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"The Grudge" (2020) Movie Review

Updated on December 25, 2021
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Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry who hopes his writings will help launch his career.

Here's proof that you just can't always get what you want. The Grudge (2020) attempts to be smart and weave together a new story with the first two American films, but, in doing so, sacrifices true scares and instead uses cheap jump-scares.

The film follows a few different storylines, a format similar to the first Grudge film. First, a woman named Fiona leaves a haunted home in Japan, ready to come home. She starts experiencing frightening visions and isn't sure how to handle them. Second, Detective Muldoon returns to the force after three months and immediately is assigned a case related to a house in America where a grisly murder had taken place. Muldoon obsessively tries to piece together how her current case and the past murder connect. Third, a real estate agent and his wife are having trouble conceiving. On their way home from the hospital, husband Peter stops by a home to get the new buyers to sign their paperwork but no one's home. Later, Peter starts experiencing creepy incidents. Lastly, a live-in nurse comes to a home to try and help a troubled elderly woman but discovers she's worse-off than her husband let on. Eventually, the storylines merge, making everything become clear.

The film felt more like a remake of the remake rather than an homage to the previous entries. Just as with any horror sequel, there's issues that can't be overlooked. The most glaring issue is what's missing. When people think of The Grudge, they immediately think of the pale woman and boy spirits making crackled groaning and scared cat noises. They're iconic. So, making a sequel that doesn't include them at all is already a problem. I understood where they were going, though. They were trying to prove that the first Grudge spawned a new Grudge which would spawn another and another and so on. The curse of the Grudge will never stop. It makes sense and it is smart writing, but when it comes to horror, any time something smart is done there's always a sacrifice which leads to a negative. While the film was smart, it was also a rehash. The same format and story happened in the first film. The only difference is that this film happens in America rather than Japan. The new Grudge was also a bit slower which really wasn't necessary. Fans of the series already know where the story is headed so slower storytelling is more of a crutch than a necessity. The final issue is that there weren't any scares worth building up to. It was all cheap thrills and that also made the film suffer.

In conclusion, I do respect the smart writing and the great acting but the slow pace and the jumpscares hurt the film a lot. Since there's equally things I liked and disliked, I give the film a 2 out of 4.

© 2020 Nathan Jasper


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