I only saw the 2004 version of The Grudge starring Sarah Michelle Gellar once and didn’t care for it. I didn’t find that version to be very scary so I had high hopes that this remake would be better. Contrary to the very negative Rotten Tomatoes score this film currently holds, I actually liked this film. This new version brings along a talented cast and several isolated chapters with different characters, which is a much different layout than previous installments. So why are the majority of critics wrong about The Grudge?
One of the things I like so much about this film is the way it tells three different stories that all have to do with the spirit. Going back and forth between these stories not only makes the overall film stronger but it also keeps things interesting. At the beginning I was kind of nervous that we were only going to be following one main character and that the formula would be highly predictable, but thankfully the writers decided to switch things up this time. I really enjoyed seeing these different chapters all come together, it spices up the story. There’s also several really well done scenes that get under your skin in the way you want a good horror film to. Yes there are some jump scares you can clearly see coming but then there’s also several really cool sequences that I found genuinely creepy. Darkness and suspense are used well in these sequences which is what makes them the kind of scenes where you want to look away.
The cast helps this film a good bit too. Andrea Riseborough is great as the lead and exhibits a sense of both strength and sensitivity which can be hard to balance. Demian Becher is very good as her partner and plays his part with a lovability that attracts the audience to him. They work well together too, they have several scenes just between the two of them and I was impressed with their chemistry.
Jacki Weaver is one of the actors I was very excited to see was in this and is one of my favorites. Weaver fits her role perfectly here and I liked her character. She plays a very unique type of person you don’t see a lot. Lin Shaye is great as always. This and the Insidious franchise may both be horror, but her character here is nothing at all like Elise in those films. She plays a woman who’s very clearly off her rocker and she does it with a great amount of skill. Her character provides a disturbing sense of insanity that adds to the creep factor. I loved John Cho here as well, he plays a lovable husband who’s going through a rough time with his wife and he just fits the part really well.
I like the way certain things are introduced at the beginning of the film and are played out and explained later on, making for a cool “full circle” vibe. To be honest, the only thing I was going back and forth about afterwards is whether or not I thought some of the more graphically violent visuals were necessary. A couple of them were actually warranted and brought the appropriate feeling the scene needed. On the other hand, one of the images with Shaye’s character seemed gratuitous to me. I just don’t think the film needed it.
That is the only qualm I have with The Grudge. I think the overall reaction to it so far is ridiculously off in a negative way. I found this film to be entertaining, well acted, and to have an interesting story layout. Also, the ending is pretty clever in the way it’s shot.The Grudge isn’t a horror masterpiece or anything but it’s not a bad film at all. This should satisfy audiences and I look forward to seeing it again sometime.