Long before the first Hollywood remake and sequel directed by Takashi Shimizu, the manga remake by Miki Rinno, and the manga's English translation by Dark Horse, "Ju-on" was simply Shimizu's successful Japanese movie series. From the Japanese "Ju-on" series to the American "The Grudge" series, he is the common denominator for the world-renowned franchise's pioneer offerings.
Shimizu shot the first two direct-to-video films of the Japanese series, the first two theatrically released films of the Japanese series, and the first two films of the American series. For the second sequel, technically the third film in the Hollywood franchise, he opted to work as a producer for the project. The production for the fourth film was announced in 2011.
A Summary of the Japanese "Ju-on" Series
The original Japanese series produced four pioneering films. The first two were "Ju-on," also called "Ju-on: The Curse," and "Ju-on 2, " also called "Ju-on: The Curse 2." These were direct-to-video movies both released in 2000. They were followed by a remake meant for theatrical release titled "Ju-on: The Grudge," which premiered in cinemas in 2002. A sequel titled "Ju-on: The Grudge 2" followed a year after.
Although he also directed the first two movies of the American series, Shimizu decided to move on to new projects after the fourth film of the Japanese franchise. The 2009 films "The Grudge: Girl in Black" by Mari Asato and "The Grudge: Old Lady in White" by Ryuta Miyake were helmed by other directors. Shimizu retained the credit for the story and also served as supervising producer for these projects.
"The Grudge" (2004)
"The Grudge" (2004) is the first American remake of the franchise. This first Hollywood "Grudge" follows the same basic plot as the Japanese series. This time an American exchange nursing student based in Tokyo discovers the infamous curse that consumes anyone who enters the haunted house. Soon, she and the rest of the cursed individuals had to contend with their horrific deaths.
"The Grudge 2" (2006)
"The Grudge 2" (2006) is the American series' second movie, serving as the sequel to the franchise's American remake. It uses a different storyline but originates from the same basic premise. "Grudge 2's" story centers on the journey of an American woman who goes to Tokyo to bring her cursed sister back to the United States. Soon, she finds herself also chased by the curse. This evil force continues to spread not only in Tokyo, but also in America.
"The Grudge 3" (2009)
"The Grudge 3," the third movie in the American series, serves as the second sequel to the Hollywood franchise. It is the first direct-to-DVD offering. This film, directed by Toby Wilkins, tells the story of a young Japanese woman who attempts to save the people currently haunted by the curse. She also struggles to stop the curse once and for all.
"The Grudge 4"
Announced in August 2011 as Hollywood's follow-up project for the long-running franchise, "The Grudge 4" will serve as the fourth film of the series. According to producers, this will be a remake coming from the original Japanese series. The production is set to introduce a brand new storyline for this reboot.
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- Takashi Shimizu