The Grudge

"OK"

The Grudge Review


Remaking hit Japanese horror movies (a la 'The Ring') is Hollywood's latest plan to rake in big bucks without actually having to be creative or original -- and while "The Grudge" is nothing more than a cultural twist on the standard-issue haunted house movie, I will give credit to director Takashi Shimizu (remaking his own film "Ju-On") for giving me goosebumps. Lots and lots of goosebumps.

He succeeds on this front by providing truly chilling ghosts -- floating specters of inky black tendrils that form into the gray porcelain faces, horrifically gaping mouths and kohl-ringed, milk-saucer eyes of a family murdered in a Tokyo house that is now occupied (but not for long!) by the wife and terrified, catatonic mother of an American businessman.

But Shimizu also lends the film a unique structure that helps set it apart from the kind of prefabricated scary movies that dominate the genre. He follows a psychological (rather than chronological) narrative into an interactive patchwork of long flashbacks that reveal the genesis of the haunting and tie the whole six-degrees-of-separation story together in its latest victim -- an exchange student played by Sarah Michelle Gellar.

A nursing-school grad who provides care for the schizoid mom when the regular nurse mysteriously disappears, Gellar is not called on to do much more than look terrified while putting together pieces of a puzzle that keeps leading her back to the house for more stomach-knotting encounters. It's hard to imagine why an actress best known for kicking ghoulie butt on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" would take any role in another spook story, let alone one in which she's a standard-issue victim.

But she plays the part well, and her fear and disorientation are terrifically enhanced by the decision to keep the Japanese setting in this remake, which creates unfamiliar superstitions, language barriers and cultural dislocation that isolate Gellar (and the other American hauntees) all the more from the tangible world around her.

"The Grudge" suffers from a lack of character development and several minor gaffes in its own internal logic, as well as the kind of often nonsensical horror-movie plot calculation that leaves shamelessly obvious openings for endless sequels. But unlike 99 percent of such flicks, it doesn't insult the intelligence or depend on cheap jump-frights to sustain its substantial tension. "The Grudge" earns its goosebumps honestly.



The Grudge

Facts and Figures

Run time: 92 mins

In Theaters: Friday 22nd October 2004

Box Office USA: $110.2M

Box Office Worldwide: $183.5M

Budget: $10M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Entertainment

Production compaines: Colombia Pictures, Ghost House Pictures, Fellah Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 39%
Fresh: 61 Rotten: 96

IMDB: 5.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Karen Davis, as Doug, as Matthew Williams, as Jennifer Williams, as Susan Williams, as Emma Williams, as Peter Kirk, as Maria Kirk, as Alex, Takako Fuji as Kayako Saeki, as Nakagawa, Yoko Maki as Yoko, Yuya Ozeki as Toshio, Takashi Matsuyama as Takeo, Hiroshi Matsunaga as Igarashi

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.