Why Grudge Fans Are So Excited About Netflix's Ju-On: Origins

There's nothing quite like an extra spooky haunted house story. In 2020, American audiences got yet another attempt to reboot one of the best horrifying home tales in recent memory with The Grudge. The movie, which draws inspiration from the 2002 film by Japanese horror icon Takashi Shimizu, Ju-On: The Grudge, was a flop with critics and fans of the original movie alike.

While Ju-On: The Grudge was a genuinely terrifying and fresh take on the haunted house genre, the 2020 version just felt like a rehash of old tropes that failed to add anything new. It was a disappointment for fans of the franchise, who have seen a number of lackluster sequels, reboots, and remakes in the decades since the original entry debuted.

A few months after The Grudge hit cinemas, Netflix made a surprise announcement: on July 3rd, 2020, they will bring to our screens a new Japanese series based on the franchise, titled Ju-On: Origins (via Anime News Network). Considering the series' inconsistent quality, the announcement likely fell on many skeptical ears. However, that all changed on May 11th, when Netflix dropped the trailer for the upcoming show. For many fans, this brief glimpse of what the streaming platform has in store is enough to convince them that the franchise is getting back on track.

What fans are saying about the Ju-On: Origins trailer

The trailer for the upcoming Ju-On: Origins series may only be a minute and a half long, but it's been enough to give many fans confidence in the upcoming show. While remaining minimal on plot details, the trailer contains many spine-tingling hints of the horrors that are in store for us when the episodes drop on July 3rd.

In the comments, fans were effusive with their praise. One commenter raved, "Netflix has saved The Grudge Franchise... The movie that came out at the beginning of this year was bad but this right here is what I'm excited for."

Another echoed their sentiments, adding, "Juon is my favorite movie ever. So when I say I'm excited, it will be an understatement. This movie has influenced my childhood, my filmmaking career, everything! I am so excited for this. Thank you Netflix."

Many of the comments declared that Netflix was saving the franchise and bringing back the unnerving chills that made the original movie so good and so freaking scary. While most of us are familiar with the original Ju-On, its American remake, and the sequels to the remake, there are actually many more movies in the Ju-On Cinematic Universe. And sadly, most of them aren't great.

How the Ju-On franchise became so popular

Although most people think that the series got its start with the 2002 Japanese film Ju-On: The Grudge, that movie was actually the fourth entry in the franchise. The groundwork was laid by two short films about ghosts terrifying young women in Tokyo, titled "Katasumi" and "4444444444," which first aired on Japanese TV in 1998. Those shorts were followed by two more made-for-TV movies, Ju-On: The Curse and Ju-On: The Curse 2. After the popularity of those films, franchise creator Takashi Shimizu decided to make a big-screen entry to the series, which was Ju-On: The Grudge. The movie centers on a house in Tokyo haunted by the same malevolent spirits that appeared in the previous films. While technically a sequel, the non-linear narrative allows the movie to function both as a follow-up and a stand-alone story.

The movie was a huge hit, thanks to its genuinely terrifying ghosts and innovative approach to storytelling, instantly becoming an iconic entry into the Japanese horror canon. Many in the west became familiar with the series when Shimizu was hired to direct an American remake, which turned into 2004's The Grudge. Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar as an American home health aid living in Tokyo, the remake told a similar story as the 2002 original. It wasn't as well received as the Japanese film that inspired it, but it was seen as a solid remake that competently introduced the franchise to the west.

Sadly, after the first spate of films, things mostly went downhill from there.

Why fans are desperate for another good entry into the Ju-On franchise

It should come no surprise given the popularity of the original films that a number of sequels were destined to follow. In the U.S., The Grudge has had three follow-ups, including 2020's The Grudge. None of them were well received by critics or fans of the franchise.

In Japan, seven films followed the release of Ju-On. These range from straight sequels, like Ju-On 2, to reboots and spin-offs, like the twin-movies Ju-On: White Ghost and Ju-On: Black Ghost. Most fans agree that none of the subsequent films in the series captured what made the originals so compelling. The Japanese franchise's last entry was 2016's bizarre Sadako vs. Kayako, which sees the ghosts from The Ring and The Grudge franchises crossover a la Freddy vs. Jason. While some enjoyed the campy nature of the premise, the movie was met with mediocre reviews, and was an obvious far cry from the chilling domestic horror that spawned both characters.

Given the promise of the original Ju-On films compared to the blah movies that followed, it's no wonder fans of the series are starved for another entry that brings it back to its bone chilling roots. Let's hope that Ju-On: Origins lives up to its creepy trailer.