Ju On 3: The Beginning of the End

Reviewed by: sukting

August 09, 2014

Rating: two

How long
90 minutes

It is a 2014 Japanese horror film and the seventh installment of the Ju-on franchise. It does the retelling of the events of the curse of the Saeki family that centers on a house in Nerima, Japan. I won the movie pass and went to watch it. Is it really scary? What is the secret?

Story/Introduction on characters
19 years ago, a small boy Toshio is starved to death in a closet with his hands and legs tied. He is only found 7 days later. A photographer following the teacher and a policeman into the home senses his ghost behind him to run out together with them.

An elementary school teacher named Yui (Nozomi Sasaki) visits the home of a boy named Toshio Saeki (Kai Kobayashi) who's been absent from school for a long period of time. She is puzzled to know that the previous teacher of the form class has resigned after making a house visit from the principal.

She then finds a big spiral drawn in the school field to feel puzzled. Yui reads the previous teacher's diary and finds it empty after his visit to the house to see only spirals instead. One day, Toshio is back but keeps drawing two spirals on the table. She is about to scold him when she realised that there is no one at all.

Her boyfriend, Naoto Miyakoshi (Sho Aoyagi) is a scriptwriter and is concerned after looking at the class photo. Yui makes a house visit to see a hand out of the window and Toshio's mother, Kayako (Misaki Saisho) answers that his father has taken him away. She finds her weird as she keeps drawing spirals on a book too. Later at night, she thinks she sees her walking in the school compound but can't find her at all. She herself starts drawing spirals on the pupils' work while marking as she dozes off.

Yui tells her principal about it and she snaps at her making comments on a parent. Yui wants to ask the previous teacher how the visit goes but the principal replies coldly that the teacher is dead. Yui is surprised by the answer. She sees a diary in school under Toshio's table and brings it home.

When she arrives, she re-lives the horrifying events that occurred in the Saeki household 10 years earlier. 10 years ago, four high school girls visit the house. Nanami (Reina Triendl) is the timid person among them to get teased. Rina(Miho Kanazawa), Aoi (Haori Takahashi) and Yayoi (Yuina Kuroshima) find a drawing by Toshio. It shows how big his mouth is and all crack jokes on this. Nanami sees the boy ghost in the bedroom where he is murdered and screams but they laugh at her instead. (These girls really have nothing better to do to go to a haunted house.)

Yayoi starts to feel his presence in school after a netball game. She goes to the back of the hall to find no one but is startled that her leg is being held on. She goes to rest in the sick bay and freaks out upon seeing the drawing under the blanket. Needless to say, she gets gobbled up with blood on the floor.

Rina hides herself in the room, using masking tapes all over her room. Nanami and Aoi visit her. She keeps mumbling that the ghost is coming after her. Nanami sees a hand coming out of the drawer and wants Aoi to leave with her. Aoi gives Rina her necklace as her lucky charm before leaving, sensing nothing.

Aoi goes to the kitchen to boil a kettle of water. The hot water scalds her left face as the hot vapour hits her directly. She pours a packet of milk and blood flows everywhere. The fridge door is opened and a pair of hands drag her into it.

Aoi's elder sister and brother-in-law are real estate agents who try to sell the house away. Aoi asks them about the house – her brother-in-law is about to reveal it but her elder sister stops her. it is not easy to sell it away so she asks nervously if she has gone there. Aoi lies no and goes into the bathroom. She starts to feel scared after seeing what happens to her friends.

A pair of hands rip her mouth open. After hearing Aoi's screams, her elder sister weeps upon seeing her jaw on the floor. Her body is not found, presuming to be drained down the sink or the bathtub opening since both places are filled with blood.

Nanami thinks she sees Aoi and Rina on the MTR to go to them. She is shocked to see Rina disfigured while Aoi without her chin. She returns to the house alone and gets pulled up and down from the ceiling to the floor. Her bag is left on the staircase as she tries to run away. She is later killed although she apologises. (This part does not make sense – how can she be going alone if she is so timid? The curse chooses her as the last victim as she doesn't mock at them?! )

Yui faints at home after scribing spirals on the glass window. Naoto is very worried and asks Aoi's brother-in-law over the house. He sighs and tells him to watch over Yui as his two close kins are dead after visiting it. He still remembers how Aoi's elder sister introduces the house to the Saekis.

She has told Takeo Saeki (Yasuhito Hida) of the history of the murder but is taken aback that Kayako still likes it to want to buy it. Saeki's house soon has the power to unleash a terrifying curse and so far, no one is alive after setting foot in it. (But yet, the silly people go in more than once.)

Aoi's sister sees Nanami's bag on the staircase and is puzzled. She is later killed for knowing too much. This house is a cursed house where everyone who sets foot in the place dies in strange circumstances. Naoto gets frantic and visits the library. He checks on the murder case 19 years ago and makes a copy. He then scans the classroom photo to find that the two boys share the same face.

He also goes to the house to find the door half open but he does not go into it. He gets frightened when the microwave oven suddenly makes screeching noises. He starts to read the diary after taking out from Yui's bag at home. Kayako has wanted to have a child to live in the house. She gets impatient when Takeo keeps going on business trips and she is alone at home.

How is she going to get pregnant like this? She prays and even does not mind getting evil talisman as long as she can get a child. She does not even mind being the mother of someone else's child. She then describes seeing a child who calls her mother. She then decides to be his mother even though Takeo is not the father. Naoto finds it creepy and suddenly he is strangled to death. Yui gets very upset when she looks at the spiral designs in her class.

She then goes into the house again. She finds video tapes and plays them in the living room. It shows how overjoyed the couple is when Toshio is born. Yui soon sees that Toshio has no affinity with Takeo. Whenever he gives Toshio food, he will not respond. The last straw comes when he refuses to hold Takeo's hand even on his 7th birthday.

Yui finds a final unnamed tape. She plays it and is astonished to see Kayako sleeping. Toshio's ghost calls her mother and he enters her body – that is why she suddenly gets pregnant. Yui gets terrified when she is transformed into another dimension. She sees the couple quarreling. He has read her diary and believes that she has an extramarital affair to get jealous.

Takeo demands to know who fathers the child. Kayako laughs that it does not matter if he is not the father as long as she is the mother. Takeo gets so mad that he strangles her to death. Takeo witnesses this and he is standing with his black cat. Takeo then throws the cat into the microwave oven to cook it to death before killing Toshio. Yui gets terrified to start screaming and running around the house.

This time, she gets into trouble as the ghosts of Kayako and Toshio chase her from place to place. Kayako crawls out from the closet. He does nothing much except to call her teacher all the time. She wakes up with a start and is relieved when Naoto asks her to come out for breakfast. She is in tears when seeing his head bent to a side when walking towards her. That means that he is killed.

Interesting facts
The film was announced at a press conference held at Akagi Shrine in Tokyo, following a spirit cleansing ceremony at the shrine. The film grossed ¥226 million at the Japanese box office. It was ranked number 1 on the scariest film series in the Japanese horror movie history.

The director chose Nozomi to be the lead as she had a pair of big eyes. She was a famous no. 1 model who was the 33th person on the list of most beautiful faces in 2010. She was also reputed to be the most innocent Japanese actress whom the Americans liked. She was 26 years old and it was her first time shooting a ghost movie. She initially lacked confidence and could not imagine how she appeared in it.

Yet, the famous reputation attracted her – it was a classic and she was thrilled to be part of it. It was a norm for the cast to talk about spirits in the filming studio. If anyone was unlucky to meet them, it was believed that the person was down in luck. Even though they might not get affected, their families might become the victims. The director assured all that filming would go smoothly as long as they respected the spirits.

Nozomi was worried that she might get influenced by the former movies so she chose not to watch any of them. However, the script already gave her the creeps. She thought of the washing machine, microwave and bathtub scenes. These things appeared in daily life and would be frightening if something scary came out from there suddenly.

What was her regret in it – she admitted that she did not have enough strength. The part where she fell down the stairs, kept shouting and crying in addition to stop breathing definitely tested her ability. She had to balance her strength and also her mentality. She knew that she was totally drained after that so she took chances to build up her stamina.

Most favourite character
Naoto, he is concerned over Yui and doesn't deserve such a tragic ending.

Most hated character
The principal. Out of convenience, she gets Yui to be the scapegoat to be the form teacher and keep the truth from her. This is a terrible person indeed.

I watched this movie during the hungry ghost month. Not because I want to but I had no choice as the movie ran during this period.

don't see the ghost often and he only appears if there is the need for a few seconds to show his limbs or fingers. I get confused when the flashbacks come here and there – I lose track of the time. It is the first time I watch a Ju On movie but I don't find myself lacking in information of it. It is simple with few characters. How can it be a blockbuster?! I can't imagine it for fans who follow the movies faithfully. Are they so easily satisfied?

There are plenty of loopholes in the story. Yui might not know that much about the house but how can Naoto not know the background as a filmmaker? He should be well-informed. And yes, no doubt the school can keep the truth from Yui for a while but how long can they hide? People in the neighbourhood and the other pupils will surely reveal the murder case within days. Are Japanese relief teachers really so dedicated to make house visits so frequently too?

There is not much of a scary element. I personally find ‘The Ring' better. Sadako crawling out from the tv set is more exciting than this one getting out from the drawer or closet. The sequence can be guessed easily. Getting parts to be introduced in the form of the characters is a big yawn. I nearly think that I am being sent to the 80s. Still, credit must be given to the young actresses for their credible performance.
What an old fashioned way of development. Whenever the croaking sound is heard, we know the ghost is present. Zero excitement caused. I get used to the boy ghost painted entirely in white. I pity the little boy for appearing in so many scenes only in a white underwear – in 7 movies in all is really a bit too much.

It is a big disappointment. Yet, the timid people who sat around me screamed non-stop. If someone is going to tell me that this is the scariest horror movie in history, there is no way for me to accept it. It is a big let-down with lousy direction. I have thought of it to be a low budget production with limited changes on the set and costumes. The spirals are not connected to the movie in anyway – has the director forgotten about it? Is it referring to the curse or the talisman? I have no answer.

Please, Ju On legacy should end here. It hardly causes ripples in a lake instead of creating a great impact. It only tells more about the background of Toshio. The franchise for it can be replaced by something else – a suggestion is that they can find a way to end the curse once and for all.

Sukting's ratings :
On acting : **1/2 (Scale of 5)
On story : ** (Scale of 5)

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