Three teenagers incur the wrath of a deadly curse when one of them purchases a presumably harmless wooden cross at DevilsTrade.com. After a series of ominous events, they set off on a race to return the cross to its rightful owner and avoid their own morbid fates.
In this seventh installment of the Ju-on franchise, a school teacher visits the home of a boy who's been absent from school for a long period of time, unaware of the horrific tragedy which occurred in the boy's household many years ago.
Following in the footsteps of Rings, comes Tales from the Grudge a short depicting outside events related to the curse of The Grudge series. However unlike Rings, these three short episodes, with a combined length of around 7 to 8 minutes, do not relate story-wise to the events of The Grudge or The Grudge 2 albeit the rumours of the cursed house in Tokyo. Instead these episodes carry a theme that is relevant in The Grudge 2 the widespread growth of the curse whereby it is passed onto others without those persons ever entering the house.
The three episodes each contain their own protagonist, with that person coming into contact with another who becomes the protagonist of the next episode. In each, the curse has been placed upon the main character, and it gets passed on though cell phone conversations. In 'Hotel', Ross (Daniel Sykes) receives a call from his girlfriend, Abby (Stefanie Butler), which inevitably involves her with the curse. In the following episode, 'School', Abby makes a call to her friend Brooke (Ginny Weirick), and the curse subsequently takes out its wrath on her. The final episode, 'House', doesn't involve Brooke passing on the curse to someone else, but the ending implication that she could, is there.
To clearly understand the thematic theme of Tales from the Grudge, one would have to watch The Grudge 2, which was released later. By themselves, the three episodes only serve as non-canon spin-offs to the Grudge curse, but when put in context, they actually serve as a great extension of the curse itself, and the horror of its expansion is much better felt in these episodes than in The Grudge 2. Each episode is short, and for good reason. We are given a quick scenario in which the protagonist will meet his/ her end. 'Hotel' is the standard Grudge affair, with 'House' adding a nice spin and clearly depicting ones entrapment to the curse. 'School' serves to yield the best scare, and can perhaps help some understand a certain death in The Grudge 2. Still these episodes don't prove to answer any questions but perhaps alternate trains of thought.
The unknown actors who star in Tales from the Grudge do a good job in their portrayal of their respective characters, but with so little screen time it's difficult to determine a full analysis of their acting abilities. The director, Toby Wilkins, an acclaimed short film director, does a great job with the short, but accurate filming. However, the beginning of 'Hotel' looks more accustomed to a documentary, and the ending scenes of 'House' are sadly B-grade in technique.
Tales from the Grudge presents is an alternate story to the curse which plagues its original source material, and the idea it brings about the curse, while akin to that of Grudge 2, is exclusive enough to sport further direction. These episodes might be fleshed out more in The Grudge 3, but they needn't be; they work well because they are separate from the main story arc, and fans of The Grudge will definitely fine much to adore here.
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