The Grudge (2004) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

The Grudge (2004) Review

Horrorific content by Yo Adrian on April 17th, 2020 | Movie Review | Cursed, Supernatural, Haunted House, Killer Kid, The Grudge Series

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It's about a cursed house in Tokyo that unleashes its rage on an unlucky American family.

The Grudge was directed by Takashi Shimizu (who also directed Innocent Curse and Flight 7500) and stars Sarah Michelle Gellar (from Scream 2 and The Return), Jason Behr (from Senseless and The Tattooist) and Clea Duvall (from The Killing Room and The Watch).

It never forgives. It never forgets.

The Grudge is the first of two American remakes of the popular Japanese horror movie Ju-on: The Grudge and is the third part of a six part series. It was produced by horror legend Sam Raimi who also produced 17 other horror movies including The Evil Dead, Evil Dead remake, the Poltergeist remake, The Possession and Drag Me To Hell. And it was directed by Takashi Shimizu, same guy behind the original Ju-on movies and 19 more including The Grudge 2, Tomie: Rebirth, Tokyo Gore Police, Tormented and Flight 7500. And the screenplay was written by the guy behind the Texas Chainsaw remake and Unfriended Dark Web. So, no shortage of horror experience between these guys.

The Grudge is a near scene by scene remake of the original, although it differs from the original in that it was clearly made for an American audience. Gone are the manga style chapters (although the movie is still told in segments, they're just not labeled and they flow more seamlessly together), there's a few new supernatural elements woven in and the special camera effects were significantly better. Of course, the effects look cheesy looking back since the same tricks have been done to death since then.

The movie itself starts off strong, with a mysterious suicide kicking things off. The plot also unfolds in a non-linear way which helps to keep things interesting. Horror fans seem to be split in regard to the fear factor. I personally loved The Grudge when it first came out back in 2004 and thought it packed a real punch. There's just so many individually scary scenes (or at least they were back then, before I binged horror movies for 15 years straight that completely desensitized me from scares). Kayaku crawling out from under the covers is one, and her creeping through the hallway of an office building is another.

Grudge gif

But, not everyone agrees and many compare it with the American remake of The Ring that came out two years prior. And in all fairness, it IS almost the same movie. I also happened to really like The Ring, so it was a good time for horror in my opinion. The original Saw came out the same year. What's not to love?

Worth Watching? 

I definitely think so. The Grudge was a staple horror during that time and is a really good J-horror crossover. Maybe it's not scary by today's standards, but back then it was and might even be today if you're new to the genre. It's actually one of the few horror remakes that I think is better than the original.

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