Ju-On: Origins offers a more sinister and even more disgusting experience than the American adaptation of the story, “The Grudge”.
Do you have childhood fears still hauntiing you today? Well, despite I’ve grown old, the american adaptation of Ju-On/ The Grudge back in 2000’s still haunts me today. I’m 26 years old now so you can do the math. The theme of a terrifying -I mean really terrifying- ghost woman chases you to the end of the world and ultimately kills you have affected me deeply. And actually shaped my insight into the theme itself, Fear. I’ve searched for a decent picture of Kayako, the main ghost antagonist of the story before started this article. And even doing so was enough to make me uneasy. So, I believe I have expressed the impact of the movie on me well enough. So, what do I think about this different take of the curse?
May contain some major spoilers!
How ıs ıt dıffer from the movıes?
The main difference of Ju-On Origins from the Western adaptations is the series actually turns back to its roots. The whole cast consists of Asian actors as the story itself originates from Tokyo, Japan. So you can witness how the people of Japan would react when they encounter one of their cultural demons: The Onryo. To summarize, an Onryo (most of the time) is an unburied and vengeful spirit of a dead person, Chasing everyone who would encounter them until the end of the world and ultimately killling their victims no matter who they are. You can see how the characters are truly terrorized when they encounter The Woman in White or if they hear footsteps at night. Did I just said The Woman in White? Yes, this is the second huge difference.
THE ORIGINS OF THE CURSE ITSELF
Well, surprisingly enough for us the Western audience, the series does not include Kayako Saeki or her haunting sound. Instead, as you would learn the main source of the entire curse originates far, far back, to 1952. A pregnant woman was murdered inside the infamous house and her baby has been kidnapped after the murder.So, for years and years the vengeful and sorrowful spirit has been trying to reclaim her baby and seek revenge upon everyone who would inhabit her house. And this is where this origin story actually disconnects itself from both the movies back in 2000’s and the most recent one, from the adaptation of 2020.
In The Grudge, we have been told that the actual reason Kayako would become an Onryo when she died was she has been literally fed with evil souls by her mother throughout her childhood. Kayako’s mother was a kind of exorcist, but instead drawing the evil souls away, she decided to fed her own daughter with them. After Kayako has been brutally murdered by her husband, the unending curse has started. Throghout the movies the unending grudge of the ghost against everyone was the main plot. But according to Ju-On: Origins, the curse and the ghost have either been retconned or this was the original take of the curse. I believe in the latter.
THE WOMAN IN WHITE AND KAYAKO
I never thought I would say this but the Woman in White is more terrifying than Kayako. Kayako was my childhood trauma that is true, and her apperance and voice were horrifying. But this is literally how the series differ from the Western Movies. Unlike the movies, there is no cheap jump scares here. Instead, there is an unending tension in the air, always keeping you on your toes.
The simple, almost beatiful appearance of the ghost woman ( well, until at least a certain moment) makes everything even more disturbing. As I understood, this was the original take of the curse, just a woman in white without a name. She is the herald of your gruesome death, always watching over you. And she doesn’t even need to speak to scare you. She is just… disturbing.
Just like in the western adaptations, chasing and scaring the fuck out the people are not the only means the ghost is using to murder. She also manipulates them to act murder or commit violence against each other. But unlike the The Grudge movies, she does not mind control them or something. In most cases, she would only expose the true nature of the couples that inhabit her house, fueling their darker nature and fill them with grudge. And just as a “coincidence” the womans who live in her house are always pregnant, so she could try to claim their babies for herself.
I should also mention the estate agent of the series Mr. Sasaki. Sorry for the language but the bitch is the true reason why the curse is spreading at the first place. He is aware that everybody who had ınhabited the house met a terrifying end and he simply does not give a fuck. He claims the house is not haunted at all. Because nothing happened to him despite his numerous visits to the place. May be this is why you are still alive, bitch? You simply act as a conduit for the curse to spread so this is why the Woman In White had not murdered you, yet…
THE ABSURD AMOUNT OF GORE
I actually do not want to dive further into this subject, as it makes me uneasy despite talking about this is fun. But I should mention the absurd, stupid amount of gore the series include. If you decide to watch the series -to be honest you should,- prepare yourself for some disgusting moments in particular. And those moments would also make you understand better the true nature of the ghosts’ subjects, how gruesome acts they would enact if they have to.
In conclusion, Ju-On: Origins is a solid option as a horror series. Despite most of the society would find the J-Horror genre lame, this series in particular is worth to take a look.
Until next time, remember;
When someone dies in the grip of a powerful rage a curse is born.
You have to give a proper burial for those who passed beyond.