review by Bobby Blakey
Throughout the years there have been some great horror films out of Asia including The Ring aka Ringu and The Grudge aka Ju-On. Both have spawned sequels to the original versions as well as American remakes. In 2004 original Ju-On director Takashi Shimizu stepped into the director’s seat to do the US version as well which was followed up by two sequels in 2006 and 2009. Now the film has been remade once again aptly titled The Grudge starring Andrea Riseborough, Demián Bichir, John Cho, Betty Gilpin with Lin Shaye and Jacki Weaver. Could this new chapter bring something new to the franchise or will it not be a grudge worth having?
The Grudge follows a single mother and young detective who tries to investigate and solve the case after a young mother murders her family in her own house, Later, she discovers the house is cursed by a vengeful ghost that dooms those who enter it with a violent death. Now, she runs to save herself and her son from demonic spirits from the cursed house in her neighborhood. I am a fan of the original Japanese version of this film and surprisingly dug the American remake as well so I was excited to see the franchise come back. While I did enjoy the movie for what it was trying to do and some of the craziness of it all it still fell short of my hopes.
Not sure why they felt the need to go back to the same time period of the previous films because it didn’t really add much to the story. I would have preferred it to just do its own thing as it did with the rest of the story which I think could have made it work better. The story bounces between three different timelines that all interconnect but there is nothing that really sets these times apart. Aside from the layout of the film offers up an interesting direction to the ongoing curse as it unfolds in all of these tales and creates an overlapping story that works for the most part. I was glad to see the R rating at use here with a couple of great blood soaked moments of craziness, but wanted more.
With the previous films there was always a creepy sense even when not overly scary, but I didn’t get that here. I enjoyed the tone of it and honestly didn’t hate it, but was hoping for more attempts at terror. The typical ghosts are of course here, but they don’t have the visual punch that the original entries have. There are some great moments and while hard to follow at times I dug how they brought it all together just wished it had worked better. In the end it felt all over the place and unbalanced, but still a decent enough film that horror fans might have some fun with.
If you are a fan of the franchise give it a try, but keep your expectations lower. This isn’t the strongest entry, but I am all for getting more horror of any kind so maybe I am an exception to it all. Grab your copy of The Grudge available now on digital, Blu-ray and DVD from Sony Home Entertainment.