‘The Grudge’ Review

Director: Nicolas Pesce

Writer: Nicolas Pesce

Cast: Andrea Riseborough, Demian Bichir, John Cho, Betty Gilpin, John J. Hansen, Frankie Faison, William Sadler, Lin Shaye and Jackie Weaver

Synopsis: A house is cursed by a vengeful ghost that dooms those who enter it with a violent death.

*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

The second remake of the Japanese horror film Ju-on: The Grudge from 2002 – the first American remake came out in 2004 – this new Grudge movie comes from writer/director Nicolas Pesce, known for The Eyes of My Mother, and brings the action to America instead of keeping it in Japan. Pesce had come out before the release of the movie saying his version of the story would be “fucked up.” So, some self-professed hype is already at play here. That said, I will admit that when I found out about Pesce directing the remake, and having seen The Eyes of My Mother, I thought he’s a pretty descent choice. However, now having seen The Grudge I will say this; I was wrong.

The Grudge tells four different stories – taking place in different years – that are all connected to one home, where every person that steps in it is met with a violent and deadly outcome. Like I mentioned, the action is moved to America, and mostly follows the story of Detective Muldoon (Andrea Riseborough), who has moved to a new town with her son, Burke (John J. Hansen), after the death of her husband. She’s assigned to her new partner, Goodman (Demian Bichir), and immediately finds a body in the forest that belonged to the long missing Lorna Moody (Jacki Weaver). The case makes Goodman uneasy, and that makes Muldoon curious about the case.

The connected stories belong to Peter and Nina Spencer (John Cho and Betty Gilpin), real-estate agents who are dealing with pregnancy problems, and are trying to sell the, unbeknownst to them, cursed house. There is also Faith and William Matheson (Lin Shaye and Frankie Faison), who are other occupants of the house, when William asks for help from Lorna Moody. Then there is a short story between Goodman and his old partner Wilson (William Sadler), and finally the, short, story of what kick starts everything of Fiona Landers (Tara Westwood) who worked in Japan – in the original cursed house – and brought the curse back with her.

While the non-linear narrative is nothing new for this brand, this Grudge makes things too muddy for its own good. While it doesn’t bounce around too much, the stories are a bit blah. It also doesn’t help that we know The Matheson’s, Sanders’ and Moody are dead so the tension of seeing their story play out is dampened a bit, but even when they’re playing out they really don’t do much to suck you in.

The only real story that draws you in is that of John Cho and Betty Gilpin, mainly because of how serious they play it. I’d argue that they should have been the focus and then have Riseborough and Bichir’s characters play into their story. The real shame here is the waste of the cast, even though everyone looks like they are trying to the best with what they have, the majority of the characters are underwritten or just not given anything to really do. This is true for Bichir’s Goodman, who doesn’t really do anything other than tell Muldoon to let the case go, and he always thought there was something wrong with the house.

Then comes the scares, probably the main reason everyone will try to watch this. On that front, The Grudge disappoints as well. The scares are pretty basic and nothing we haven’t seen before. Even the classic imaginary that we are familiar with – the hand in the hair, bathtub filled with dirty water – isn’t worthwhile. There are nice references to the past films, but it’s there to mainly show that Pesce was a fan of the series before he got the job. Which is a shame because I do think that Pesce has a good eye for imagery, but it’s almost like Pesce was afraid of letting the movie loose, and being “fucked up” like he promised.

All in all, The Grudge is less superior to its 2004 remake, and is way too messy for its own good. The characters are underdeveloped or underwritten, and it lacks the punch the movie tries to promise. Plus, it is a tad boring at times, which is something you don’t want from horror movie. If I had to pick something that I liked about it, it would probably be some of the score from The Newton Brothers.

The Grudge

Rating: Pass

 

January Movie Releases

Happy New Year!!

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, we have a new year in front of us which means one thing: new movies! Now, January is usually referred to as Hollywood’s “Dump” Month. Meaning they will release movies that they don’t think will perform well or are not confident in. Sometimes that is the case, but sometimes a movie will shine through. January is also filled with expanded releases of movies that came out in late December, so there is also that to look forward to.

 

3rd

The Grudge – Screen Gems, Ghost House Pictures, Stage 6 Films

A remake of the Japanese horror film, Ju-on, and the American remake from 2004, a house is cursed by a vengeful ghost that dooms those who enter it with a violent death. Directed by Nicolas Pesce (The Eyes of My Mother), The Grudge stars John Cho, Andrea Riseborough, Demian Bichir, Betty Gilpin, William Sadler, Jackie Weaver and Lin Shaye.

 

10th

Expansion Release: 1917 & Just Mercy

 

The Informer – Aviron Pictures, Thunder Road Pictures, Imagination Park Entertainment

An ex-convict (Joel Kinnaman) working undercover intentionally gets himself incarcerated again in order to infiltrate the mob at a maximum security plan. The Informer co-stars Rosemund Pike, Common, Ana de Armas and Clive Owen.

 

Like a Boss – Paramount Pictures, Artists First

Two friends (Rose Byrne and Tiffany Haddish) with very different ideals decide to start a beauty company together One is more practical, while the other wants to earn her fortune and live a lavish lifestyle. Like a Boss co-stars Salma Hayek, Bill Porter and Jennifer Coolidge.

 

Underwater – 20th Century Fox, TSG Entertainment, Chernin Entertainment

A crew of aquatic researchers work to get to safety after an earthquake devastates their subterranean laboratory. But the crew has more than the ocean seabed to fear. Underwater stars Kristen Stewart, Jessica Henwick, John Gallagher Jr., Mamoudou Athie, T.J. Miller and Vincent Cassel.

 

17th

Limited Release – The Wave

Frank (Justin Long), an opportunistic insurance lawyer, thinks he’s in for the time in his life when he goes out on the town to celebrate an upcoming promotion. But their night takes a turn for the bizarre when Frank is dosed with a hallucinogen that completely alters his perception of the world. The Wave co-stars Donald Faison, Katia Winter, Bill Sage and Tommy Flanagan.

 

Dolittle – Universal Pictures, Perfect World Pictures

Dr. John Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.) lives in solitude behind the high walls of his lush manor in 19th-century England. His only companionship comes from an array of exotic animals that he speaks to on a daily basis. But when young Queen Victoria (Jessie Buckley) becomes gravely ill, the eccentric doctor and his furry friends embark on an epic adventure to a mythical island to find the cure. The voice cast includes Tom Holland, Rami Malek, Selena Gomez, Kumail Nanjiani, John Cena, Ralph Fiennes, Octavia Spencer, Marion Cotillard and Emma Thompson. The rest of the human cast is filled by Michael Sheen and Antonio Banderas.

Thoughts: Dolittle is already coming in with some troubles. The film was reportedly plagued with production troubles, and post-production issues as well, resulting in some reshoots that also involved bringing in different directors.

 

Bad Boys for Life – Columbia Pictures, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Overbrook Entertainment

Marcus and Mike have to confront new personal issues, as they join the newly created elite team, named AMMO, of the Miami police department to take down the ruthless Armando Armas, the vicious leader of a Miami drug cartel. Bad Boys for Life stars Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Charles Melton, Jacob Scipio, Kate del Castillo and Joe Pantoliano.

Thoughts: Say what you will about long-gestating sequels, seeing Will Smith and Martin Lawrence together, going back-and-forth is going to get my money.

 

24th

The Last Full Measure – Roadside Attractions

Thirty-four years after his death, Airman William H. Pitsenbarger (Jeremy Irvine) is awarded the nation’s highest military honor, for his actions on the battlefield. The Last Full Measure co-stars Sebastian Stan, Ser’Darius Blain, Alison Sudol, Diane Ladd, Ed Harris, William Hurt, Bradley Whitford, Samuel L. Jackson and Christopher Plummer.

 

Run – Lionsgate

Directed by Aneesh Chaganty (Searching), a home schooled teenager (Kiera Allen) begins to suspect her mother is keeping a dark secret from her. Run co-stars Sarah Paulson.

*No Trailer Available Yet*

 

The Turning – Universal Pictures, Amblin Entertainment, Vertigo Entertainment

A modern take on Henry James’ novella “The Turn of the Screw,” a young governess (Mackenzie Davis) is hired by a man who has become responsible for his young nephew and niece (Finn Wolfhard and Brooklynn Prince) after the deaths of their parents.

 

The Gentlemen – Miramax, STX Films

Written and directed by Guy Ritchie, A British drug lord tries to sell off his highly profitable empire to a dynasty of Oklahoma billionaires. The Gentlemen stars Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, and Hugh Grant.

Thoughts: Guy Ritchie seems to be back. Let’s hope so!

 

31st

Limited Release – The Traitor

The real life of Tommaso Buscetta (Pierfrancesco Favino), the so called “Boss of the Two Worlds,” the first mafia informant in Sicily in the 1980s.

 

Gretel & Hansel – Orion Pictures, BRON Studios, Automatik

A long time ago in a distant fairy tale countryside, a young girl (Sophia Lillis) leads her little brother (Samuel Leakey) into a dark wood in desperate search of food and work, only to stumble upon a nexus of terrifying evil. Gretel & Hansel co-stars Jessica De Gouw and Alice Krige.

 

The Rhythm Section – Paramount Pictures, IM Global, Eon Productions

Based on the novel by Mark Burnell (who also wrote the script), a woman (Blake Lively) seeks revenge against those who orchestrated a plane crash that killed her family. The Rhythm Section co-stars Jude Law and Sterling K. Brown.

 

What are you looking forward to?

New Podcast – Baby Driver Spoiler Review & More

The Movie Pit Podcast is back recapping the slow movie news week that was. Also, I spoil review Baby Driver. Also, if Youtube is inconvenient for you to listen to the podcast, the podcast is now on ITunes. Link down below

 

Podcast Link – https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-movie-pit-podcast/id1249582608?mt=2