The Grudge is a 2004 American supernatural horror film, and is the first installment in the American horror film series of the same name. It is a remake of the Japanese film Ju-on: The Grudge. The film was released in North America on October 22, 2004 by Columbia Pictures, and was directed by Takashi Shimizu (director of the original series) while Stephen Susco scripted the remake. In the same tradition as the original series, the plot of the film is told through a non-linear sequence of events and includes several intersecting subplots. As the first film in The Grudge series, it has spawned two sequels: The Grudge 2 (which was released on October 13, 2006), and The Grudge 3 (which was released on May 12, 2009), as well as a new film which will soon go into production as a planned reboot of the series.
The Grudge describes a curse that is born when someone dies in the grip of a powerful rage or extreme sorrow. The curse is an entity created where the person died. Those who encounter this evil supernatural force die and the curse is reborn repeatedly, passed from victim to victim in an endless, growing chain of horror. The following events are explained in their actual order, the film showing them in a non-linear narrative. The Saeki family lived happily in suburban Tokyo, but housewife Kayako Saeki fell in love with her son's teacher Peter Kirk, obsessively writing about him in a diary. However, her husband Takeo discovered the diary, believing Kayako was having an affair, and went ballistic. Takeo proceeded to murder his wife by breaking her neck, and then drowns his young son Toshio to cover his tracks, along with the pet cat Mar. Takeo hides the bodies in the attic and closet, before seemingly committing suicide by hanging himself. Peter comes to the Saeki house to speak with Kayako, only to find her corpse and flees the house, committing suicide the next day before his girlfriend. But, due to the rage the family felt, they rise again as ghosts, notably Kayako who appears as an onry? ghost. Several months after the Saeki family die, the Williams family move in from America. While husband Matthew is thrilled with the house, his wife Jennifer and dementia-ridden mother Emma feel uncomfortable in the house. Jennifer is quickly consumed by the curse, Matthew returning home to find the place a mess and meets the same fate as his wife. Yoko, a careworker, arrives at the house to find Emma alone, assuming Matthew and Jennifer are at work. She hears noises from the attic and investigates, only to encounter Kayako who drags her up into the attic by her bottom jaw. Concerned about Yoko's disappearance, her employer Alex Jones sends another careworker Karen Davis to take over the care for Emma. At the house, Karen finds Emma alone, but is shocked when she finds Toshio and Mar in the taped up closet, contacting Alex for help. Returning to Emma, Karen witnesses Kayako emerge from the ceiling and kill Emma. Alex arrives at the house and summons the police, including Detective Nakagawa. Nakagawa and his partner Igarashi explore the house, finding the bodies of Matthew and Jennifer in the attic along with Yoko's bottom jaw. Matthew's sister Susan becomes a victim of the curse, as does Alex when visited by Yoko's jawless ghost. Karen begins to be haunted by Kayako herself, informing her boyfriend Doug of the situation. She researches the origins of the house, eventually confronting Nakagawa who explains three of his colleagues investigating the Saeki deaths all were consumed by the curse. That night, Nakagawa goes to the house and tries to burn it down using petrol, but is lured to his death by Toshio and Takeo. Karen races to the house upon learning Doug has ventured there, experiencing a realistic flashback where Peter visits the house and finds Kayako's corpse. Finding herself back in the present, Karen finds Doug and attempts to flee the house with him, only to witness Kayako drag herself down the stairs and she kills Doug. Karen spots the petrol and manages to ignite it, partially damaging the house. Karen is whisked to hospital, but learns the house still stands. Visiting Doug's body, Karen realises she is still haunted by Kayako, who appears behind her to consume her.