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Overall Rating
2.67

Awesome: 19.84%
Worth A Look: 8.73%
Average: 22.22%
Pretty Bad: 16.67%
Total Crap32.54%

7 reviews, 84 user ratings


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Grudge, The (2004)
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by Scott Weinberg

"Who knew you could take the word 'remake' so literally?"
2 stars

What do you get when take a perfectly good, if not all that thrilling, Japanese horror movie and remake it for an American audience that realllllly hates reading subtitles? Heck, just make the exact same movie, only this time use English-speaking actors, tone down the intensity, oh, and make sure you get that PG-13 rating!

After being somewhat unenthused about the "mega-hit instant classic" from Japan known as Ju-On: The Grudge, I was only casually interested in this, the inevitable American remake. Optimism dictated that perhaps my complaints about the original film (deadly slow pacing, insubstantial story, wifty characters) would be addressed in this retread. Maybe the translation via Hollywood studio would smooth out some of Ju-On's rough edges.

Sadly, nope. In fact, everything that's wrong with the original Grudge is repeated here. Literally. Plus this new version has the added detriment of Sarah Michelle Gellar in the lead role, which is like tying a lead balloon to a plywood statue. Those looking for a crafty plot, some nifty chills, and a handful of characters worth rooting for...you can look somewhere else. Those who just can't get enough of what we call "fake scares" - well, those folks should have a ball.

(A fake scare is an annoyingly cheap ploy, and it's something that's been making somewhat of a comeback these days. Imagine you paying me money to throw a cat at your head while you're fumbling through a dark hallway. And as soon as I toss the cat, I click play on my insta-shriek violin machine. Would you then look at me and say "Hey, quality scare there. That took some real ingenuity!" No. You'd call me an annoying jerk. And then you'd go pay 12 bucks to experience the same thing a dozen times in something like The Grudge.)

Right about here is where we generally get into that "plot synopsis" stuff, so here goes:

There's a haunted house in modern-day Japan.

There, that was easy.

The Grudge consists mainly of people (American people, don't forget, not Asian people!) wandering through the haunted house's hallways, only ocassionally bumping up against a chair or a cat or a creepy Asian kid with a weird haircut...and he also owns one of those insta-shriek violin machines!

Ms. Gellar wanders about, somewhat aimlessly, while doing her darndest to employ all three of the emotions at her disposal. (I caught her doing "skeptical", "confused" and one I'm pretty sure was "scared".) The background is populated by "Oh, that guy/girl was in.....!" character actors, though folks like Clea DuVall and Bill Pullman deliver maybe 19 lines apiece.

Nope, this show is all Gellar, the Loud Undead Asian Kids, and a house that croaks like a bullfrog in an iron lung. There's nothing here to root for one way or the other. The audience is not engaged in this guy escaping the house or that gal getting devoured but good. There's not much here but a barely-connected string of jolt-moments, some of which are fairly slick and successful, but they're not nearly enough to save a story this airy and dry.

But squeezing what was a pretty grim thriller into PG-13 affair was a stroke of genius. The October season combined with a relative dearth in horror fare guarantees this one a healthy opening weekend. Hey, with projects like this one...who even needs to write an original screenplay anymore?

If you consider sudden shrieks of music and pale Asian children the pinnacle of all things terrfiying, then "The Grudge" is your next favorite movie.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11076&reviewer=128
originally posted: 10/22/04 19:34:09
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Leeds Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Leeds Film Festival series, click here.
Horror Remakes: For more in the Horror Remakes series, click here.

User Comments

3/25/14 shvydedejso USA 3 stars
10/22/08 Shaun Wallner Fell asleep to this one. 1 stars
10/01/08 Ashley Nicole Hendershot-Wetherington Spoof by Anna Faris in Scary Movie movies is much better. 3 stars
3/10/08 Jayme Isaacs I Really Liked The Grudge Remake 5 stars
9/18/07 Axel The Best horror movie EVER!!!! 5 stars
5/30/07 Charles Tatum Good and unsettling 4 stars
2/19/07 Scully I can breathe backwards slowly too but it doesn't make me scary. 1 stars
2/16/07 Axel Leos Terrifying and eerie 5 stars
1/22/07 jeannie karlsen I was shocked at how scary it was,however, sarah michelle gellar was average at best 4 stars
1/08/07 vero is scarry! i love horror movies but this is the only one that scared me and is hunting me 5 stars
12/08/06 Stanley Thai It's a scary film but it's an average movie, so it's a scary average movie. 3 stars
10/14/06 Chris A pathetic attempt with no plot and no scary scenes. It'd be darn easy to spoof though. 1 stars
10/02/06 Pritchett So bad it was funny, the audience kept laughing at the stupidity of it all. B-A-D movie. 1 stars
9/20/06 simm dis movie is real horrible dan others i hd ever seen 4 stars
9/03/06 Dragon The Artist Why do they let the Japanese even attempt to make horror films? 1 stars
8/29/06 K.Sear See, this is why remakes should be illegal. It's dumbed down for the American public. 1 stars
7/21/06 Frank Rountree good for a rainy day, fair, but just average 3 stars
11/27/05 cr a little confusing story, good acting, scary, but it just seem off 2 stars
11/23/05 Melissa Not scary at ALL, lost in plot, didn't know what was happening! 1 stars
10/28/05 chris good film 4 stars
10/25/05 Anika The Grudge kicks ass guys!! 5 stars
9/20/05 Carolyn Rathburn I was not impressed with this movie, it was just gore without truth 2 stars
9/13/05 bbbr scary suck 1 stars
8/29/05 CxJx scary shit 5 stars
8/17/05 ES I found this movie getting back to the roots of the horror I loved as a kid= scary stuff 5 stars
8/04/05 ^podo not very scary but very entertaining 4 stars
7/25/05 Eric Rollins Japanese influence makes this very interesting. Like it lots. 4 stars
7/22/05 Jordan okay I hate you all for saying this movie sucked its better the LOTR.....rawr!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
7/20/05 Sir Dude What's this? Hollywood remakes an asian movie, again?! You bastards.. 1 stars
7/14/05 betty i love the gor 5 stars
7/03/05 Eddie WTF 1 stars
7/02/05 ira manley too scary for me 5 stars
6/08/05 John boring and doesn't make sense 1 stars
6/05/05 Charlene Javier Better the second time around. 3 stars
6/03/05 Christy Schultz not bad..hoped for better 3 stars
6/02/05 Ole Man Bourbon enough with the stupid girl. btw, the boy meeowing is the funniest thing since magnolia 2 stars
5/24/05 E-FUNK I've got a grudge with this piece of shit remake... leave the originals alone! 1 stars
4/22/05 Pippin007 NOT SCARY!!!! The story doesn't make sense!! 1 stars
4/15/05 ELI arg. scary... almost as idiotic as the original. Someone should shoot the director.he sucks 1 stars
4/15/05 ELI arg. scary... almost as idiotic as the original. Someone should shoot the director.he sucks 1 stars
3/22/05 Gomer Uh, I think I was scared. Nope. 3 stars
2/25/05 Comixchick One...long...boring...not-scary...zzzzzzzzz....... 2 stars
2/17/05 Rachel Neely Not as creepy as I'd hoped, but still entertaining. 4 stars
2/08/05 Raul Valdez looks scary as hell 5 stars
2/06/05 clinger26 as crappy as the asian version 1 stars
2/03/05 Meredith Harshaw The kinda horror flick of which too many get made -- eerie, but makes no real sense. 1 stars
2/03/05 Heather Purplethorne Threatens to be Sarah Michelle Gellar's breakthrough role but ultimately wastes her. 1 stars
2/02/05 BobbysRedQueen Another Horrible Movie ! Should have been a comedy ! 1 stars
12/26/04 Freddy retarded movie and terrible ending. horrible waste of $$$ 1 stars
12/05/04 da hood' almost as bad as ANCHORMAN! Fucking horrible!!!!!!! 1 stars
12/03/04 jasmine platts this film is grate an dterifying its the best horro film ive seen 5 stars
11/25/04 Caity i thought it was reli good, lots of shock parts 5 stars
11/23/04 Mockingbird So Rotten that I wasn't even scared and I'm scared of everything. Why Geller? 2 stars
11/22/04 Tanya A major dissapointment! Is not worth going to see it... at all! 1 stars
11/22/04 Bobby Creepy and scary, but it had no character development!! Gellar was underused. 4 stars
11/21/04 John Bale A fine essay in the supernatural, albeit Oriental style, despite Gellar. 5 stars
11/20/04 Archanist_101 Not the best & scariest film for this year... But it beats "The Ring"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
11/19/04 Khalecia stop hatin who ever thought it was crud! 5 stars
11/18/04 Courtney Bradley It freaked me out, They should Make a 2nd one. 5 stars
11/17/04 Sesilia Godoy 3 stars
11/16/04 Christina Sullivan THE MOVIE WAS GREAT! 5 stars
11/15/04 Naturezrevenge A sad and predictable re-make of the original. Terrible acting and pitiful timing. Pathetic 1 stars
11/14/04 psycho black dwarf guilty of being completely unnerved by a horror flick that blew it's load in the 1st act! 4 stars
11/08/04 ashley i loved it! it was the most scariest movie i've ever seen since The Ring!!! 5 stars
11/05/04 missy krook teh best movie i ahve seen in a while 5 stars
11/03/04 Al Guy It had the set pieces in place to be scary-BUT, it wasn't! Kids laughed in the theater. Ugg 2 stars
11/02/04 Momo The real terror… People paying to watch a bad version of a good movie… 2 stars
11/01/04 Jeff Terrible, not scary at all, just a blatant ripoff of 'The Ring' 1 stars
10/28/04 Ramona Lee So disappointed! 2 stars
10/28/04 Kris almost as bad as a night with Ben Affleck. 1 stars
10/27/04 Ray Bah 1 stars
10/27/04 mason I've seen scarier Scooby-Doo episodes, shame on you Mr. Raimi... 1 stars
10/26/04 Mike Doyle vivid, entertaining, and hair raising, good time 5 stars
10/26/04 Thran Not terrifying, but atmospheric and creepy. 5 stars
10/26/04 Sonny it was ok....ring was better. 3 stars
10/25/04 Manchild Fun for what it is. Not as dark as the ring. Scare factor depends on the individual 3 stars
10/25/04 BrianWilly Awesome horror flick, one of the best I've seen. 5 stars
10/25/04 karen i love it 5 stars
10/25/04 Naka Not at all thrilling or frightening. Just dumb and cheap. 2 stars
10/24/04 moviedude could do worse, but not a horror classic 4 stars
10/24/04 Dark Romance More of The Ring, but like Ring, super creepy 5 stars
10/24/04 Chelsea This movie hurt me it was so bad. 1 stars
10/24/04 Ebert Rogers Horrible! But somewhat funny. 1 stars
10/24/04 John Olson Crittics be damned!!!!! This is scarier that the ring, I go to a horror movie for the thril 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  22-Oct-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 17-May-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  18-Nov-2004




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