Why is the Grudge "the number one film in America"? Sarah Michelle Gellar sleepwalks through the entire film. She isn't given any real acting job to do except look scared. This is another example of a foreign film that was fine in the first place but we had to "re-make" it with a bigger budget and more special effects so we could make some big money off of it. Its funny to note that the same director was used for the english speaking version as the Japanese version.
Part of the problem is also the fact that American audiences are not sophisticated enough to appreciate foreign films in their orginal language with subtitles or even dubbed. What really galls me is when you watch a news format or reality TV show where the talking head is speaking english with an accent and they subtitle it for people who apparently are too mentally deficient to understand an australian or british accent. But I digress, back to THE GRUDGE.
Another point of annoyance is the fact that this movie universe makes all its own rules and has no boundaries whatsoever. A good horror or sci-fi film will establish rules and follow them. This adds credibility and a clear plotline. For example, we know vampires are repelled by garlic. They can only come in to your home if they are invited (in some film versions). They can be killed with a wooden stake to the heart. They can't see themselves in the mirror, etc, etc. All good films of this genre establish the rules, the reasoning, and then the boundries. This way we have a feeling that the main character has a chance at "beating" the ghoulie or bad guy or overcoming the situation they are in.
Films nowadays take the cheap and easy road and there is no real clear reasoning behind the phenomenons which are occuring. We know in THE GRUDGE that whenever a horrible evil happens, the spirits released during the bloodleting are very angry and vengeful and rooted to the evil place. This is a good start. Here's where it begins to fall apart. Why are only the son and the daughter haunting the people in the film? What about the evil father who killed them both? Why is the son nice most of the time and scary as hell the rest of the time? Why is the mother always scary and why is she the one that kills other people? Why does the boy merge with the cat at times? How come the evil is able to travel outside the home? Why is it mad at these people who did nothing wrong? Why didn't the demon lady kill the whacked out mother or Sarah Michelle the first time she encounters it? Can it be stopped? Can it be killed? How? Leaving all of this up in the air is the equivalent of soap operas leaving themselves the ability to change the characters on a daily basis, killing, resurrecting, rekilling, shifting their ages, and generally putting them in any situation they feel will make people watch it. Its a cheap way of writing a script.
Why it works is beyond me. People just want to be creeped out and made to jump when they are watching films like this in a dark theatre. Contrast this with a film like THE FORGOTTEN which yes I will agree played out like a long form episode of the XFILES, but nonetheless had rules, reasonings, and explanations behind the characters and what they were doing. There was a clear conclusion at the end and relatively reasonable route to get to that conclusion.
What really needs to happen to pump up the horror genre is a little more originality. We keep seeing remakes and sequels and parodies of already successful films which just don't have the quality of the originals in most cases. Hollywood's goal should be to make movies rather than re-make them.