Ju-On: The Grudge DVD Review
PictureFor such a recent movie I was surprised by the amount of apparent damage to the print - I noticed quite a few negative film artefacts which showed up as white nicks and scratches throughout. This really isn't much of an issue when viewing on a 32” or even a 36” T.V. Blow the image up to larger screen sizes and such issues may begin to take on new meaning; such small areas of damage are still unlikely to intrude too much, though. What is more likely to be a bug bear to those with front or large rear projectors is the amount of edge enhancement that has been used. Thankfully its appearance is sporadic, but when it shows up it's as though somebody has painted in white outlines using a two-inch paintbrush. Well OK, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but I'm sure you get my meaning, and when it shows itself subtle it is not. Thankfully video noise, or grain, was never an issue, and with a large portion of the movie being shot in darkly evil places that's a definite plus point.
SoundI never check audio bit rates until after I watch a movie - I try to be as unbiased as possible, but it was immediately apparent that the Dolby Digital track seemed to lack that “air of authority”, even before I compared sound quality with its DTS counterpart. Now, I'm no “DTS Fan Boy”, indeed there are often times when I prefer a Dolby track merely because I find that it offers better centre channel clarity. On this occasion, though, DTS takes top honours. Delivery from each speaker benefited from a clearer, more spacious sound; bass tones were noticeably deeper and more powerful and the whole sonic experience was simply more satisfying... and a bit louder
That's not to say the DTS offering is perfect; it lacks overall authority and cannot, in my opinion, quite compete with the very best DVD movie soundtracks. I wasn't really surprised when I'd finished watching the movie to learn that the Dolby track was a 384Kbps affair. I was a little taken aback to learn that the DTS track was a 1509 Kbps, or full bit rate, job! If you like thunderously deep bass it's time to choose the DTS option.
ExtrasUnfortunately this is one of those Korean releases where the extras have no English subtitles... or menus. I did enjoy sitting through the supplemental features and managed to work out what was going on... sometimes. I think! There is a storyboard feature which links to scenes from the movie; and just seeing the actors going through their paces in the “Making Of” type features gave me the feeling that everybody concerned in putting this movie together had a real blast. I suspect that given English subs I would score this side of things quite highly. Alas...
VerdictIf you like your horror movies to be creepy and scary then Ju-on: The Grudge should be on your list. If you like your soundtracks to make your neck hairs stand to attention, then Ju-on: The Grudge should be on your list. If... ahh, just buy Ju-on: The Grudge and enjoy.
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