Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Way too confusing.
My general rule of thumb when it comes to horror films that get sequels, regardless if they are dimwitted money-grabbing sequels or not…is that the original film in the franchise had to at least be good enough for someone to want a sequel. It’s not really rocket science. However, sometimes sequels are made just to make money. Is it really a surprise that The Grudge got sequels? Well, no, but only because promotion and advertisements made people want to see it in the first place…the movie itself isn’t that great, though.
Sarah Michelle Gellar stars in this film as Karen, a nurse living abroad in Tokyo, Japan. When Karen is scheduled to take over as substitute nurse for an old woman’s home, she discovers a young boy clinging to a black cat, stuck in the closet. The next thing she knew, she was staring into the eyes of death, and we as an audience are taken three years into the past. Throughout the film, the events surrounding the lives of everyone involved are switched around to fully understand the story of what the grudge is – which is: The grudge is a curse, or virus rather, of the echoes of death. When someone dies a death of rage or extreme sorrow, that emotion is left behind, and kills everything it touches, and the chain repeats for every death.
There is some chilling imagery in this film, as well as the eerie “clicking” noise that these manifestations make. Out of the whole film, those are the only things scary about this film. The rest is just confusing, jumbled up, nonsense. I would say that about 70% of the “chilling imagery” is more laughable than scary, but that last 30% is at least halfway decent. That clicking sound is also very unique to this series, and I applaud that, truly I do. The rest of the movie is crap. I’m sorry, horror fans, it just is.
One of the main aspects to this film is the timeline. The entire thing is out of order for a reason. I kind of understand why, but at the same time, I don’t. At the very end, when everything is supposed to be tied together seamlessly, I’m still left wondering who were these people again…maybe it’s just the heavy flow of Japanese names that you have to keep track of, but I was having difficulty there. Even if I completely understood it by the end, that’s not enough of a reason to sit through an hour and half of confusing mess just to get to the end.
In general, a big reason why this film wasn’t scary is because it lacked significantly in the suspense department. It just tried to throw ghost boy or ghost girl in your face as much as humanly possible. It was no wonder why a lot of these scenes were picked on in spoof movies such as Scary Movie, because these scenes trying to scare you really were ridiculous, and devoid of fright. For ghost-like movies, it’s really important to start that movie off a little slowly, creep in some sounds, and get under the audience’s skin. There’s nothing cliché about that, it’s just what needs to happen in order to affect the audience on a deeper level.
Sarah Michelle Gellar did a pretty decent job given her role in this puzzle-that-is-a-movie. I think she could have honestly picked a better role, but as it was, she did an alright job with it. The Grudge was just another seemingly waste of time filled to the brim with frightless jumping moments and no real substance to the story. I have been reviewing franchises lately, but I am not going to submit myself to such torment two more times.