The Saeki Family
The Big Bad
of the series, Kayako was an ordinary Housewife
who has an obsessive crush
on a teacher Peter Kirk. Unfortunately, her husband Takeo found out and brutally killed her
, along with her son Toshio and the family cat Mar. Brought back by her family's rage as a Curse
, Kayako appears as a Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl
, crawling about to hunt down
and kill anyone who enters her house to consume them in the curse. She is most iconic for crawling her way down the stairs, and lets out a chilling death rattle
whenever she appears.
- Apocalypse Maiden: If the curse can spread THAT easily the whole world is screwed.
- Ax-Crazy: Appears this way to her victims.
- Blood from the Mouth: After she is killed.
- Body Horror: Kayako broke her ankle whilst fleeing from Takeo and has to crawl around as a ghost although she walks in the third film albeit poorly. Takeo then snapped her neck, creating her signature death rattle.
- Came Back Wrong
- Cry for the Devil
- Cute Monster Girl: Seen as this to some viewers and fans.
- Death Tropes
- Bedmate Reveal: Played with when Kayako kills Susan.
- Chest Burster: In the extended version of The Grudge 2, Kayako kills Mrs. Davis by ejecting herself from her mouth as a one-eyed hairball.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Kayako often pulls this on most of her victims. Most notable are Yoko, Jake, Gretchen, Mrs. Davies and Karen.
- Eye Scream: Kayako gouges out Gretchen's eyes.
- Neck Snap: Used on Doctor Sullivan in the third film.
- Spooky Painting: Kayako emerges from a painting to kill Gretchen.
- Spooky Photographs: Kayako kills Eason by emerging from one.
- Ghostly Goals: Type B.
- Housewife: Before being killed by her husband.
- Implacable Woman
- Jump Scare: She pulls this a lot on her victims before actually killing them.
- Les Yay / Foe Yay: Seems to have this going on with Karen, although the way she kills some of her other victims has shades of this as well.
- Madwoman in the Attic: Make that dead woman in the attic.
- Neck Snap
- Nightmare Face
- The Other Darrin: Throughout all the films until The Grudge 3, Kayako was played by Takako Fuji, but she retired from the role and was replaced by Aiko Horichi.
- Our Ghosts Are Different
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette
- Peekaboo Corpse: Her corpse flies out of the attic in front of Peter.
- Prehensile Hair: Kayako uses her hair to hang Takeo, and kill Vanessa in the second film.
- Sealed Inside a Person-Shaped Can: Kayako is trapped inside Rose's body in The Grudge 3.
- Stalker with a Crush: Karen found several photos of Kayako stalking Peter and his wife in the background of each photo. She wrote a very personal diary of her feelings for Peter, which Takeo found, leading to the family's deaths.
- Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl
- Tragic Villain: In a strange way, Kayako could be seen through sympathetic eyes. She was murdered by her husband then in her dying moments witnessed him murder their son. She strikes out at the living due to her rage at this very fact. In fact after witnessing her husband kill Audrey Davis in the same way she finishes the job, pitying the young girl for meeting her end in the same way as she had
- Twisted Ankle
- Woman in White
- Woman Scorned: Takeo is apparently her first victim, although it looks like he hung himself.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds
- Yandere: Shows signs of this in her diary.
Kayako's young son who was drowned by his father Takeo after witnessing him murder his mother. Appearing as a ghostly pale little boy, Toshio is the only ghost shown to talk but most of the time meows
at his victims.
- Black Eyes of Evil: Sometimes portrayed as having these, noticeably in box-art.
- Cat Scare: He often scares characters (and viewers) by meowing at them, sometimes on the phone.
- Creepy Child: Holy hell!
- Creepy Monotone
- Elevator Snare: Susan flees Kayako into an elevator and appears to be safe. That is until Toshio is seen on the passing floor, and the next, and the next, and so on and so forth... getting closer with each passing floor.
- Killer Rabbit
- Kind Hearted Cat Lover
- The Other Darrin: He has been portrayed by three different actors. In the first film and in flashbacks/photographs for the second and third films, he was portrayed by Yuya Ozeki (who also portrayed the version of the character in the two theatrical Ju-on films). In the second film, he was portrayed by Ohga Tanaka. In the third film, he is portrayed by Shimba Tsuchiya. (Unfortunately, the difference is rather jarring in the third movie, as Toshio looks a lot older than in the previous films.)
- Peekaboo Corpse: Averted. His corpse was hidden in a closet, Karen finding the ghost of Toshio in there during her first visit to the house.
Kayako's husband and Toshio's father. Takeo found out about his wife's obsessive crush on Peter Kirk and didn't take it very well. He broke his wife's neck, drowned his son in the bath (to cover up his tracks), and then killed the family cat for some reason. He was then killed by Kayako's ghost
although it looks like he hung himself. Part of the curse, Takeo rarely appears and when he does, it is to re-enact the murder of his wife.
- Asshole Victim: And the first of many victims, assholes or not.
- Ax-Crazy: Seems this way when he attacks Kayako, throwing himself against the walls and doing an eerie head spasm before he breaks his wife's neck.
- Demonic Possession: He pulls this in the third film with Max, killing Naoko, his sister-in-law in the process.
- Driven to Suicide: Seemingly hangs himself but is really killed by Kayako using her own hair as a noose.
- Freak Out!: Takeo has one hell of a one, flipping out and cutting Kayako's face out of all the family photos!
- Harmful to Minors: He kills Toshio to cover up his tracks, but is still considered the primary suspect by the police.
- Neck Snap: Takeo kills Kayako this way, and then with Aubrey.
- Oh, Crap: Kayako's expression when she realises Takeo read her diary.
- Room Full of Crazy: The room Takeo uses to hide Kayako's body.
- Sympathetic Murderer: Takeo was a loving father and husband despite Kayako's crush.
- Vicious Cycle: Subverted. Takeo repeatedly kills victims by re-enacting Kayako's death, although in Naoko's case he stabbed through the back of the neck with a knife.
The family cat
, Mar was Toshio's best friend until both were murdered by Takeo. Rarely appears but is used to lure victims into the house or appear as a "pilot fish" before Kayako comes for her victims. It is confusing why Takeo killed the cat, but its likely out of pure rage.
Kayako's sister. Naoko goes to the Chicago apartment to exoricse her sister and end the curse. Unfortunately, it doesn't go very well. She is attacked by a Takeo-possessed Max and killed by him, only to rise as a ghost like her sister and kill Max.
Characters in The Grudge
An American careworker living in Tokyo, Karen goes to look after the elderly Emma at the Saeki House and is stalked by Kayako. She investigates the family's murder whilst people around her are consumed by the curse including her boyfriend Doug
. She eventually attempts to burn the house down, but is killed by Kayako in the second film
Karen's boyfriend, who attends the University of Tokyo. He does not play much of a part in the film until the very end where Karen finds him wandering the Saeki House, both at the mercy of Kayako.
A teacher who Kayako had an obsessive crush on, stalking him and writing quite insanely about him a diary, leading to Takeo murdering his family and creating the curse. Peter visits the Saeki House to talk to Toshio's parents, finding Kayako's corpse and how crazy she was about him. He then is (apparently) Driven to Suicide
- All Love Is Unrequited: Not that he knew about it until too late.
- Dead Star Walking: He's played by Bill Pullman, and he dies in the first five minutes. (Of course, he appears later due to the Anachronic Order of the film, but this trope still applies.)
- Driven to Suicide: Although it is strongly implied that he may have been under the influence of the curse.
- Interestingly, despite being the first person to enter the Saeki house after the murders, he is not shown to have been visited by any of the ghosts before his death.
- Toshio's ghost lures him into the house, although it's set up to make Peter (and the audience) think Toshio is still alive until he starts meowing.
- Gross-Up Close-Up: In the Director's Cut, the camera focuses on his dead face for a couple of seconds.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: He's played by Bill Pullman.
- Hot Teacher: In Kayako's eyes anyway.
- May-December Romance: The news article states he was 51 years old. His wife? 31.
A Japanese police detective, Nakagawa is the latest in a long line of officers investigating the Saeki house deaths, three officers (who were also his friends) before him disappearing. A bit of a Hardboiled Detective
, Nakagawa eventually attempts to destroy the house by burning it down. He fails.
- Beard of Sorrow: A taped interview with him in the second film, which took place some time shortly after the deaths of his colleagues, shows him looking extremely unkempt.
- Composite Character: He shares the name and profession of Detective Nakagawa from the original Ju-on film series, but his personality and actions are closer to that of retired detective Toyama, also from Ju-on. Like Toyama, he lost his colleagues to the curse, and also tries to burn the house down.
- Fair Cop
- Hardboiled Detective
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Mr. Ryo Ishibashi plays the role, already a master of J-Horror films like Suicide Club and his role in Audition.
- The Inspector
- It's Personal: It's implied that one of the driving forces behind his attempt to destroy the house is due to three of his friends being claimed by the curse.
- Kill It with Fire: Nakagawa attempts to burn down the house, but is lured to his doom by Toshio and Takeo.
The Williams Family (Matthew, Jennifer, Emma, Susan)
The American family who moved into the Saeki house after the murders were cleared up. However, they all quickly become part of the curse on the house.
- Bedmate Reveal: Susan gets a nasty surprise when Kayako pops up in her bed.
- Crazy Cat Lady: Emma seemingly acts like this at times.
- Death from Above: Emma is killed when Kayako descends from the ceiling to end her life.
- Demonic Possession: In deleted scenes, Matthew is possessed by Takeo.
- Elevator Escape: Susan flees from Kayako's ghost into an elevator, not noticing Toshio watching her on every passing floor.
- Fish out of Water: Jennifer feels particularly out of touch in Japan.
- Grumpy Old Woman: Emma seems like this at first, but it quickly becomes obvious that the reason she acts so sullen is because she knows something isn't right with the house.
Yoko and Alex Jones
Employees at a careworkers office. Alex runs the business, whilst Yoko is meant to be caring for Emma. Unfortunately, she becomes a victim of the curse and suffers a painful death. Alex later meets his end at the hands of Yoko's ghost.
Characters in The Grudge 2
Karen's younger sister and mistreated by her controlling mother. She goes to Japan to bring Karen home, but soon gets involved in the curse of the Saeki household.
An Intrepid Reporter
who rescued Karen from the house fire but is also cursed as a result.
Karen and Aubrey's abusive, terminally ill mother.
Allison Fleming, Vanessa and Miyuki
A trio of students in Japan who visit the Saeki house. Vanessa and Miyuki trap Allison in the closet until Kayako/Aubrey
appears and they soon become victims of the curse.
- Alpha Bitch: Vanessa.
- Asshole Victim: Vanessa and arguably Miyuki.
- Break the Cutie: Poor, poor Allison.
- Break the Haughty: Vanessa.
- The Bully: Vanessa and Miyuki, although Vanessa is the worst.
- Disconnected By Death: Vanessa.
- Femme Fatalons: Miyuki certainly has a long set of nails. She retains them after becoming a ghost.
- Jerkass Woobie: Miyuki and arguably Vanessa.
- Kick the Dog: Vanessa does the kicking, and the dog is usually Allison.
- Love Hotels: Miyuki goes to one with her boyfriend.
- Manipulative Bitch: Vanessa.
- Murdered In A Phone Booth: Vanessa.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Allison eventually flees back to the US, hoping that she'll leave the curse behind. It doesn't work. It results in the curse following her and killing her family, Jake's family, and everyone else who enters the apartment building.
- Room Full of Crazy: Allison's bedroom, after the curse completely and utterly breaks her.
- With Friends Like These...: Allison is cruelly mocked and manipulated by both Vanessa and Miyuki. Vanessa is also extremely mean and scornful towards Miyuki, in spite of their supposed friendship, and Miyuki seems to be pretty afraid of Vanessa, likely only going along with her schemes to appease her.
A young boy who's family becomes victims of the curse. He survives his first encounter with Kayako in "The Grudge 2" and is hospitalized in "The Grudge 3" where he gets killed when Kayako breaks every bone in his body.