Writer: Nicolas Pesce (Screenplay) Takashi Shimizu (Original Screenplay)
Starring: John Cho, Andrea Riseborough, Zoe Fish, Lin Shaye, Tara Westwood, Demian Bichir
Plot: A house is cursed by a vengeful ghost that dooms those who enter it with a violent death.
Tagline – It’ll never let you go
Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Typical Jump Scare Horror
Story: The Grudge starts as a nurse Fiona Landers (Westwood) returns home from Tokyo after spending time in the haunted house to her family in America, only for something to have happened in that house, two years later recently widowed Detective Muldoon (Riseborough) starts a new role with partner Goodman (Bichir) which starts by investigating a dead body.
Muldoon starts to invest, learning Goodman won’t touch the case, which sees the story split into seeing how four different people interact with the cursed ghost which has been continues it hunt for more souls.
Thoughts on The Grudge
Characters – Detective Muldoon is putting her life back together when she stumbles into a dead body case, which does have a connection to a murder in one house a couple of years ago, once she starts seeing things in her life, she needs to start get to the bottom by mostly reading, leading to the film cutting to what happened, or being haunted. Goodman is the partner Muldoon who has been reluctant to visit the house even when investigating the murders, he can sense bad omens, though he isn’t much help when it comes to Muldoon’s investigation. Peter Spencer is a real-estate agent with his wife, while planning for their first child, he is trying to sell the house, when he gets caught up in the curse, he isn’t more than just a side character that doesn’t seem to go anywhere or interact with any of the other characters in the film. Faith Matheson is along with her husband moved into the house to be closer to her treatment, one of the people that Muldoon finds still in the house.
Performances – Andrea Riseborough is the closest to a good performance you will get in this film, her character is left with bad decisions, which leaves you scratching your head at what happens in the film. Lin Shaye being a horror icon does get strong moments in the film, while the rest always just look out of place for the most part, because of the weak storytelling style.
Story – The story here follows the curse from the ghost house coming to America and seeing how it spreads like a virus, curse multiple people through years and how one detective is going to try and get to the bottom of the cases, which all seem to be connected. Where this story does lose a lot of steam is by having four stories going on at once, we see how the curse first gets bought over, the real estate agent who is trying to sell the house, the couple looking for assistant suicide for a sick member of the house and the detective trying to put everything together, each time we learn more about one, we seem to get another branch, which adds more characters, with the whole point of the original curse to be focused on a horrific crime committed in the house, while this is more just, they turned evil and did something horrific, losing all the mystic behind the story. The time jumps don’t give us enough time to digest what we are seeing, with each story waiting for the big moment in the final act to show us what happens to the characters, as most of the stories get revealed when the detective learns more about the case. This just ends up feeling messy for the most part, even if it does the formulaic jump scares.
Horror/Mystery – The horror is a lot of just typical jump scare material, usually sucking the sound out of the scene, before hitting us with a loud noise and image of somebody doing the creepy Grudge sound, sadly no signs of the original creepy figure, which has all the fear about it. The mystery is more about the detective reading about previous cases, never looking to solve like we are used to seeing.
Settings – The film tries to create the horrors in a new American, house it doesn’t work to the same levels as the original house, not using the environment to create enough of the horror.
Special Effects – The effects in the film are weak too because we are left to see just a heavy make up effects, which might look good, but they don’t have the same effect the original once did.
Scene of the Movie – The opening leaving.
Final Thoughts – This is a weak addition to the Grudge franchise and as somebody has seen a lot of the side and extended films, it needs the money shot to get a reprieve, which is what the original remakes had.
Overall: Disappointing Horror.