Film: The Grudge
Cast: Andrea Riseborough, Demián Bichir, John Cho, Betty Gilpin, Lin Shaye, Jacki Weaver, Tara Westwood, David Laurence Brown, William Sadler
Director: Nicolas Pesce
Rating: * * * and a half
Can a film be terrifying and tedious at the same time? This reboot of The Grudge is. Tedious with the jump scares piling up and horrifying in the way ghastly murders are manipulated by a malevolent ghost. The distinction between the real and the unreal dissolves with apparitions which may be hallucinations. The atheist and the scientist may well scoff at concepts of divinity and the afterlife but where is logic in the realm of the supernatural. The ghost in this film haunts an accursed site of bloodshed hexing all who enter. Worse, it stalks its hapless prey across the globe. Sadder still, the victims are complete innocents.
Enveloped in darkness, the interiors are particularly bleak – Writer/ Director Nicolas Pesce’s version of the American remake of the Japanese film Ju-On: The Grudge (directed by Takashi Shimizu) goes all out to please fans of the genre.
Flashbacks interweaving the horrific events that occurred at different times to different residents in the haunted house can be a tad confusing. But all of the characters are extremely interesting and you are invested in their fates.
Spiritual blindness is tellingly conveyed in scenes featuring detective/ single parent Mandy Muldoon (Andrea Riseborough) and her small son. “What do we do when we are afraid?”, she tells him. “Close your eyes and count to five.” Hell’s bells. Significantly, the caution exercised by the detective Goodman (Demian Bichir) echoes the Scriptural exhortation to desist from diving into the occult. Full of violence and gore, this grisly chapter of the Grudge franchise is not for the faint hearted.