As a result, Ju-on: The Grudge leaves an exciting trail of themes and visual motifs to explore, not least of which is a nonlinear narrative for viewers to untangle. By confounding several subgenres of horror and expanding the established codes of familiar tropes, Takashi Shimizu renders the possibility of neatly classifying the film null and void. To further complicate matters, alongside elements of American slasher films and the bakeneko genre, Shimizu expertly revisits the haunted house archetype and morphs it into a contagion narrative that features shades of Japanese disaster films, expanding the story well beyond the limits of the home, and symbolically, that of the haunted house genre.

Keywords:   Ju-on: The Grudge, revenge hauntings, angry ghost, tormented spirits, kaidan film, nonlinear narrative, Takashi Shimizu, haunted house genre, contagion narrative

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