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Only ‘Grudge’ is against the confusing plot

Grade: C+

“The whole time I was in that house I felt something was wrong.”

Japanese director/writer Takashi Shimizu retools his 2003 film “Ju-On” (“The Grudge”) with new screenwriter Stephen Susco in the new hit scary thriller.

The plot begins well with helpful text descriptions. It quickly sets the stage for the first encounter/resolution before opening credits end.

The next sequence engages the audience into the subplots (What would make a man do that? Why won’t the elderly lady talk?), but then delves into flashbacks and a confusing, non-chronological timeline. The plot sets up a lot of genuine scares but is not as innovative.

The memorable special effects, disturbing visuals and creepy sounds make the film worthwhile. You’re not quite prepared with frightening video footage from a surveillance camera.

Season veterans of the thriller genre may not get an ideal amount of surprises. They certainly will remember the vivid imagery long after you’ve left the theater.

Shimizu uses visual cues, shot depth and perspective to set up the scares and environment as the characters are transplanted into Tokyo, and their involvement with a mysterious house with a disturbing history.

Sarah Michelle Gellar portrays Karen, a new student in Tokyo. However, all she finds are mysterious circumstances that lead to horrific ends. This fearless protagonist does not panic, though she is visibly and emotionally distraught from the chain of events.

Karen learns to face some unimaginable facts thanks to some insight from Detective Nakagawa.

Jason Behr (TV’s “Roswell”) plays Karen’s love interest, Doug, and William Mapother (“In the Bedroom”) and Clea DuVall (“Identity”) play the couple who previously lived in the house.

Bill Pullman has a small but important role as Peter. Ted Raimi, brother of famous director and “The Grudge” producer Sam Raimi has a supporting role as Alex, a coordinator who arranges house assistants for U.S. citizens living in Tokyo.

All the characters get directly involved with the mysterious house and must grapple with unique situations and premonitions.

The film has been a big hit this Halloween season, but should continue to do well through November. The film has a well-cast, marketable star, namely Gellar, and stellar co-producer, Sam Raimi (Evil Dead).

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