The Grudge ★ ★ Letterboxd Score
Direction/Screenplay: Nicolas Pesce
Starring: Andrea Riseborough, John Cho, Demián Bichir, Jacki Weaver
Screen Gems, Ghost House Pictures
In Theatres January 3rd, 2020
What began as a profound and original horror film franchise in Japan (Ju-On) has now been ultra Americanized and muddled down to a series of uninspired and sleazy jump scares. The Grudge offers its best attempt to reignite and reboot the film’s series with no attempt to improve upon what we’ve already seen with previous iterations.
The Grudge’s only bid at any cinematic quality is an arrangement of flashbacks and timeline jumps between three periods that give us an idea of how each of these people were affected by the curse. It is simple to follow, but does not make much sense. The film picks right back up in Japan after the events of the first American remake when a young American detective? —it is not very clear what she was doing in Japan. Anyways, she visits the original home from which where we began and inadvertently brings the cursed “Ju-On” to her small, quaint American hometown where this evil convinces her to murder her husband and young daughter. Then enters Detective Muldoon (Andrea Riseborough) about 2 years after the grizzly family murder-suicide. The steely eyed new detective on the scene that is so generically unaware of the tragedy that occurred starts asking questions and when that leads nowhere, she goes looking for answers. We start the flashbacks with John Cho’s character Peter Spencer and his discovery of the evil spirit right after the events that occurred with the woman and her family. We see how each of these stories intertwine as Detective Muldoon unravels the evil history and finds herself caught up by its tragic past.
Before you know it, it’s all over. What felt like should have been an epic “final boss” battle at the end, ends up being some really poor and quickly written writing. It was convenient, there was no heart, nothing much of value. What could have been a great reboot, fizzles out to another toss to the “wait for when it comes out” pile (Honestly though, even then I would be weary). Next time let’s hope they try to go a bit deeper, because we know there will be a next time.