The Grudge

"Good"

The Grudge Review


Sarah Michelle Gellar and the supernatural go together like peas and carrots, to borrow a phrase from our friend Forrest Gump. The starlet's signature role had her slaying vampires as Buffy Summers. We all know what Gellar Did Last Summer, but did you recall she also enjoyed a bit part in Wes Craven's Scream 2 and appeared in both Scooby-Doo movies?

By this roundabout logic, Gellar seems a natural fit for The Grudge, Takashi Shimizu's sufficiently creepy remake of his own cult Japanese horror flick Ju-on, a film he's made versions of a shocking five times now. Americanized and aimed squarely at the people who turned The Ring into a surprise hit, Grudge should satisfy audiences seeking a few cheap jolts for their dollar this Halloween season.

Few actresses can furrow a brow or bug their eyes better than Gellar, who gets ample opportunity to do both as Karen, an exchange student living the post-collegiate lifestyle with her grungy boy toy (Jason Behr). Karen passes time between class working for a Tokyo-based hospital care center. Her first official case finds her knocking on the door of a home possessed by the angry spirit of a husband who died while harboring a grudge. Rumor has it - or so we're told - that when a person passes away before they can properly expel their rage, a curse can form that victimizes anyone lucky enough to come in contact with it. Sounds hokey, but it works in context, and that's all we can ask.

Getting the original director to helm a remake doesn't always work - check out George Sluizer's conflicting versions of The Vanishing to prove that point. Yet Shimizu combines better elements from several of his Ju-on installments (there are two plot points worth mentioning) to make a decent hodgepodge of ideas here. One involves a teacher (Bill Pullman) who learns of an unfortunate crush. The other centers around that creepy Japanese boy from this film's trailer, who's absolutely terrifying no matter how many times we see him open his mouth wider than the Grand Canyon and screech like a banshee.

Predictable things make us jump in Grudge. We see a tub full of water or an attic filled with cobwebs, and we know scares are coming, but Shimizu startles us all the same. Though the acting is routinely bland - Gellar is particularly deadpan in a role that begged for more - the decent effects serve the story. Grudge even tells its haunted house story in reverse, which keeps us engaged when things start moving too slow. Shimizu's deliberate pacing is off for a 97-minute movie. But there's more than enough mood to drip down and fill the gaps created by the film's non-linear storytelling method. It ain't Buffy, but it will have to do.

The DVD includes a commentary by the Raimi brothers, Gellar, and others, plus an exhaustive making-of documentary and a curious featurette on the "medical explanation of fear response in film." Interesting.



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: 3 / 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 BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

Advertisement
The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

Based on a true story, this Chilean drama has a chilling edge to it that's...

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much...

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

This movie is based on a real meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon in...

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.