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Yuurei Yanagi, Chiaki Kuriyama, Hitomi Miwa, Asumi Miwa
|27th October 2006|
|Ju-on begins with a primary school teacher deciding to visit the parents of a perpetually truant student. He finds the boy left alone in his house, surrounded by junk and covered in cuts and bruises. While he waits for the parents to come home, we are treated to a series of poorly-structured flashbacks of the various grizzly fates that befell the boy's family and pretty much anyone who visits the house.
Japanese horror moves are currently very much in vogue, often hailed as a different take on old ideas and a breath of fresh air and indeed, the sequel/remake of Ju-on is currently scaring up a storm in Japanese cinemas. However, Japan is also not beyond knocking out trashy half-baked fodder too, and it is this category which Ju-on sits squarely in. As a made-for-TV movie, the lack of real quality is readily apparent, not least in the film stock itself, which looks very much like any run of the mill Smap-starring TV drama. The acting is also wooden, a problem compounded by the often clunky dialogue which gives the impression most of the characters are of equal intelligence to the primary school kid.
The horror is, as you'd expect, derived from slow tension and unsettling ghosts rather than jumps and gore. However, a couple of nice touches aside, it simply fails to scare. In fact, it falls into the trap of occasionally being so weak that you just sit there with a puzzled look on your face wondering if you are superhumanly immune to fear, or if what you are watching is crap. It's the latter.