Some of the improvements of the story can be attributed to the medium in which it is cast. The movie was released in the year 1998. Horror movies were made with dramatic effects, and the audience preferred dramatization, gory elements and wanted to watch such representations from the beginning of the movie. The Hearn version does not start with gory elements. A plot is unveiled from how the characters meet, how they fall in love, and even as the protagonist is informed of the death of her love, he sees her and believes he was misinformed. The reader is almost led on to believe that Shijo the doctor has perhaps lied to them both. It is only when the servant looks into the house to catch a glimpse of the lady that was visiting his master that the reader realizes the horror in the plot. The movie however caters to an audience who will need to be introduced to elements of the supernatural all throughout in order to keep their interest. Hence, the movie presents the plot from the previous birth, where Shinzaburo looks on while Tsuyu dies and even in her death is seen to come alive as some sort cluster of red insects. The audience is hence introduced to the supernatural and horror element of the story without further ado.
The way betrayal is presented is different in the movie and Hearn’s version. In the movie, betrayal is seen to occupy a major role. However, the person who betrays is Shinzaburo. In the written version, betrayal is associated with the servant. The servant threatened by the maid is observed to have cut of the spiritual tape that protected his master. The theme of betrayal as observed in the case of Hearn’s version is hence more fixated on the servant’s action. The loyalty of a servant and the servant master relationship is a revered one in Japan. A samurai cannot even marry without the permission of his master. Such codifications made the betrayal of the servant of Shinzaburo a significant thing in the written version. However, in the movie, the betrayal motif is observed to be associated with the protagonist Shinzaburo. In the previous life sequences, Shinzaburo takes up his sword to cut his neck when Tsuyu gets ready to the same. Tsuyu cuts her neck, but on seeing the blood spurt out of her neck, Shinzaburo drops his sword and moves away in fear. He is not ready to join her in his afterlife and in a sense betrays Tsuyu. Later, when the servant of Shinzaburo attempts to create dishonor for Tsuyu, he states that Shinzaburo would betray her again. Shinzaburo promises Tsuyu when he sees her the second time that he would be with her all the time. However, when he comes to know she is a ghost, he betrays her again by making sure she cannot come near him again. The recurrent theme of betrayal as presented in the movie is different from the betrayal presented in the written work. However, a more global audience would appreciate the betrayal action of a man to a woman he has made a promise to than that of a servant betraying his master. This can also be observed in the way Tsuyu is seen to have a loyal maid die when Tsuyu dies in the Hearn version. In the case of the movie, they are sisters. A global audience can understand sisters showing such loyalty or affection than that of a maid for her mistress.
Eastern beliefs like rebirth have been presented differently in the movie in order to assist the audience to understand the concepts better. In the book, it was not until Shinzaburo goes to a spiritual teacher that he comes to know that Tsuyu would have liked him from her previous birth, and that it was this passion that makes her pursue him from beyond the grave. Now since the concept of rebirths is ingrained in eastern philosophy and not so much in western philosophy, the movie has a small section in the beginning that actually presents how this previous birth connection between Tsuyu and Shinzaburo happens. While the eastern philosophy elements are retained in the movie, the same as in the book, it has been expanded to make it easier for audience to comprehend the karmic connections between Tsuyu and Shinzaburo.