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Overall Rating

Awesome: 20%
Worth A Look: 8.8%
Average: 21.6%
Pretty Bad: 16.8%
Total Crap32.8%

7 reviews, 83 user ratings

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Grudge, The (2004)
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by Laura Kyle

"Don't go to Japan. It's haunted!"
1 stars

Writer director Takashi Shimizu created the original Japanese film, 2003's JU-ON: THE GRUDGE, and I guess it was an enjoyable experience for him, because he made a sequel to that and then took on this Americanized version as well. Why any filmmaker would perpetuate a movie like THE GRUDGE is beyond my realm of understanding.

Essentially, The Grudge is about tortured spirits. I bet you weren't expecting that scenario! I can't think of any horror flicks revolving around angry ghosts who dole out their version of justice upon the living.

Well, if not original - at least The Grudge is frightening, or well acted, or cleverly told? No, it's not. How about substance? No, there isn't any. Come on! It's entertaining, right? Yeah, I'll give you that one.

The Grudge is without a doubt entertaining. Be prepared for - ringing phones! Meowing cats! The false frights are too numerous to be laughed at - they are downright cheap. And the true frights are not anymore well choreographed than a masked kid jumping out at an unsuspecting friend. And when in doubt, arbitrarily toss an eerie black cat into the mix, because they remind people of witches I guess.

Veteran composer Christopher Young can be thanked for most of the scares, his ominous strings and threatening crescendos soliciting more jumps and shrieks than any of The Grudge's plot or images. Not to mention, it appears that The Ring is once again lending itself to copycats; because boy did I have some good old deja vu! The team for The Grudge definitely borrowed some specific tricks.

But what The Grudge lacks in earned thrills, it makes up for in stupidity. Either The Grudge is a case of editing gone awry, or a story that is utterly void of logic. While the general idea behind the freaky ghosts is pretty coherent (involving a young Japanese woman and boy), the overall predicament of the various Americans in Tokyo, who are haunted by them, is senseless. Rumor has it that native Japanese ghosts don't like foreign - more specifically, American - visitors, but who can blame them?

If cows go "moo" the ghosts supposedly make throat gargles akin to the sound of a tree limb scratching across a windowsill, or popcorn popping (take your pick). And while sometimes their attacks upon the victims seem purposeful, there is no pattern to their methods. For instance, in one scene, monster like claws protrude from the head of a showering Gellar, and in another, a shady spirit apparently garbles up (or something to that an extent) a woman, who is not even in the supposed haunted house. Shall I even delve into the stupid humans who wonder around in the dark for no reason, never call upon the authorities when in danger, and keep on making themselves known to the ghosts by asking, "Is anybody there?" Yes, there's somebody there, you idiot, run for your life! After all, when mean spirits haunt the average Joe, doesn't Joe decide to be a lone detective and unravel the mystery, rather than calling the Ghostbusters, or just moving?

The acting is bland and unforgivable. Sarah Michelle Gellar has consistently proven to be a bore, with the arguable exception of her TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and she is merely a prop here, widening her eyes and screaming occasionally, yet still failing to come across as even remotely affected, which is not a good thing considering that she is in a horror movie! The best actor at hand is Bill Pullman, yet he hardly makes anything more than a cameo.

Not enough clues are given to the moviegoers early on to warrant any real interest into the general mystery of The Grudge - confusion takes the place of curiosity. The scenes are so short and the plot so fragmented, that it is difficult for any real chain of events or character development to be understood by the audience. The Grudge is like a playful experiment by Hitchcock wannabes, people with a significant amount of talent and money, fooling around with effects and pacing, who simply want to scare the crap out of you. Too bad they (or Shimizu) forgot about making a movie.

Nearing the climactic third quarter, it's as though Shimizu and co-screenwriter Stephen Susco realized they forgot about a theme, throwing in a little monologue explaining how horrifying events - like violent murder - leave an imprint in their locations, which of course means basically that there are ghosts haunting the living. What a revelation.

The Grudge takes a tedious turn for the worse when audience members begin to discover that Shimizu is simply using the same tactics over and over again, without telling a story.

In a movie theater, when all of the audience jolts and screams are followed by uncontrollable laughter, it is very evident that THE GURDGE is more like a silly ride than an actual, you know, film. If you are easily manipulated and make an effort to play along with Shimizu, it is very possible you may leave THE GRUDGE with an adrenaline rush. However, it's unfortunate that such a thoughtless display is masquerading as a movie.

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originally posted: 10/25/04 04:16:06
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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

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
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  22-Oct-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 17-May-2005



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