Plot: A house is cursed by a vengeful ghost that dooms those who enter it with a violent death.
Director: Nicolas Pesce
Release Date: January 2020
Just like in the early ‘oos, every time we get a Ring film we get a Grudge film and once again like with Rings I was disappointed with what the filmmakers chose to do with these iconic franchises.
Set in the same cinematic universe as the previous three Grudge films, this time we leave Japan and travel to the American suburbs and therein lies one of the movie’s problems, as the move to the States, removed the rawer, grittier chill factor that the original Japanese setting gave us. Not to mention that even filling the film with jump scares didn’t result in the film being remotely scary, the number one thing a horror film is supposed to be. What’s worse is that even with the stronger rating, the film feels no different to the teen horror films we are seeing lately such as Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark or Escape Room.
Although I would argue that compared to Rings, it’s the better film and tries to do more interesting things with the plot, this, however, doesn’t make the film feel any more necessary.
As mentioned above, there are some aspects of the film where the makers have tried to do something interesting with the plot, namely borrowing the non-linear plot from The Grudge 2, with all the jumping between timelines making pay attention to what you’re watching and helping to cement the timelessness feel that the makers were going for, be it the grudge house, the curse or the ghosts. With a little more work, in terms of story, it wouldn’t have taken much to perfect and given it a nice full-circle feeling, possibly an extra 10/15 minutes devoted to the modern-day timeline to create the substance.
In terms of acting, everyone does their parts well, especially Riseborough who carries the plot as she attempts to solve the pattern of mysterious deaths plaguing her town and move on from the death of her husband, while John Cho makes the most of what he is given and Lin Shaye once again in excellent.
Sadly the whimpering ending is what really sealed the films averageness for me, making me dream of what could have been and how I wish it had brought more the franchise, maybe a return to Tokyo and bringing back Kayako and Toshio will help any inevitable future films and elevate it to more than just another start of the year horror film.