Surely by this point you’re all familiar with the story of ‘The Grudge’. In a house whose history is overwhelmed with violence, hatred, and negativity, the residue from those events continues to linger and interact with anyone who enters the household. It’s a story that was told in the late 90s in Japan, spawned a humongous franchise overseas, and even grew into a popular two-piece American remake. In 2020, arthouse horror director Nicolas Pesce (Eyes of My Mother, Piercing) was penned to make a new adaptation of the tale.
In this story, another house (this time within the U.S.) is cursed by a vengeful ghost that dooms those who enter it. The story remains as simple and reminiscent as ever, but this one does try some bold things. For starters, the violence is intense. The atmosphere of this film is as dark and oppressive as they come, reminding me very much of things like ‘The Dark and The Wicked’. It takes the general approach as other ‘Grudge’ films and plays within that same sandbox, while the director brings his dark, gritty, arthouse style and soaks it in blood and hatred. Some scares can be cheesy and predictable, but I feel the director knows when to cut the camera, when to zoom in, and when to let the music just overwhelm you with heavy strings and horns.
It can honestly be almost overwhelmingly intense at times, but it’s well scripted, acted (by leads such as Andrea Riseborough, John Cho & Lin Shaye), and set up. It’s about as good as a 20 years later American remake/sequel can get.
It’s not perfect by any means, and as you may have guessed, a lot of people hate this film. It currently has an ‘F’ Cinemascore and I’ve only once heard someone give any praise to this film on a podcast. But realistically, what would you expect? The story is typical and it doesn’t do anything dramatically different as far the story is concerned.. but the offering we have here atleast has a confident style and buckets of blood and ooze.
If you want a dark, depressing haunted house story, this one is great. If you have absolutely no interest in this franchise, or this specifically played out haunted house section of the genre, then I am by no means trying to force you to do otherwise. I personally found it very effective and creepy, and I would certainly give it another watch in some time.
As I always say, it’s much better than anyone gives it credit for. See it for yourself and make your own opinion.
“The Grudge” is currently streaming on Vudu, Hulu Premium, Sling TV, and YouTube.
‘Til Next Time,
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