I love to read scary stories: give me a good horror novel and I’m set for days! There’s just something about horror novels that appeal to all of us–they convey chills in written word better than any horror movie ever could and reading them by yourself, at night, is always a terrifying experience! Ju-On, although a novelization of a movie, is a greatly crafted horror novel and shouldn’t be overlooked if you’re longing a good thrill.
Ju-On, by Kei Ohishi, is a Japanese horror story of a murdered woman named Kayako come back as a vengeful ghost who curses all who dare to enter her house (the place where she was viciously murdered). The story is told out of order as different characters enter into it and time jumps around. The main living character is Rika, a woman who has become cursed by entering the house as a social worker. She races against time and the every strengthening curse as she tries to solve the mystery surrounding the house and save herself from a gruesome death.
What makes this story so interesting is that the ghost can go anywhere so long as there’s a cursed person for her to follow. Anyone who steps into Kayako’s house is cursed, they go about their daily lives as the curse manifests around them, and Kayako comes to claim their lives. This leads to some interesting and horrifying places where you think you’re safe, but the ghost can get you anyways. An example of this is when a character locks herself in her apartment and hides under her covers only to discover that the ghost is under there with her!
In my wrap up, I simply must say that Ju-On is what all horror stories should be and that, dear reader, is simple. The simpler, the scarier. There’s nothing in this book but a ghost story. Some readers might be put off by the fact that it is a novelization of a movie and not the original work, but the author, Kei Ohishi, does a wonderful job expanding the characters, highlighting the tension, and adding in extra creepy bits that have nothing to do with Kayako and her curse but add to the overall atmosphere and dread of the ghost story.
My final thoughts on Ju-On are that it is a great horror story because of how plausible it all is. It’s not over the top or complicated–it’s just a good, old fashioned ghost story–and it’s scary as all hell. I highly recommend this book to horror aficionados and causal fright seekers alike!