The Grudge (2020) – Film Review


Starting 2020 Off With A Whimper

While everyone makes New Year resolutions around eating better or heading to the gym, I decided to get back to my roots and go to the cinema more regularly. I’ve become so wrapped up in the world of television that sometimes it’s nice to grab some popcorn and watch the latest blockbuster flick on the big screen. After watching The Grudge, I wish I’d made a resolution about something different.

Acting as a reboot to a 2004 remake of the original Japanese films of the same name, The Grudge is a glacially paced, mundane horror that fails to be scary, exciting or particularly logical, breaking its own lore and rules across its 90 minute run time. With a convoluted structure, some bizarre stylistic choices and an abundance of jump scares throughout, The Grudge is a really poor way to start 2020.

Split across different timelines, the story essentially follows Detective Muldoon as she stumbles upon a house cursed by a vengeful ghost whilst investigating a murder case. For the first 50 minutes or so, we cut back and forth through time to different characters until the final jump-scare-rife climax, as a series of orchestrated horror segments arrive back to back to try and wake you up.



Stylistically, there’s a whole series of issues with The Grudge that I could be here all day discussing but since I hate writing reviews bashing films, I’ll make it brief. Scenes linger for too long, with conversations unnaturally placed, pausing momentarily on each character’s face after finishing their line of dialogue. A distinct lack of music during segments and tonally jarring choices other times suck the life from any built up tension and the bizarre camera angles only further accentuate the issues.

Given the film had a $10 million dollar budget, I’m pretty shocked The Grudge plays out as lethargically as it does. Unlike something like Sharknado or an indie horror flick, The Grudge isn’t a “so bad it’s good” sort of film, it’s simply a dreary 90 minute slog that does little to enhance on the source material. To make matters worse, it isn’t a particularly scary film either.

The characters do the best they can with the script given but it’s just not enough to make The Grudge worth watching. The well-known IP will help this one make bank but to be honest, I have trouble finding any redeeming features to this one. It’s not a particularly enjoyable film and the “twist” ending acts as the proverbial rotten cherry on a rotten cake. The Grudge starts the year off with a weak, nimble whimper rather than a bloodcurdling scream. What a shame.

 


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