Movie Reviews

'Ju On: The Beginning of the End': Less chills for longtime fans

By Tay Yek KeakMovies - 01 August 2014 12:00 PM | Updated 7:00 PM

'Ju On: The Beginning of the End': Less chills for longtime fans

Ju On 3

Our Rating

3/5 Stars

Yui (Nozomi Sasaki), the caring but clueless schoolteacher, says innocently about Toshio Saeki, the boy who is continually absent in her class: “I’m going to his house.”   

The poor woman. 

She has just landed her dream job as a teacher, called her boyfriend about it excitedly, and everything is going so peachy-coo except for one gnawing thing – that empty desk at the back of the class, which just seems so curiously mysterious.

That desk, as you might expect, is the start of the spiral into hell. 

If you know your ‘Ju On’ legacy, you would be screaming at her: “Are you crazy? Don’t go into that house!”

Simply because you know that Toshio is that creepy chalk-white ghost child, and whoever steps into the house in which he lives – sorry, “lived”, since he is primarily dead – would meet their demise in the sure-die-if-you-poke-your-nose-in Japanese horror-movie way. 

“Ju On” refers to a curse created by an angry spirit – a mother gone unhinged over her beloved son – in a seemingly harmless, ordinary-looking residence in Tokyo with an ominous staircase, sliding doors, tatami-matted floors and sinister hidden closets. 

All seven instalments of the franchise (movies and TV movies, including this third big-screen outing one here) are structured into segments which are named individually after the assorted characters – giggly, unsuspecting schoolgirls, social worker, real estate agent, teacher, even the mainly-uninvolved-but-still-doomed boyfriend of the teacher – who enter the haunted home with very horrible fates awaiting them. 

You know that mum-son scare pair, right?

Next to Sadako, the spook from ‘The Ring’, the ‘Ju On’ mum, Kayako (Misaki Saisho), is the scariest ghost in Japanese horror films as she spider-creeps down the stairs emitting clucking sounds that will make you swear never to knock two things together ever again.    

The son, Toshio, has this thing for sneaking right up close and silent to his victims and sometimes, he would pop up under the blanket to scare the lungs out of screeching girls in a manner that would make you shout: “You little sick pervert!”

BOY ACTOR SWITCH

In ‘Ju On 3’, the scary lad adds a new technique – he pulls the lower jaw of a cursed girl right out of her mouth.  

By the way, he is now played by a different boy actor (Kai Kobayashi) instead of the original Yuya Ozeki who, to me, seemed more frightening in an unnerving, latently threatening way.

Or maybe it is just my attachment to nostalgia, even nostalgia that makes me wet my pants.

Time has passed, you see, since ‘Ju On 1’ (2002) and ‘Ju On 2’ (2003), and even “ghost” actors grow older and taller and has to be put out of business.

So, the only question relevant to ‘Ju On 3: The Beginning of the End’ is whether, returning after a hiatus of 11 years, it is scarier than the first two flicks. 

Here’s the verdict: if you are a veteran of the series watching this as a sequel, it isn’t that scary.

Primarily because you are already familiar with the scare tactics and also, new director Masayuki Ochiai (‘Infection’, ‘Shutter’ – the 2008 English-language version starring Rachael Taylor and Joshua Jackson) who takes over from original horror-maestro, Takeshi Shimizu, helms a composed, more mature, less frenetic ‘Ju On’ here by zeroing more into the story and less on the chills.

BACK STORY AT LAST 

Fans will be pleased to know that, at last, we get to see the origin of Toshio and the reason why his mum is so insanely angry and wants to nail everybody she lures into her home.  

Fans of that other alluring Japanese art form – cute schoolgirls who tempt fate by stepping into the forbidden abode – will also be interested to know that a quartet of them conks out in the most unfortunate ways which make you sigh for their mistreatment.

But if you are watching ‘Ju On’ for the first time, you will jump in your seat.

There is nothing more frightening than a ghoulish-looking, life-less ghost standing in the shadows entreating you to stay for tea in her empty, creepy home.

Except when somebody is mad enough to agree to her proposal and closes the door behind her.   

‘Ju On 3: The Beginning of the End’ is now showing in cinemas

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Ju On 3: Beginning Of The End
  • Ju On 3: Beginning Of The End

    (2014)
  • Rated
    NC16 /
    Genre
    Horror
  • Language
    Jap
  • (2 Reviews)