MOVIE REVIEW: Ju-On: The Beginning of the End (2014)
SINCE IT IS HUNGRY Ghost month, what better way to enjoy it if not by scaring yourself at night by watching the seventh instalment of the Ju-On franchise, Ju-On: The Beginning of the End? Honestly I have always been a fan of the franchise since it first started. Thanks to Takashi Shimizu, the creator of the franchise, it has become so famous that there is an American remake of it, The Grudge.
Like the previous Ju-On movies, it still has the usual factors which make it, well, another Ju-On movie:
1. Abnormally skinny, pale boy in his underwear: check.
2. Scary lady with long hair crawling on the floor: present.
3. Cat meowing: yup.
4. People dying horrible deaths after entering the cursed, haunted house: always.
For those who have never seen any instalments of the famous horror flick, let me enlighten you.
In general, the Ju-On movies revolve around the cursed house of the Saeki family in Nerima, Tokyo, where anybody who enters the house – even for a few seconds – will die horrible, gruesome deaths.
The curse was initially started by Takeo Saeki, a jealous, possessive and somehow psychotic husband who believed his wife, Kayako was having an affair with another man, after reading her diary where she writes her feelings for Shunsuke Kobayashi, their son Toshio’s teacher.
In truth, Shunsuke is happily married, and Kayako has not acted on her feelings.
Takeo doesn’t know this, but he becomes insanely angry and kills both wife and son. Because of the painful and gruesome nature of Kayako’s death, she then becomes a vengeful ghost, killing anybody who steps into her house.
There are more scenes in Ju-On that make Ju-On 3 look somewhat lighter and tamer by comparison, like disembowelment and a dead fetus, but I’ll let you discover that yourself.
For those who watched the previous instalments, you might still cringe if you remember the horrendous ways the victims die after stepping inside the house. My favourite (not that I’m sadistic or anything) is from Ju-On: The Curse (2000) where Shunsuke was killed by Kayako’s convincingly scary yet awesome ghost while visiting his student, Toshio, at home. The way she crawled down the stairs was so hideously scary it was good.
In Ju-On 3, Kayako claims her victims which consist of Toshio’s gentle, kind-hearted homeroom teacher (it always has to be the nice ones) and her boyfriend (the one who seems to have no direct connection with the Saeki family), and a bunch of high school teenage girls (I guess it is a norm to have teenage girls becoming the victims in every Japanese horror flick) and all of them die disturbing and horrible deaths.
In comparison, however, the previous instalments came out with pretty gruesome and epic deaths of the victims. For the latest one, although still quite scary, I have to say it is a bit less scary for the Ju-On franchise partially because I watched the previous ones while I was younger.
But I have to give credit to Kayako’s character for still looking convincingly scary in her partially normal appearance (no blood stains all over her but her face is still pale and spooky) and still managing to scare people even during the day.
Speaking of characters, unlike before where Toshio usually appeared when the victims were about to die or in flashbacks, we get to explore more of his background. The audience gets to understand why the child has always been aloof and distant. The plot might be a bit repetitive or like it’s a spin-off from the previous ones, but it is still good.
In addition to this, Ju-On 3 explains the mind-boggling things that I had always been wondering about all this while:
1. Why did Toshio always appear in his underwear?
2. Where did the cat meowing come from?
3. Why is Kayako’s body twisted?
Maybe some have already researched this information on the internet, but for those who have not, you’re going to leave the theatre less confused, but still petrified.
And one more thing; has anyone ever considered maybe bringing an exorcist to the house? For once, I would love to see the ghosts being kicked in the head for a change instead of the victims just standing there paralyzed with fear, since I think that could be something new to look forward to in the franchise.