The Grudge (2020) Review

The Grudge (2020)
  • Directing7
  • Writing6.5
  • Acting7

Nicolas Pesce's iteration of The Grudge is a dark and moody slow-burn thriller that's occasionally disturbing, but mostly just a retread of what came before it. Actress Andrea Riseborough gives a compelling performance as the film's lead, but most of the film feels like something better is trying to get out, but that never quite happens.

Writer and director Nicolas Pesce revisits The Grudge with a high dose of familiarity, only this time with an R-rating and backing by Sam Raimi‘s horror production company, Ghost House Pictures. The Grudge (2020) is a solid spook-fest for those looking for a competently shot story that kind of meanders all of its atmosphere and scares on nothing new.

The film follows Detective Muldoon (Andrea Riseborough) as she unravels a nasty chain of murders that are all linked to a house in Japan. For reasons initially unknown to her, people keep dying in tragic and shocking ways whenever they come in contact with an eerie house.

Watching this version of The Grudge play out makes one reminisce on the original film and its first U.S. remake and for that you can’t exactly fault the film.

Credit must be given to writer/director Nicolas Pesce for taking the story and bringing it up a level in terms of horror atmosphere and feel. I totally dug the R-rating and the liberties he was able to take with the blood and gore.

The Grudge has some great practical effects that make the film feel more authentic and disturbing.

But the film’s story sort of shifts around different time periods with little to no urgency, until concluding in somewhat of a predictable hurry. It’s not that The Grudge is awful or even bad, but it does feel like a wasted opportunity that could have done so much more.

The performances at the very least are equally well-done and committed to the project, with Andrea Riseborough and Demian Bichir leading the pack as the detectives tasked with unwrapping this bloody case. John Cho also pops up and gives a harmless, yet welcoming performance as the realtor in charge of selling the property.

Lin Shaye‘s presence almost feels like a waste as she is now suddenly becoming the go-to horror legend to call upon when your film needs some big dog credentials. She’s fine, but it just feels played out and underutilized.

The Grudge is a perfectly fine January horror film that will surely entertain the die-hards for a few hours, while not really doing much of anything else to those that stop by for a viewing. You kind of know what you’re getting yourself into when you purchase a ticket for a film that has already been remade for American audiences.

I wasn’t expecting much and that’s just about what I got in return. It’s fine, far from horrible, but not really a must-see, unless you haven’t seen any of the previous versions of this film.

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