Now the Japanese version is terrifying! And the American version is too. This was my first viewing of the American one, and I have to admit to some jumping.
Similar to "The Ring" and "One Missed Call", two other excellent Japanese horror stories, the plot is based around a terrible death in a house in Japan, a curse and a Chinese-whispers-esque/domino effect resulting in the inevitable pile of corpses.
True to the style of the Japanese original, the remake of "The Grudge" keeps the terrifying can-come-out-of-anywhere ghost with straggly hair (an onryō ghost, Wikipedia tells me). Usually, seeing all ruins the effect, but this film is truly haunting, even if it does show you all the details.
I'm a Sarah Michelle Gellar fan, so naturally I was pleased with her performance as care worker Karen. And it's always nice to see Ted Raimi.
The child ghost Toshio (Yuya Ozeki) is absolutely terrifying in a very sad way. And naturally Kayako (Takako Fuji) is the stuff of nightmares as the vengeful female ghost.
The special effects are awesome and will keep you on the edge of your seat. While I prefer the Japanese original, this remake did everything right. Scary stuff!
[Picture: Ghost House Pictures]