The “Grudge” is a curse that is born when someone dies from immense grief. It then lingers and attaches to those who come in contact with it. It seems as though the curse has broken the fourth wall as it now has two remakes and three sequel movies since the original “Ju-On: The Grudge.”

This time set in a haunted house in small town America, this remake of “The Grudge” centers around a handful of people that fall victim to the house and its curse. The movie aims to give the franchise a thriller-based comeback. 

This interpretation takes a more traditional storytelling approach with a few switch ups here and there. The main plot stars Andrea Riseborough as Detective Muldoon. She is in the middle of investigating a murder scene that has a connection to the haunted house. The house holds a deadly curse that passes to anyone who comes into contact with the house or its curse.

The film goes back in time at various points to show what took place in the house and explains the events leading up to the main storyline. 

There are other side characters with their own short storylines sprinkled throughout the movie as well, including a realtor couple — played by John Cho and Betty Gilpin — that are in the process of preparing the house to be sold. 

Before reviewing this movie, I took it upon myself to rewatch the original. The original is unbearably suspenseful and slow. This creates a great deal of dread behind every scene. The sound elements include eerie scratching and, of course, the infamous ‘death rattling’ noise iconic to the franchise. 

Fans of the original will recognize that there is some semblance between the two that make it great. However, the film doesn’t build off of those existing elements to stand out on its own. While the iconic ‘death rattle’ that the characters hear is creepy, it’s not quite enough when moments later the scene gets interrupted by a cheap jump scare accompanied by a minor string chord. It comes off as cliche. 

Although the jump scares are cheap, the encounters with the ‘ghouls’ are pretty terrifying. The costumes and the makeup stay faithful to the original vision which creates an enjoyable horror movie experience. 

The chemistry between the onscreen actors is almost non-existent and feels as if characters have only known each other for a week. This is especially notable between the realtor couple as well as Detective Muldoon and her partner. 

While the dialogue and scripting of this film is painstakingly weak and stale, the plot itself is rather straightforward, though it differs from the original’s vignette storytelling style. 

When it comes down to surprising the audience while providing a compelling story, the film disappointingly misses the mark on both. Most “surprises” and plot reveals weren’t really surprises. Instead, scenes were predictable and dragged on longer than they should have. 

All in all, there is nothing that stands out about this movie to prove it to be deserved of this full-fledged remake — to the point that it’s remarkably boring and the only moments that really wake you up are the jump scares clumsily scattered throughout the movie. 

If you are already a fan of the original movies, then I would recommend this because it provides a modern take and updated look to the franchise. However, I would definitely recommend watching the original 2002 or even the 2004 remake over this one. 

The Grudge (2020) is now streaming on Hulu with a subscription. 

Title: The Grudge 

Star Rating: 1 star out of five 

Good:

  • The costumes and makeup are disgustingly horrifying and creepy 
  • Various callbacks to the original

Bad:

  • Dialogue is stale and is boring to watch 
  • Cheap Jumpscares
  • Plot is too straightforward and fails to surprise
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