Posted: 10/24/04

The Grudge (2004)
by Gary Schultz

See the original instead.

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Sam Raimi (Spiderman, Evil Dead) is now a mega producer. He's brought The Grudge to the US under his new horror production company Ghost House productions. The Grudge is a remake of a Japanese film Ju-On by the same director Takashi Shimizu. Understand that I am currently a bad reviewer and have never seen the original film which came out only a little over a year ago. So my take will only be on this current American version of The Grudge. There's the back-story and here's the review.

I entered the theater. It's about half full, hot and smelly. The air is thick like funky body odor that's been covered up by cheap cologne. Nice environment. For this film I'm joined by Stefanie, Ryan and my current pregnant friend Amber. She's not very happy about the stink in the air either. We skip on the munchies and settle for just Cherry Pepsi. A good choice until the ice melts making it flat and watery. The Grudge is about an American nurse played by Sarah Michelle Gellar who is working in Tokyo to please her boyfriend who is studying abroad there. The grudge locks a person in a powerful rage before claiming their life and spreading to the next victim. Karen (Gellar) is exposed to the supernatural curse or grudge when she fills in for another missing nurse to take care of an elderly woman in a mysterious house. The woman looks like Ellen Burstyn from her Requiem for a Dream phase. But she is not. And the house is, of course, haunted.

The Grudge is a decent horror/thriller and scarier than I expected for PG-13. However even though the film has lots of jump scares mostly made by a creepy Japanese boy and his dead mother it fails to get really good. The story line ties up in the end but always seems to be on the surface and the third act never really delivers the one-two punch I needed to really, really like this film. We are about to open the floodgates on these American/Asian film remakes. I anticipate some films will be good but most will fall short and become very repetitious. I'm asking American audiences and often myself to just check out some foreign horror and dig on it rather than have Hollywood rewrite and remake films that are only a year or two old. I mean everyone sat through Passion of Christ why not Suicide Club or Audition. Good stuff there too.

So here's what we have learned so far. Sarah Michelle Gellar was really hot in The Grudge and she was wearing a turtleneck. It must be all the soft lighting and nice composition because she looked really good. Bill Pullman looks old. And I have never really liked Bill Pullman. There I said it. The Grudge should be renamed... "The Scary Asian Boy With an O-Shaped Mouth." The crew that saw the film with me agrees. Also I'm willing to bet the DVD will have a lot of extras and maybe even be rated R. If you're in a Halloween mood check it out. If not rent it at Christmas time on DVD.

Gary Schultz is an indie filmmaker in Chicago, IL.

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