JU-ON: ORIGINS is the new Netflix horror series from Japan. As the title indicates, we’re back in the iconic Ju-on (or The Grudge) franchise. Also, the series is an origin story – even if it doesn’t offer that much new. Read our full Ju-on: Origins review here and watch it on Netflix!
JU-ON: ORIGINS is a Netflix horror series from Japan that ties into the iconic Ju-on franchise. Along with Ringu, these two horror franchises put Japan on the horror movie map. Especially thanks to the US remakes titled The Grudge and The Ring respectively.
Besides this new origin story for Ju-on on Netflix, the most recent addition to the franchise was the US reboot movie The Grudge that came out at the beginning of 2020. Read our review of The Grudge (2020) here >
With this new Netflix series, we’re back in Japan where it all began. The season only has 6 half-hour episodes, so you can easily binge-watch it in one night.
Continue reading our Ju-on: Origins review below. We watched all episodes for this review.
Are you a fan of the Ju-on universe?
I’m almost borderline incompetent for the purpose of reviewing this Ju-on origin story. You see, I was never a huge fan of the Ju-on universe. At all. In fact, I preferred Ringu (or The Ring) and my favorite Japanese horror movie from that same era was Dark Water, which I find to be far superior to the other two.
However, Ju-on and Ringu were the movies that spun huge franchises with several sequels. Not that these sequels were necessarily good or anything. Alas, such is the nature of filmmaking; You go where the money is! And honestly, who can blame them. Money makes the world go around and we all need to get paid to make it.
Recommended reading: Our review of our favorite Japanese genre movie; One Cut of the Dead >
Interestingly enough, I was pretty excited about this Ju-on: Origins series coming out on Netflix. Both because Netflix productions don’t shy away from horror (and always has a high production quality) as well as because it was a chance to start over with the whole Ju-on universe.
The final two episodes of Ju-on: Origins definitely did help a lot since this is when the actual origin story comes in. However, after the first two episodes, I was ready to just give up! There is so much wrong with what happens during episode 1 alone and it’s deeply problematic. No matter how objective I try to be!
Rape, violence, and depression
The first episode of Ju-on: Origins features a rape pretty early on. There is plenty wrong with that entire storyline, but the real issues come up when we see what the rape victim does next. It’s grotesquely weird in all the ways that make me want to stay away from certain Japanese horror franchises.
To set the stage, without giving away spoilers, I also need to state that pretty much every single character has a very shitty life and seems depressed to some degree. It’s dark. Very dark!
Women, in general, do not come away looking good during this series. They tend to be the aggressors (even regarding the rape scene) and the men seem incapable of making decisions on their own. Sure, there is at least one man who is very capable of choosing his own path (the origin, if you will). Also, the characters tend to be very shallow.
Then again, with six 30-minute episodes that span several years and characters, how deep can you go?!
Watch Season 1 of Ju-on: Origins on Netflix now!
As stated earlier, the final episodes of Ju-on: Origins is where we finally get some answers. However, I still don’t think this new Netflix series offers that much more of an origin story than the movies have.
Of course, this horror series is supposedly about the “real-life” events that inspired the movie. But, I mean, come on, it’s only in the same way that Blair Witch Project was a “real” thing. It’s just an excuse to do a remake and call it an origin if ever I heard one.
Then again, I was never a big fan of the original movie. Maybe that means that fans of the Ju-on franchise will love this Netflix series. After all, if someone who isn’t a fan ends up enjoying the series, then I can only imagine that people who do like the story should end up feeling even more positive about this series.
Whatever your starting point is, this Netflix horror series is a quick watch and has a very strong finish, so I certainly recommend checking it out. You just need to get through a few messy episodes at first. And those were almost enough to put me off the series entirely. Hang in there because it does get better!
Ju-on: Origins Season 1 is out on Netflix worldwide from July 3, 2020.
Director: Sho Miyake
Script: Hiroshi Takahashi and Takashige Ichise
Stars: Yoshiyoshi Arakawa, Yuina Kuroshima, Ririka, Koki Osamura, Seiko Iwaido, Kai Inowaki, Tei Ryushin, Yuya Matsuura, Kaho Tsuchimura, Tokio Emoto, Nobuko Sendo, Kana Kurashina
A paranormal researcher searches obsessively for a cursed home where something terrible happened to a mother and her child long ago.