WHEN SOMEONE DIES IN THE GRIP OF A POWERFUL RAGE . . . A CURSE IS BORN.
THE CURSE GATHERS IN THAT PLACE OF DEATH.
THOSE WHO ENCOUNTER IT WILL BE CONSUMED BY ITS FURY.
The story begins with Mrs. Kawamata, a Japanese woman who is able to heal people by removing inhabiting evil spirits and feeding them to her young daughter Kayako (Kyoka Takizawa).
A young couple arrive seeking her help, the young woman (Nahana) looks sickly and lethargic. The young man (Masanobu Yada) becomes alarmed when he sees a closet door slowly open. Inside is the young child Kayako, she crawls out and joins her mother, who is performing a ritual.
The mother inserts her finger into the mouth of the sick young woman and pulls out a drop of blood with her long fingernail.
The mother turns to her daughter and lets the drop of blood fall into young Kayako's mouth. Young Kayako begins convulsing having absorbed the evil spirit.
Kayako (Takako Fuji), now a grown woman, is unhappily married to Takeo Saeki (Takashi Matsuyama). She becomes obsessed with Peter Kirk (Bill Pullman), an American college professor working in Tokyo. She writes about her feelings for him in a diary. She follows him and sends him love letters.
One night, Kayako returns home and enters her bedroom upstairs. She finds her husband reading her diary.
In a rage, Takeo attacks Kayako, shoving her to the floor, banging the walls while yelling and screaming.
Kayako breaks her ankle and crawls down the stairs, but before she can escape, Takeo catches her and snaps her neck.
Takeo looks up to see their eight-year-old son, Toshio Saeki (Yuya Ozeki), at the top of the stairs; a witness to the murder.
Takeo drags Toshio to the bathroom and drowns him in the bathtub. Takeo also slits Toshio's cat's throat and tosses the carcass on the floor of the bathroom. He wraps Kayako's body in plastic trash bags and places it far in the corner of the attic. He puts Toshio's body in his bedroom closet and tapes it shut with Duct tape, and then hangs himself.
In order to find out why Kayako is sending him the letters, Peter Kirk comes to the Saeki residence the next day with one of Kayako's love letters in hand. He rings the doorbell but no one answers. He sees Toshio's hands hanging out of the bathroom window, bruised and scratched. He tries talking to the boy, but he doesn't answer. Toshio just looks up at him and falls backwards. We hear the sound of his body splashing in water. Peter goes inside and finds the little boy listless, in the bathroom.
Peter brings him out to the living room and decides to stay with the boy until the parents return. He tries talking to Toshio again, but the boy is in a stupor. While waiting, Peter notices a family photo has been ripped to pieces. He arranges the pieces to form the picture again, and the piece of Kayako's face is missing. Peter then hears a cat meowing, he stands up to look out the window.
The catatonic Toshio looks at Peter, opens his mouth, and the sound of a wailing cat comes out, though Peter seems to be oblivious to this. Peter looks through the rest of the house, entering Takeo and Kayako's bedroom in the back where he finds several family photos in a pile on the floor. Kayako's face has been torn out of every one of them. He finds Kayako's diary and thumbs through it, learning more about Kayako's obsession with him.
The closet door catches his eye and, upon inspecting it, he finds the cut-outs of Kayako's face pinned all over the door and smeared with blood. Behind him, the diary opens on it's own, the pages flip open until it comes upon a page with a drawing of an eye. Looking back at the closet, he notices a swarm of flies have gathered on the closet door. He opens it and more flies swarm out. Looking above, he notices the attic entrance panel is partially open. He slides it open further and the growing swarm of flies are distracting him.
Suddenly, Kayako's lifeless corpse falls out from the attic and lands on the closet shelf. Peter runs into the hall and hears thumping noises coming from Toshio's room and finds Takeo hanging from a noose.
The next morning, we see Peter overlooking the Tokyo skyline from his high rise apartment balcony. His expression is distant, lost in thought. His wife, Maria (Rosa Blasi), wakes up and asks if he is okay.
Peter only looks back at her but doesn't respond. He turns back to the balcony wall, lifts himself over the edge and falls to his death, commiting suicide.