Directed by Nicolas Pesce, this reworking of classic horror title The Grudge has popped up in cinemas around the country. With Sam Raimi attached as a producer, I thought this movie may have had a bit more hype about it. The Grudge, after all, has a bit of pedigree attached, and has cemented itself into horror lore with those white faced rattling jump scare ghosts being easily recognised all over the world. So it was strange for me to see so much disdain for this film, IMDB has it at 4 out of 10, and there were no advanced screenings for critics, never a good sign. On the plus side, the films small budget, estimated at around $14 million, should ensure that the film at least makes it’s money back. So where do the problems lie?
Well basically it seems that a lot of the points of contention are coming from the non linear approach to the storyline, and a disregard for the original material. To be honest, the film does jump around a bit, and there are different characters all trying to deal with the ghostly happenings in different ways and from different perspectives. There is the germ of an original idea here, having the police looking into these supernatural events and trying to make sense of them in a more traditional way, we also have a real estate owner being dragged into the curse as he tries to sell on the house that is haunted, and an ex cop involved in the original events that has been driven to madness through the affair but eventually the whole thing becomes a jump scare fest that does slightly cheapen the finished product.
The production on the film is generally good, and there are some tense scenes and horrific images for fans of this kind of thing.The murky colour pallet makes everything look swamped and decayed, and performance wise everyone does their best to convince.There are a couple of over the top moments, the peek a boo scene and the homage to Silence Of The Lambs spring to mind, with the performers going right over the top to sell the script, but the trouble being that often that style can drag a film into self parody losing the audience as it goes.
Plot wise we get a backstory in the opening 5 minutes, with The Grudge being brought back to the house by a haunted nanny, and things spiral from there. It’s nothing original, so the intertwined stories of all the people that are infected by The Grudge form the thrust of the narrative. Was it as dreadful as other critics make out? I would say probably not. Maybe they were looking for more of the original lore being explored, but as a Friday night popcorn horror movie this ticks the boxes. It’s a horror film that does it’s best to entertain.
Yes the plot is secondary to the scares, and you will have seen this all done before but if you are a fan of horror then go see this. Part of me feels that this film could have done better had it not been attached to The Grudge franchise. It is certainly plot wise just a revenge ghost horror yarn, and I wonder if pushing Raimi’s attachment to it as a new vehicle, may have worked out better. Hard core fans of The Grudge would not be offended and horror movie fans would have supported a new horror with Raimi’s name attached. If interested check it out, if it’s not your bag miss it and wait for it to stream.