Give ear to my prayer, O God;
and hide not thyself from my supplication!
Attend to me, and answer me;
I am overcome by my trouble.
I am distraught
by the noise of the enemy,
because of the oppression of the wicked.
For they bring trouble upon me,
and in anger they cherish enmity against me.
My heart is in anguish within me,
the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
Fear and trembling come upon me…
Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.
The unfortunate characters in Takashi Shimizu’s would have done well to have uttered the Psalmist’s prayer, each of them falling victim to the ghost of a victim who had died with unalloyed rage. The film opening scene leaves you guessing how it fits into the rest of the picture— Peter (Bill Pullman) wakes up in bed with his sleeping wife, looks upon the day from his balcony, and—well, this is but the first of a series of shocks. Sarah Michelle Gellar is Karen, sent by an agency to an American family in Japan as a substitute care-giver for the elderly mother of an American family renting a house in Japan. She finds neither the family nor the person she is to replace—just the almost comatose patient. As she looks through the house, the music and the way the camera moves sends shivers up our spine. When she finds a hatchway to an attic we definitely want to shout to her not to go up there. We have seen all too many such horror films. There is a suicide. The haunted house is also visitied by a realtor, a pair of detectives investigating the disappearance of the original caregiver, and of course, the couple now renting the haunted house—and various horrible things happen to them, which when pause to think about it, might make us wonder why news of all the gruesome happenings in the house hasn’t gotten around more. Despite this, the film is truly scary. Although Hollywood each year remakes a foreign film, it is rare, as with this one, that the original director gets to make the American version. At the beginning of the film there is a title frame in which we are told that when a person dies amidst violent rage a curse is born in the place which will descend upon all who come there. Thus the film could be seen as a parable of warning or caution.