The Grudge

 

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A new stab at The Grudge fails to shake up the franchise.

   

Grudge, The

Zoe Fish 

 

Nicolas Pesce, director of the impressive Piercing (2018), attempts to give a new lease of life to the popular but tired Japanese horror franchise created by Takashi Shimizu (initially as video shorts back in 2000). The first in the series, Ju-On: The Grudge, made in 2002, became a huge international success and sprang a few sequels in Japan as well as a couple of Hollywood remakes also directed by Shimizu.

 

Pesce’s version begins in Tokyo in 2004 and follows the story of an American woman, who, still haunted by the vengeful ghost, returns home to her family in the U.S. The house is inevitably haunted by the presence of the Grudge – and in a couple of years the body count escalates, making Detective Muldoon (Andrea Riseborough) even more determined to solve the mystery behind the brutal deaths…

 

The film is suitably atmospheric and is well constructed by Pesce – who also wrote the screenplay – which plays with time. The action is told from different perspectives but still occasionally falls into cliché. The eclectic cast also includes Demián Bichir, John Cho, Lin Shaye and Jacki Weaver, who deliver committed performances, but nevertheless it ends up being just another routine and predictable horror.

 

GEORGE SAVVIDES

 

Cast: Andrea Riseborough, Demián Bichir, John Cho, Betty Gilpin, Lin Shaye, Jacki Weaver, William Sadler, Frankie Faison.

 

Dir Nicolas Pesce, Pro Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Taka Ichise, Screenplay Nicolas Pesce, from a story by Nicolas Pesce and Jeff Buhler, Ph Zack Galler, Pro Des Jean-Andre Carriere, Ed Ken Blackwell and Gardner Gould, Music The Newton Brothers, Costumes Patricia J. Henderson.

 

Screen Gems/Stage 6 Films/Ghost House Pictures-Sony Pictures.

93 mins. USA/Canada. 2020. Rel: 24 January 2020. Cert. 15.