'The Grudge' (2020) Grudgingly Gets By
'The Grudge' (2020)
Picture this: 90 minutes of a ghost appearing out of nowhere for a jump scare and the screen either cutting to the next scene or the person turns the lights on and the ghost is gone.
Doesn't sound very interesting, does it?
That is the entirety of the newest edition to 'The Grudge' series.
This time the plot takes place in America, only showing less than 10 seconds of a character, Fiona Landers, in Tokyo. They explain that she was being tormented by Kayako Saeki and she brought the spirit back to America.
And here starts the movie...
Like the previous films, 'The Grudge' (2020) is told out of sequence, jumping back and forth between different timelines.
There is a police investigation that starts at the very beginning of the film acts as the present day. A new police officer (Andrea Riseborough) joins forces with a seasoned officer (Damián Bichir). It is obvious by his drinking and closed-off demeanor that he has seen stuff that haunts him.
This is where the other stories are told. As Riseborough investigates this case, she learns about the events that have taken place and more about the curse that haunts the house.
John Cho plays a real estate agent in the film. Oh, and his wife is pregnant because they try to make you care about them. He is selling the house that is haunted by the curse. So, that's how he ties into the story.
Lin Shaye and Jackie Weaver are also in this movie. Shaye plays a woman who suffers from dementia, delusions and terminal illness. She and her husband have just moved into the house. The husband contacts Weaver, who plays an assisted suicide consultant, who also becomes affected by the curse.
When are American production companies going to realize that Japanese horror films do NOT need to be remade?
'The Grudge' (2020),'The Ring', 'One Missed Call', 'Dark Water'. All originally terrifying Japanese horror films that America decided to remake into bland horror.
We have not learned yet because 'Train to Busan' seems to be getting an American reiteration.
'The Ring' (2002) is actually a really good horror movie, but why did we need a remake? The Japanese version is terrifying!
However, we are talking about 'The Grudge' (2020). I knew I would do it, as much as I told myself not to, I knew I would. I continually kept comparing the 2020 version of 'The Grudge' to the 2004 version.
I have a soft spot in my heart for 'The Grudge' (2004) because it is the first horror film that I remember absolutely scaring me as a kid. Kayako Saeki haunted my dreams with her Death Rattle groan and deformed body crackling as she crawled on the ground.
And that is what was missing in this film. That aspect of the 2004 version was nowhere to be found in this remake. There was nothing interesting or special about it.
The "vengeful" ghosts would stand in a corner as somebody walks by and do nothing. Sometimes, you can see them walking in the background. Why would they not pursue these victims?
Even when they did haunt, they would appear as a jump scare and disappear. Really! They did not do anything in this stupid, stupid, stupid movie.
The movie was 45 minutes in and I was wondering when the actual story was going to start. There is nothing worse than a boring horror movie.
I don't know if I should blame it on the writers or the boring ghosts, but this is a slow movie. I wonder who read this screenplay and thought this needed to be made. On second thought, did anyone actually read this screenplay!?
The film contains two oscar nominees, Bichir and Weaver, and other notable actors including Shaye and Cho. So, how did this film turn out so bad? And how did they recruit these actors?
Shaye is the only actor in the film that seems to be having fun. She is incredible in everything, but she plays a woman who has lost her mind to a tee. Everyone else seems to be asleep at the wheel.
The out of sequence storytelling feels useless in this film. I did not feel like I got to know exactly what was going on because it kept jumping back and forth. I could not keep up.
They tried doing something different by bringing the curse to America, but other than that, there is nothing different.
What the filmmakers should have done is made a more linear storyline and told the story from the cop's perspective. Dive deeper into what haunts Bichir. Play on the rookie cop with a seasoned cop who has a past. It would have been interesting to make a mystery/horror type film about a couple of cops who don't know what they are getting themselves into.
Tell the story in light of 'Seven' or 'Fallen'. You can make a movie about a police investigation and create an eerie atmosphere to tell a compelling story.
In the end, 'The Grudge' (2020) was a huge waste of time. It could have been a really good horror movie if they were to tighten the story and put actual scares in there. With a more psychological tone and an interesting story, this could have been a different review.
I wish I could have seen Kayako, Toshio or the cat Mal. That is what made the previous ones at the least enjoyable. They were missed.
I am not going to recommend this film to anyone. But, if you must, I recommend some heartache medication for you. 'The Grudge' (2020) is better watched with a glass of Vodka in your hand.