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  • Writer's pictureS.J.

'The Grudge' Review: Psychological Horror Sequel That Just Isn't Able To Let Go

Demián Bichir in a car as a woman with a bloody hand screams behind the window
Sony Pictures

”Oh there’s a new Grudge remake/sequel/whatever, is it any better than the last 76 of them?”. Well yes but also no. This new 2020 version of The Grudge directed by Nicolas Pesce probably falls directly between the genre-enthusiasts and usual moviegoer in terms of general taste. In conclusion it doesn’t really go for the usual mainstream horror tropes but neither does it create its own path despite the arthouse sensibilities so the outcome is neither here nor there.

The movie does a good job setting up most of the typical horror sequences that you are accustomed to. There’s enough exploration of surroundings and the shots stay pretty locked so you have time to look around. Sometimes these scenes are hit-or-miss though because the scenes linger so much that you’d wish some dialogue to appear. Many of the scenes therefore become straight up boring and a chore to get through. It’s a shame that the film is all around decently framed, shot and edited together but there’s just not enough material or depth in those shots. At times you’re giving props to the crew that the jump scares don’t rely on loud noises or extreme dynamics but there’s still a few too many of those sprinkled in.

A lot of the acting stands out being pretty flat in general. Timeline jumps around to different years and characters, the main one being detective Muldoon, played by Andrea Riseborough. Riseborough’s performance is quite lacklustre which might be a combination of endless slow-walking and character depth that seems only outlined, not being able to carry this story any further. The other cast members, including names such as John Cho, Betty Gilpin, Demián Bichir and scream queen Lin Shaye, are completely wasted with just as shallow character writing and slowly moving scenes.

Smileys: Atmosphere

Frowneys: Editing, Andrea Riseborough, structure, pacing

Is this j-horror? No. Is it yay-horror? Also no.


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