- “Ju-On: Origins” is a new horror series that’s now available to stream on Netflix.
- The show is a prequel to the popular “Grudge” franchise, which is based on the 2002 Japanese horror film “Ju-On: The Grudge.”
- While the “Grudge” movies focus on a haunted house, “Ju-On: Origins” is about the murders that started it all.
- There’s also a paranormal investigator trying to piece together the curse.
- All six episodes of “Ju-On: Origins” are currently available to stream on Netflix.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.`
Featuring a vengeful ghost, a haunted house, and a grisly murder, “Ju-On: Origins” is a terrifying new Netflix show that’s a must-watch for horror buffs.
Fans of “The Grudge” movies will likely recognize some of the characters and settings in the show, which meant to be a prequel to the horror franchise. But even casual horror enthusiasts will appreciate the creepy atmosphere and wrathful spirits in Netflix’s new series.
Here’s what you should know before watching.
‘Ju-On: Origins’ is a prequel to the ‘Grudge’ movies
Set several years before the events of the first “Grudge” movie (which premiered in its native Japan in 2002), “Ju On: Origins” seeks to explain more about the now-legendary characters of the franchise, including the terrifying ghost Kayako.
But the main focus of the show is exploring the origins of the franchise’s notoriously haunted house — one that’s led to the deaths and hauntings of numerous people throughout the series. Without spoiling too much, it’s revealed early on that a brutal double murder is to blame for the evil spiritual energy surrounding the home.
And while “Ju-On: Origins” is primarily focused on the murders and assaults that led to the home becoming haunted, the show also weaves in real-life instances of death and violence, including the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, to make things even more chilling, according to The Ringer.
It spans multiple timelines and focuses on several different characters
As with most of the other “Grudge” movies, “Ju-On: Origins” incorporates numerous characters and various time periods into its story, weaving between different storylines that are ultimately revealed to be connected.
Included among the show’s characters are Yasuo Odajima, a paranormal writer who helps an actress named Haruka investigate supernatural occurrences in her own home, and a lonely teenage girl who’s violently assaulted in the haunted house.
Critics have reacted positively to the series, but took issue with the dark, twisted, and brutally gory moments of the show
“‘Ju-On: Origins’ may not reach the highs of ‘Haunting of Hill House,’ but the series is a worthy salve for anyone looking to get spooked before ‘Haunting of Bly Manor’ hits Netflix later in the year,” Surrey wrote.
He also praised the show’s “restraint” in not lingering too long on actual images of the ghosts: “What helps in this particular series is the restraint: The ghost sightings don’t take up much screen time, which itself creates more suspense and a feedback loop of anxiety. And when the spirits do manifest—like one unfortunate encounter in a closet—’Ju-On: Origins’ is unforgettably horrifying.”
Writing for Collider, Haleigh Foutch credited the show’s structure (six 30-minute episodes) for helping the complicated narrative unfold successfully.
“‘Origins’ also holds true to Ju-On’s tradition of labyrinthine, overlapping narratives, following an ensemble of characters across time periods in one big spooky spider-web of interconnected atrocities,” Foutch wrote. “That structure, which has helped the franchise endure through an ongoing series of episodic sequels, converts to the series format surprisingly well.”
Foutch called the show “a perfect binge-watch, if a bit of a traumatizing one,” that allows viewers “to watch it like a long movie in a single blast or space out the episodes.”
Both Foutch and Roger Ebert critic Brian Tallerico, however, noted the show’s extreme and brutal instances of violence, including murder and rape.
“The violent rape isn’t even the most gruesome thing to happen in this relatively short running time,” Tallerico wrote in his review for Roger Ebert’s site. “The creators of ‘Origins’ employ real-world horror like child murder and vicious assault more than they do supernatural events.”
According to Tallerico, the show isn’t “big on jump scares… as much as maintaining an unwavering eye on extreme violence.”
“At just around three hours total, the extreme nature of ‘Origins’ will be too much for some viewers, especially a sequence involving a pregnant woman and a sharp knife,” Tallerico added.
And Foutch shared a similar statement in her review, writing, “At a certain point, ‘Origins’ crosses the threshold from powerful depictions of abuse into explicit, borderline exploitative carnage.”
“It’s not for everyone and considering the trauma of it’s most extreme moments I’m not entirely sure who I’d recommend it to, but it’s certainly refreshing to see a franchise installment this late in the game that manages to bring something new to the table,” Foutch concluded.
All six episodes of “Ju-On: Origins” are currently available to stream on Netflix.