Before I get to the review, I want to go over a couple changes:
1. I had to delete a couple movies from the top of the list because the quality of them was too poor to watch/review.
2. In their place, I have added The Grudge trilogy.
3. Movies taken out: The Town That Dreaded Sundown, Dolls, and Humanoids From the Deep.
4. Movies added: The Grudge, The Grudge 2, The Grudge 3.
Movie Number- 114
October Horrorthon Number- 2
Title- The Grudge (2004)
Running Time- 91 minutes
Director- Takashi Shimizu
Writer- Stephen Susco (screenplay), Takashi Shimizu (Ju-On: The Grudge)
Starring- Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jason Behr, Bill Pullman
The Grudge is a remake of the Japanese film Ju-On: The Grudge, and Takashi Shimizu directed both. In The Grudge, Karen (Sarah Michelle Gellar), an American studying abroad in Japan with her boyfriend Doug (Jason Behr), volunteers at a day nurse for people who need help taking care of themselves. She is given her first case to work alone when another girl doesn’t show up for her shift. Karen heads to the house, and meets the elderly Emma (Grace Zabriskie) who will not speak to her. Karen starts to hear noises in the house and goes to investigate. This is when Karen comes in contact with a Japanese curse that maliciously kills people who come in its grasp. Karen struggles to find the cause of this curse, as well as how to stop it before it is too late.
The Grudge has a lot of faults, but the biggest one has to be it’s pacing. The movie definitely has its scary moments, but these are so far between boring, slow paced moments that I nearly fell asleep waiting for the next plot point. The majority of the plot is told via flashbacks, which might confuse a few viewers because of how suddenly they appear. This made the plot feel like it was back on its heels, dragging me along because it had to, instead of me riding along with the plot line. This was a big enough problem, but not the only one. The scripting was unnatural and amateurish, especially compared to the original Ju-On. Likewise, the scares in the film were cheap, jumpy scares and lacked the overall sense of terror that drove the original Ju-On. Sarah Michelle Gellar acted on one note throughout the entire film, and her character was not given enough depth for me to truly care about her welfare. This fault lies on screenwriter Stephen Susco, though, not Gellar. The ghost effects were done well, and were effective in scaring the hell out of me at points, but there was still something missing in the horror department of the film.
With terrible pacing, a lackluster story, and an unrealistic script, The Grudge cannot get my recommendation. Stick with the original Ju-On: The Grudge if you want some true terror. I have no problem with the jump-out-at-you horror, but when it comes to something of this nature – deadly Asian curses – I want more than that. The Grudge had potential, but failed to deliver in every way that matters.
Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn’t until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.