Like a chalk faced, black haired female ghoul crawling backwards at you across a ceiling, the Grudge franchise refuses to die. Marking the 15th anniversary of the original, Masayuki Ochiai has written and directed The Grudge: Beginning Of The End (also known as Ju-On: Owari No Hajimari). The first Grudge outing since 2009, it's also, if you include the American instalments, the tenth film in the series. This latest trailer demonstrates that the classic scares still work, even if they are reassuringly familiar.
The story this time involves an elementary school teacher named Yusi, who visits the home of Toshio Saeki, because he's been absent from school for a long time and she hasn't seen any of the other films. Arriving at the house, she starts to re-live the horrific tragedy that befell the Saekis a decade earlier. And there's a mysterious cardboard box in a cupboard that holds the key to a mystery.
The Grudge is a curse that keeps on being reborn, which is appropriate given that that's the hook of the entire unwieldy series. Beginning with short films and two Japanese TV movies in 2000, director Takashi Shimizu spun the Ju-On tale into two theatrical Japanese features in 2003. He then helmed a Hollywood remake of the first starring Sarah Michelle Gellar in 2004, and stayed around for The Grudge 2 (2006), which again featured Gellar but was a standalone movie not based on Ju-On 2. Following this so far?
Then in 2009, there were two non-Shimizu Japanese entries in Old Lady In White and Girl In Black (released together as Ju-On: White Ghost / Black Ghost), plus the American DTV Grudge 3 (2009), directed by Toby Wilkins, starring Shawneee Smith (Saw) and Marina Sirtis (Star Trek: Next Generation).
And that, apart from a Wii game, was the lot – until now of course. Sam Raimi's Ghost House Pictures are also developing a fourth US version currently in the hands of Jeff Buhler (who wrote the Clive Barker adaptation The Midnight Meat Train). That's thought to be a reboot, but given the overlapping and repeated material running through all the films already, it doesn't make a great deal of difference. That's further in the future, however.
In the meantime, Ju-On: Owari No Hajimari is out in Japan on 28 June. There are no other international release dates so far.