The Grudge Movie 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.

Comments

The Grudge Rating

" OK "

Rating: PG-13, 2004

Advertisement

More Sarah Michelle Gellar

New 'Scooby Doo' Movie Announced In Wake Of Casey Kasem Death

A brand new Scooby Doo movie has been given the green light by Warner Bros. just days after the announcement that the original Shaggy voice...

Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz Together Again! But Where Are The Cast of Buffy Now?

We practically fell off our chair with excitement when we saw that Buffy and Angel, sorry, Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz have recently been...

The Year's Favourites Are Chosen At The 2014 People's Choice Awards: Full List Of Winners [Photos]

The People's Choice Awards kicks started awards season and the celebrities didn't let down as they came out in force and with style in Los...

Sarah Michelle Gellar Tells Fans Off For Forcefully Trying To Obtain Autographs Outside 'Letterman'

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' star Sarah Michelle Gellar poses for photographers as she arrives outside the New York studios of 'The Late Show with David...

Advertisement

CBS Plan 'Bad Teacher' Series Based On The Cameron Diaz Film

With the fall line ups for television broadcasters across America being revealed gradually over the past weeks, CBS have thrown a curveball with the announcement...

Sarah Michelle Gellar, Robin Williams And Anna Faris Make An Appearance At CBS Upfront 2013 - Part 2

The biggest stars of the CBS network including 'The Crazy Ones' actors Sarah Michelle Gellar and Robin Williams, and 'Mom' stars Anna Faris and Allison...

The Crazy One: Robin Williams Stuns CBS Advertisers With Cocaine Jokes

Robin Williams plays an unhinged advertising genius in the new CBS comedy The Crazy Ones, with co-star Sarah Michelle Gellar, and the veteran comedian certainly...

Gellar's Baby Name Revealed! Is He Named After Classic Boxer?

Sarah Michelle Gellar's choice of baby name for her second child has finally been revealed, some two months after she and husband Freddie Prinze Jr...

Advertisement