‘The Grudge’ (2020) grudgingly gets by

Orval Howard

When are American film productions going to learn to leave Japanese horror films alone? Nobody asks for a remake. Nobody wants a remake. They are terrifying just the way they are.

Last week I took the opportunity to review a feel-good movie during a time that we could all use a pick me up. However, this week I am going to take a different route because I watched the newest addition in The Grudge franchise and I must talk about it.

I want to talk about it not because it was good, but so people don’t waste their time with it.

Like the previous films, The Grudge (2020) is told out of sequence, jumping back and forth between different timelines.

There is a police investigation that starts at the very beginning of the film that acts as the present day. A new police officer (Andrea Riseborough) joins forces with a seasoned officer (Damián Bichir). It is obvious by his drinking and closed-off demeanor that he has seen things that haunt him.

As Riseborough investigates this case, she learns about the events that have taken place and more about the curse that haunts the house.

John Cho plays a real estate agent in the film. Oh, and his wife is pregnant because they attempt to make you invest in their story. He is selling the house that is haunted by the curse. So, that’s how he ties into the story.

Lin Shaye and Jackie Weaver are also in this movie. Shaye plays a woman who suffers from dementia, delusions and terminal illness. She and her husband have just moved into the house. The husband contacts Weaver, who plays an assisted suicide consultant, who also becomes affected by the curse.

I have a soft spot in my heart for The Grudge (2004) because it is the first horror film that I remember absolutely scaring me as a kid. Kayako Saeki haunted my dreams with her death rattle groan and deformed body crackling as she crawled on the ground.

And that is what was missing in this film. That aspect of the 2004 version was nowhere to be found in this remake. There was nothing interesting or special about it.

The “vengeful” ghosts would stand in a corner as somebody walks by and do nothing. Sometimes, you can see them walking in the background. Why would they not pursue these victims?

Even when they did haunt, they would appear as a jump scare and disappear. They did not do anything in this stupid, stupid, stupid movie.

The movie was 45 minutes in, and I was wondering when the actual story was going to start. There is nothing worse than a boring horror movie.

I don’t know if I should blame it on the writers or the CGI, but this is a slow movie. I wonder who read this screenplay and thought this needed to be made. On second thought, did anyone actually read this screenplay!?

Shaye is the only actor in the film that seems to be having fun. She is incredible in everything, but she plays a woman who has lost her mind to a tee. Everyone else seems to be asleep at the wheel.

The out of sequence storytelling feels useless in this film. There was too much happening at once and I did not feel like I got to know exactly what was going on because it kept jumping back and forth. I could not keep up.

They tried doing something different by bringing the curse to America, but other than that, there is nothing different.

What the filmmakers should have done is made a more linear storyline and told the story from the cop’s perspective. Dive deeper into what haunts Bichir. Play on the rookie cop with a seasoned cop who has a past. It would have been interesting to make a mystery/horror film about a couple of cops who don’t know what they are getting themselves into.

Tell the story with Seven or Fallen in mind. You can make a movie about a police investigation and create an eerie atmosphere to tell a compelling story.

The Grudge (2020) was a huge waste of time. It could have been a good horror movie if they were to tighten the story and put actual scares in there. With a more psychological tone and an interesting story, this could have been a different review.

I wish I could have seen Kayako, Toshio or the cat Mal from previous the films. That is what made those at the least enjoyable. They were missed.

I am not going to recommend this film to anyone. But, if you must, I don’t think you will find it at the movie rental store or Wal-Mart. I would advise looking in the dumpster where it belongs.