The Grudge Review
Throughout the entirety of the 2000's, movie studios all across town were swept in making remakes of older horror films. It really was a time of experimenting, seeing if the terrors of old could find a brand new audience and built from a new kit. Sure, sometimes a "Saw" or a "Hostel" or a "Paranormal Activity" would crawl out of the woodwork, but the 2000's was defined mostly by horror remakes. Some of those remakes were fun, others were shit and yes, even a handful were great. One of the movies I would say was pretty successful was "The Grudge" from 2004, a remake of a popular J-horror movie. I remember not really being able to relax sitting through that movie, it felt like scare after scare after scare.
A new "Grudge" movie has been now in 2020. Even though its an independent thing, there is a subtle connection to the 2004 movie, because shared universe that's why. It's not a very big connection and honestly, this barely registers as a "Grudge" movie. The plot is basically the same; when someone is killed out of anger, it becomes a curse, that curse haunts the place in which the killing took place. Anybody who sets foot in said place gets hit by the curse. Besides a few familiar money shots, that's were things differ. This mainly feels like a horror movie with "Grudge" iconography in it.
I think one of things that made 2004 "Grudge" so scary was that they really took the original film and truly tried to remake it for American culture. The horror movies of Japan have a very unique style that is different from ours and seeing something we aren't used to seeing I think really rattled audiences, as it did in 2002 with "The Ring." Japan pulls no punches with its horror, and what I liked about both "The Ring" and "The Grudge" is how un-apologetically bleak they both are.
Here? This new "Grudge" is very much from the American system of horror film making. While there are a couple of good jump scares in the movie, that I will admit, the movie is pretty not scary. Characters do things for no reason than to advance the plot and for a movie that revolves around cops, nobody ever acts very cop-like. The design for the evil spirits have abandoned the Japan style and made something that is cliche and just...not scary. Its relies too much on being bloody, but I am just glad its not rapey.
One actor sticks out who is constantly creepy throughout the whole movie. Its Lin Shaye. You'll know her from the "Insidious" movies. She's got two big scenes in this movie, and she's fucking creepy every time. She is unwavering in the way she tries to make all of her moments uncomfortable. She sells the absurdities of the entire movie with aplomb. The rest of the cast mainly goes through the motions.
When William Sadler, disfigured like the guy from "Hannibal" says "The house is grudge," all I could do was honestly laugh. This one doesn't have anything on the originals. Either of them.
FINAL GRADE: D