The Grudge (aKa The Grudge: The Untold Chapter) is a 2020 horror film written & directed by Nicolas Pesce (The Eyes of My Mother & Piercing). It’s a reboot of the 2004 remake from the original 2002 film Ju-On. There’s 9 other films made in the Ju-On series & 2 other American sequels for The Grudge franchise. It was produced by Sam Raimi (The Grudge franchise, Crawl, Don’t Breathe, Poltergeist, & Boogeyman) & Rob Tapert (Evil Dead franchise, Darkman franchise, Hard Target, & Timecop) for Ghost House Pictures. It had an estimated budget of $14 million & it grossed $49.5 million worldwide at the box office!!!!
In 2004, live-in nurse Fiona Landers (played by: Tara Westwood from Hell Girl & The Big Take) leaves a house in Tokyo when she disturbed by events she has witnessed inside. Fiona informs her co-worker that she is returning to America before encountering the ghost of Kayako Saeki (played by: Junko Bailey from Category 6: Day of Destruction). Fiona returns to her home on 44 Reyburn Drive in a small town in Pennsylvania with her husband Sam (played by: David Lawrence Brown from Channel Zero) & daughter Melinda (played by: Zoe Fish from I Still See You). Kayako’s curse, possesses Fiona, which causes to murder her whole family before committing suicide by stabbing herself in the throat. Detectives Goodman (played by: Demián Bichir from The Hateful Eight, Alien: Covenant, Machete Kills, & The Nun) & Wilson (played by: William Sadler from Bill & Ted franchise, Die Hard 2, VFW, & Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight) investigate the murders. Unsettled by the house, Goodman refuses to enter it while Wilson enters to scope out the scene. Upon exiting, Wilson slowly starts to lose his sanity & eventually becomes hysterical when he spots Fiona’s ghost outside so he attempts to commit suicide by shooting himself, but is unsuccessful. He ends up at a psychiatric asylum. Real estate agents Peter (played by: John Cho from Harold & Kumar franchise, Star Trek franchise, Searching, & American Pie franchise) & Nina Spencer (played by: Betty Gilpin from The Hunt, Stuber, Isn’t It Romantic, & Glow) learn that their unborn child will most likely be born with a rare genetic disorder ALD. Peter goes to look into selling 44 Reyburn Drive & stumbles across Melinda’s ghost. The possessed Peter returns to his home & spreads the curse to his own family. In 2005, elderly couple Faith (played by: Lin Shaye from the Insidious franchise, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Director’s Cut, & There’s Something About Mary) & William Matheson (played by: Frankie Faison from the Hannibal franchise, The Wire, Maximum Overdrive, & White Chicks) move into the house. Faith suffers from dementia & a terminal illness. Faith is infected by the curse & starts to see Melinda around the house. William gets desperate & calls assisted suicide consultant Lorna Moody (played by: Jacki Weaver from Animal Kingdom, Stoker, Widows, & Silver Linings Playbook). Lorna & the Matheson family deal with the deadly curse. In 2006, rookie detective Muldoon (played by: Andrea Riseborough from Waco, Battle of the Sexes, Oblivion, & Welcome to the Punch) moves to town with her son Burke (played by: John J. Hansen from Heart Burn) following her husband’s death from cancer. Muldoon along with Goodman are called to the woods where a corpse has been discovered. Goodman becomes uncomfortable when they learn that 44 Reyburn Drive is involved. Muldoon goes to the house which sets off a chain of unfortunate events. The unlucky detective races to fix this gruesome curse before it ruins her own life. As she digs deeper & investigates the history of the haunted house she falls into a dangerous game with the ghost. Can survive what others couldn’t? or Is it over????
It’s never a good sign when they do a remake/reboot of a remake that’s somewhat recent. I’m going to start this review off with a few positives first because it had a few good things going for it & I feel like those should be brought up. When I seen the cast listing for this, I had to do a double take because it was loaded with so much talent. This all star cast is one of the best group of actors put together for a horror film in a long time. Producer Sam Raimi set up The Grudge for a good start with all these quality performers which included Demián Bichir, William Sadler, Betty Gilpin, John Cho, Lin Shaye, Frankie Faison, Jacki Weaver, & Andrea Riseborough. Honestly, they were all great in this & they tried their best to make this entertaining at least. The special fx & gore were top notch in this, it had some real brutal moments. Unfortunately, sometimes that’s not enough to save a movie. This is one of the worst scripts that I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s cringe worthy & it tries way too hard to connect all these stories for one production. It was all over the place. It’s very confusing & incoherent, it kinda makes you more angry as the film goes on because it’s flat out awful. I seen this in theaters on it’s opening day & I thought it was the worst horror movie that I’ve seen in awhile. It’s definitely the worst film of 2020 so far. I was really hoping that I would enjoy it more on this revisit for this review but it didn’t change my opinion at all on it. It still has a great cast & high quality special fx but it’s a complete mess when it comes to the story. I can’t believe they let them film this screenplay. I can’t recommend this film to anyone but if you see it on streaming or cable then it’s worth a one time watch just to see how bad this butchered concept ended.
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Sony! This 1080p (2.39:1) transfer looks great on blu ray. It has a variety of locations & some of the brutal moments look awesome in HD. It has a variety of audio options which includes English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English: Dolby Digital 5.1, French: Dolby Digital 5.1, & Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 on the release. It sounds fantastic, the dialogue was crystal clear. All the chaos is elevated & the music has a nice boost to it. It also has English, English SDH, French, & Spanish subtitles. Both picture & sound are at a high quality for this release!!!!
Let’s discuss the special features from Sony! “Designing Death” is a little over 3 minutes. It has interviews with the cast & crew. They focus on the special fx from the production. They chat about one of the big death scenes from The Grudge. “The Cast of the Cursed” is almost 4 minutes. It has interviews with the cast & crew. They chat about The Grudge franchise. They talk about putting together this new entry for the franchise. They mention their characters. They bring up the horror genre. “Easter Egg Haunt” is almost 5 minutes. Director Nicolas Pesce points out all the references from all the other films, comics, & anything Ju-On related. You can tell he is a hardcore fan of the franchise & he definitely did his research for this one. There’s some interesting things here that I didn’t originally notice. I really enjoyed this extra, it’s honestly the highlight of this disc. 7 “Extended Scenes & Alternative Ending” that are a little over 30 minutes. This was pretty cool & a nice edition to the blu ray. I am surprised some of this got cut out of the final version. It also has a slipcover & a digital code. It’s available everywhere right now!!!!