[Review] The Grudge (2020)
The Grudge – After a young mother murders her family in her own house, a single mother and detective attempt to investigate and solve the mysterious case, only to discover that the house is cursed by a vengeful ghost that dooms those who enter it with a violent death. Now targeted by the demonic spirits, the detective must do anything to protect herself and her family from harm.
The Grudge stars John Cho, Mandy’s Andrea Riseborough, Insidious’s Lin Shaye, The Nun’s Demian Bichir, GLOW’s Betty Gilpin, and Stoker’s Jacki Weaver. “So yeah, it’s got a great cast,” Pesce said. “It’s more close to a movie like Seven than it is to like a J horror movie,” he adds. He also noted that—unlike PG-13-rated The Grudge 1 & 2, his version of The Grudge will be rated R. Which should come to no surprise to fans familiar with his brutally dark and gruesome debut feature, The Eyes of My Mother.
In an interview posted on SyFy.com Pesce stated, “I’m trying to do something different with the mechanics that the franchise built.” Adding, “And take all the elements that are necessary for a Grudge movie but do something different with it. Because I think that people don’t want to see another J-horror remake that’s done like a J-horror movie. It’s been 20 years since that worked. So I aim to give the audience a new taste of what that world can look like.”
The Grudge starts out in Tokyo, 2004 (the first time period), which is a prologue that explains how these vengeful spirits who caused so much havoc in Japan ended up in the States. It was when an American woman named Fiona Landers (Tara Westwood) came home early from her work in Tokyo and experienced a horrific event where human hands are mysteriously springing from trash bags and grabbing at her ankles. She wants to leave but they do not want her to. Fiona inadvertently picks up the curse-like virus from her grudge house and brings it to where her husband and young daughter are waiting for her back in the US.
The second time period where Faith Matheson (Lin Shaye), a terminally ill woman, and her exploiting husband, William (Frankie Faison) buys the house after the aforementioned tragedy. And then there’s Lorna Moody (Jacki Weaver), supposedly compassionate caregiver, which is a nice name for assisted suicide enabler, who comes to live with them. The third and final time period involves a married couple (John Cho, Betty Gilpin) who are real estate agents and just learned that the baby they’re about to have has a very high chance of being born with ALD.
Two years later, a mourning police detective named Muldoon (Andrea Riseborough) begins her new job shortly after watching the father of her son Burke (John Hansen) die of cancer. Her new partner, Detective Goodman (Demian Bichir), also in mourning from his mother’s recent death. Goodman and Muldoon soon find a grisly murder scene that links back to a traumatic case he worked on in the past which was at 44 Reyburn Drive. Oddly enough, we discover that Goodman investigated the whole murder-suicide massacre without ever entering the house.
Muldoon quickly discovers the house is cursed and begins experiencing the terrifying effects of this curse firsthand. Her investigation leads to bizarre stories, and stories within stories, all of them pertaining to hauntings, murder, and suicide. The two detectives are assigned to investigate the mysterious death of Lorna Moody (Weaver), whose badly mangled body is discovered on the outskirts of town.
But after Muldoon locates Faith, injured and seemingly insane, in the Landers’ home, she becomes determined to get to the bottom of these violent and unexplained deaths before they destroy her life and that of her new partner. The majority of the film involves Muldoon after she starts looking into the case of the murdered family that has now haunted her new partner when he began his own investigation.
I have to admit, I liked the movie more than I thought I would. I think what I liked best was that the story is telling its tale from three different time periods and how they are all connected. This installment focused more on the psychological aspects of horror, and to me, that’s never a bad thing. The actors all did their character roles really well, and the soundtrack and background noises really got under my skin, pretty creepy there. I think most people will find it enjoyable enough, but I think it’s also fair to say that if you did not like any of the other installments, you’re probably not going to like this one either.
Additionally, for an R rating, it should have been more, that’s what I’m saying. I guess it was based on the gore because that was over the top for sure. The fear factor in this was a bit lame, a few jump-scares and that’s about it. Would I recommend it? Yeah, if you liked the other installments but if not, don’t bother because you won’t like this one either. Will I be buying the DVD? Nah. I just can’t see any real reason why it was even made.
Title: The Grudge
Release Date: January 3, 2020
Runtime: 1 hour, 33 minutes
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Studio: Sony Pictures
Starring: Andrea Riseborough, Demian Bichir, John Cho, Lin Shaye
MPAA Rated: R
Director(s): Nicolas Pesce
Reviewed by: Chad Bartlett
Our Rating: 3.0 /5
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