It never forgives. It never forgets. Takashi Shimizu’s 2004 film, The Grudge, is about a young American nurse named Karen Davis, (played by Sarah Michelle Gellar) living in modern day Tokyo, Japan. She is tasked with caring for an elderly woman who lives in a mysterious house. Karen then encounters a vengeful spirit that curses all who enters the house. It stalks its victims, leading them to a horrific death. Karen must now find a way to break the curse before she is consumed by its wrath.
The Grudge is a beautifully shot and well thought out horror movie. The scares are simple but effective. The characters are relatable and grounded in reality. Although it was filmed in 2004, the CGI and special effects still hold up today.
The performance of Takako Fuji as Kayako, (or the vengeful spirit), is bone chilling and iconic. We only see the villain in brief glimpses throughout the film. But once you see her, there is no way you can unsee her.
She staggers and crawls towards you with deadpan eyes. You can hear her bones cracking and her throat croaking. Her appearance and jarring movements invokes a visceral fear that truly makes Kayako a one of a kind horror movie villain.