Vampires, demons, serial killers and ghosts — it just wouldn’t be a Sarah Michelle Gellar vehicle if people weren’t screaming with terror and getting killed. “The Grudge” is no exception.
Based on the Japanese horror flick “Ju-on,” “The Grudge” centers on a cursed house and what happens to every poor sap who ends up inside it. Gellar plays Karen, an aspiring social worker who fills in for a co-worker to care for a catatonic woman in the super-creepy house. Having entered the house, she’s touched by the curse and becomes caught in a nightmare the likes of which should scare the bejesus out of moviegoers.
“I like movies that stick with you,” Gellar explained when asked why she often leans toward the dark side of moviemaking. “And I like characters where women get to do something, where women are active, where women drive a story. And this is a genre where women get the opportunity to really do that.”
“Spider-Man” director Sam Raimi took the producer reigns on “The Grudge” and came equipped with horror-movie street cred given that he helmed the cult classic “Evil Dead” trilogy. After seeing “Ju-on,” Raimi knew immediately he wanted to help bring the film to a new audience.
“It was the most terrifying movie I’d seen in like 10 years,” Raimi said. “I asked the Japanese director, Takashi Shimizu, if he would direct the American version of this — not changing anything, still shooting in Japan, with him directing, his crew, but now with an American cast so an American audience might be more able to appreciate it” (see “Sarah Michelle Gellar Lives Her Own ’Lost In Translation’ On Tokyo ’Grudge’ Set” ).
Co-star Jason Behr may have had reservations about the language barrier, but he believed in the project from the beginning. “I knew what Shimizu was capable of doing,” the actor said. “I could see his ability and talent in [’Ju-on’]. I figured that with Sam Raimi on board … you know Sam’s been telling some really amazing stories for a long time. He knows good stories and good storytellers, that’s why he wanted Shimizu to stay on and tell this one. We as the actors might have needed a translator to understand his vision, but I don’t think the audience would.”
That’s because for Shimizu, it’s simple no matter what language you use. “A scary movie is like a roller-coaster ride,” the director said. “You know it’s completely safe, but you go in for the thrill. I want people to enjoy ’The Grudge’ like the haunted house at the amusement park.”
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