HOLLYWOOD─It seemed just a few weeks ago I was talking about a remake of a horror remake being made for “Black Christmas.” Well it looks like we might be seeing a trend America, because the second remake of the Japanese horror classic “The Grudge” has hit theaters. The first reincarnation transpired in 2004, now we have a new version in 2020 that has amplified the violence (the prior flick was PG-13, this one is rated-R. First off, the movie has an odd premise. You might say, what do I mean by that?
Previous installments in “The Grudge” have played with the element of time, but did so in a way where it worked. This one seems to be jumping a bit all over the place. We start in 2006, then we move backwards to 2004, and then it seems we move to 2005 before moving back to the present in an attempt to tie up some loose ends. I’m a fan of playing with continuity in the elements of a narrative, but it has to be done in a way that maintains the audience’s interest and it has to make sense to some degree.
The one exciting element about the 2004 remake of “The Grudge” was its ability to focus on a lingering level of suspense. As a viewer, you wanted to continue watching to find out what might transpire. With this latest remake, you seem to be watching just to watch. There is no clear investment in any of the characters, that may be a direct result of the script failing to properly flesh out the characters in a way that makes the audience care about their wellbeing particularly if they live or die.
“The Grudge” suffers a fate that many horror movies endure: the trailer is way more exciting than the actual movie itself. Or better yet, the trailer exposes all the good or thrilling moments, so when you watch them again as the entire movie unfolds, there is nothing to be surprised about. You know the tale about an evil spirit that haunts the people who enters the home where someone died in the grip or a powerful rage.
Again, characters are warned not to go inside the house, only to venture into the property anyone. Like c’mon people you are signing your own death warrant and all because you refused to listen to those who warned you beforehand. If we have any core characters, it would be Detective Muldoon portrayed by Andrea Risenborough, who has recently moved to town with her young son.
Her curiosity gets the best of her, and as a result she places herself and her son in harm’s way as this vengeful spirit follows her no matter where she goes. You have supporting players in Demian Bichir, John Cho, Betty Gilpin, Lin Shaye and Jacki Weaver, but you don’t care about any of these characters at all America. “The Grudge” 2020 is far worse than its 2004 version that offered some great scares, clever storytelling and a fun end.