The Grudge review round-up: Critics call this horror film a ‘messy reboot’

the grudge review round up

The Grudge releases in theaters on January 3.

The Grudge, directed by Nicolas Pesce, is the reboot of the 2004 American film of the same name that was a remake of the popular Japanese film Ju-On: The Grudge. The fourth film in the Grudge series releases today, but from the reviews that are pouring in, it can be said that the film has not impressed critics.

Starring Andrea Riseborough, Demián Bichir and John Cho in lead roles, The Grudge tries to bring back the Japanese horror genre that had a huge fan following in the 2000s.

Here's what the critics have said about The Grudge:

Owen Gleiberman of Variety wrote, "The J-horror mood, of course, is no longer new or adventurous. It long ago infiltrated the megaplex, and was more or less played out by the time the sequel to the American version of The Ring arrived in 2005. Yet The Grudge plods on as if it were something more than formula gunk, cutting back and forth among the thinly written unfortunates who’ve been touched by the curse of that house."

Kate Erbland of IndieWire called it 'messy reboot' and wrote, "The fourth American film based on Takashi Shimizu’s wildly popular J-horror films functions as both a reboot of the series and a strange sequel to the first Americanized remake of the franchise. The new entry has all the hallmarks of the first round of remakes, but the pitiful retread only succeeds at proving that the potential for this franchise died long ago."

The Hollywood Reporter's John DeFore noted, "The house may never forget, but viewers probably will." He further wrote, "Nicholas Pesce's The Grudge is so distant from its source material that it might cause viewers to ask what was so special about the modern J-Horror phenomenon in the first place. Nearly devoid of scares for the casual horror consumer, it will likely elicit a respectful dismissal from genre connoisseurs: 'We get what you're trying to do,' they might gently say to the filmmakers. 'It didn't work.'"

In his review, The Wrap's Todd Gilchrist wrote, "The Grudge is a prestige drama sidelined by lackluster, incoherent horror, ruining the scares and undercutting the humanity of its characters. Mind you, this is the first theatrical installment of this franchise to receive an “R” rating, so I suppose there’s something appealing about the opportunity to really exploit that. But the scariest thing about Pesce’s film is imagining that someone believed this particular intellectual property had any actual life in it to revive."