The Grudge (2020) Review
A perfect example of how to NOT make a horror movie
The Grudge (2020) is a far cry from the 2002 movie, and an even farther cry from the Japanese legend that started the whole franchise. The pacing is messy, the characters are forgettable, the suspension is purchased with cheap jump scares and stereotypical "scary movie music". When it comes to good examples of scary movies, this movie is positively amazing. It's an amazing example of how to not make a good horror movie. It has all the classic stereotypes of bad horror movies: characters that have no intelligence, that are naïve, characters that are deemed crazy and yet not helped but rather abandoned, jump scares, messy story telling, and horrible cinematography. I could ramble on and on about how bad this movie was in general, but it would be better to speak in specifics.
From this point forward, this review is going to be nothing but spoilers. So if you want to watch this movie in any capacity, stop reading right now. I'll wait for you to come back after you've watched or if you don't care about spoilers, welcome back to Jacob Harold's scathing review of a horror movie that was so horrible at doing it's job that I've now deemed it an unfunny comedy satire of the original 2002 movie.
Let's start with the most pressing issue of this movie. The pacing and the messy story telling. The movie focuses around 4 groups of people, as they are all the victims of (insert dramatic lightning, and ominous music) The Grudge. Now, any good movie can focus on more than one group of people and still do it's job of telling a meaningful story well. However, a bad movie can't handle more than even one basic character. Such is the case with this movie. The movie jumps from group to group, and switches it's chronological line so often that it gave me back pain from the whiplash. One second, it's a family of three, the mother coming back from Japan after getting ooky spookied by a breathing trash bag. The next, we're following a female detective moving into a new house with her son. And when you think you're fine and dandy, following along as the detective investigates a death leading back into a house that no other cop wants to touch, BOOM we're onto a new group of a black man who's requesting a woman to assist his wife in suicide, then BOOM AGAIN, we're following an Asian real estate agent and his wife deal with the possibility of their unborn child being born with medical issues.
Each group gets a good amount of focus, however, with the dislodged way the movie narrates each group, it made me confused as to who was who. When I saw the movie for the first time, I thought the first and second families were one and the same. Imagine my shock when I saw the first family die horribly while the second family, the detective and her son were still alive. Each group also suffers from The Grudge's haunting them, the rule being that if you step inside the house that none of the other cops want to touch, then you will be haunted. And each group either lived, or visited the house. So, without discrimination, they all die by the hands of the scary Japanese girl.
Now that you know that every person who has entered the house will die, without fail, you may ask, "Well, was it scary? Can it even be scary if I even know that every character will die, without fail"? The answer is a humongous NO. The way the movie delivers the horror is so sloppy that your little cousin screaming "Boo" in your face would leave you more shocked and horrified than the movie itself. Every scene in which you, the viewer are supposed to be scared only left me laughing or just straight faced, and that is because each scene relies on the sole shock factor of loud noises, and stereotypical scary faces. I found myself not jumping at these scares, but rather made me more and more upset at the apparent laziness the movie exuded. A movie that, by the way, had the budget of $10 million dollars according to a quick Bing search. And the way in some characters die is so baffling that I find it hard that it could have happened ever in real life. And I know that's a bad thing to do, basing things in obvious fiction to events of real life happenings but when I see the wife of the black man, murder her husband, cut her fingers off, roaming around the hospital freely and without supervision, I tend to think, "There is no logical way that could have happened unless the hospital deliberately did not give a single care about the mentally ill". And while no one was watching her, she climbed a set of stairs and then threw herself off the railing. Killed herself. And I counted. There was 3 nurses that saw her in her wheelchair going towards the stairs. And not ONE stopped her. Ridiculous.
While the scenes don't have any type of genuine suspense, they do have the cheap feeling cinematography that could only be found if I was watching rich spoiled college kids make a thesis film using their iphones and nothing else. There are some interesting shots here and there but overall, it's pretty basic at its best and pretty mediocre at its worst.
With all of that being said, I am going to rate this movie a 3 out 10. It is an awful excuse of a horror movie and I mourn the $30 dollars I spent on admission. May the people who made the film take my money and put it to good use by never making another movie ever again.