The Grudge is a very cliche and very not good movie that held my interest because of its amazingly talented cast and interesting use of time. It weaves four mediocre stories together in a way that switches between feeling really clever, and super surface-level and rushed. But it was always watchable for me because each of the characters are given performances that are way too good for the movie they’re in. John Cho (the lovely hunk from Searching and the Star Trek reboots) is the standout here. He just radiates good dude energy throughout.
The movie has a pretty nice style to it. Nothing groundbreaking, but it gave me the impression that the director gave a shit. One thing that I am convinced that he DIDN’T give a shit about were the scares. Bleck. Besides two gloriously gruesome exceptions, it does the stupid horror movie thing where the spooky spirit does a series of harmless spooky spooks to the characters until they get to the part of the movie where they can start to get killed off. That means that the first hour of the movie is predictable and devoid of stakes. Boo. The interesting structure of this movie helped me not die from boredom, but it still was there and it still made me sad.
Speaking of sad: this movie! This movie is fucking BLEAK. Don’t expect to leave the theater with a skip in your step. But it won’t make you that sad, because the movie isn’t good enough to do that. These bummer events are so heavily telegraphed, and so sloppily executed, that nothing ever hits as hard as it should. You’ll most likely just spend the entire movie hoping that the very sad and very obvious thing that the movie is setting up won’t happen. But then it will, and you will say: “Blimey! That wasn’t nearly as effective and/or scary as I had imagined!” But the ending of the main story (and the movie) might get a different reaction from you. You might be like the seven or eight people in my theater that laughed. And it wasn’t just a hearty chuckle, these fine moviegoers busted out a big ol’ belly laugh. I don’t hear that kind of laughter in most comedies I see! I don’t blame them. It was like they tried to make it as abrupt and silly as humanly possible. Not the best way to cap off a depressing horror slog.
I give The Grudge (2020) my rating of:
Wake Me Up When John Cho is Back On Screen
I hate January. Can’t wait to see The Turning.