The Grudge Review: Good Actors Wasted In Bad Reboot/Sequel Of J-Horror Classic

The overqualified cast can’t elevate the sucky material.

The Grudge (NC16)

Starring Andrea Riseborough, Demián Bichir, John Cho, Betty Gilpin, Lin Shaye, Jacki Weaver

Directed by Nicolas Pesce

January is usually reserved for Oscar-potential holdovers and bad movies. 

Guess which category The Grudge falls in? Hollywood’s latest take — the fourth, if you're counting — on the J-horror classic Ju-On is an awful waste of time for the audience as well as its fine cast, which includes two Oscar nominees. 

The staid entry stars Andrea Riseborough as a new-in-town, single mum detective obsessed with a series of grisly murders linked to a Japanese curse; Demián Bichir, looking like he needed to fire his agent after this dreary mess, plays her world-weary partner whose sagely advice she ignores. 

Besides the Takashi Shimizu original, writer-director Nicolas Pesce also ripped off Ringu by featuring a Sadako-esque Scary Little Girl at the centre of the mayhem. Elsewhere, the presence of genre dowager Lin Shaye, as one of vengeful spirit’s victims, gives The Grudge an Insidious spin-off vibe. 

What’s the point of rebooting a dormant franchise if not to make it scarier? (Were the American remakes scary in the first place?) The Grudge has its unsettling moments, but by The Conjuring standards, they’re mild as fudge. Producer Sam Raimi should’ve done Sadako vs Kayako, the Ringu-Ju-On crossover instead. 

Now that’s a remake I want to see. Maybe(**)

Photo: Sony Pictures Entertainment 

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