'The Grudge' [Blu-ray + Digital]
(John Cho, Lin Shaye, Demian Bichir, Andrea Riseborough, Jacki Weaver, et al / Blu-ray + Digital / R / 2020 / Sony Pictures)
Overview: After a young mother murders her family in her own house, a detective attempts to investigate the mysterious case, only to discover that the house is cursed by a vengeful ghost.
Now targeted by the demonic spirits, the detective must do anything to protect herself and her family from harm.
Blu-ray Verdict: January is always a cold, grey month and so when this new tale of 'The Grudge' was the very first of the horror season to break through in 2020, it brought with it a lot of raised eye brows!
'The Grudge' reboot, directed by Nicolas Pesce and produced by horror master Sam Raimi, sees a woman return from Japan to the US, and the curse we met in the original comes with her.
Created in sorrow or rage the violent Japanese spirit happily continues until the whole family ends up dead. Well almost the whole family, as someone needs to stay around as a parasite for the next host.
'The Grudge' (2020) continues feeding off those who enter the haunted house, with the detective who investigated unable to shake off the case, and his religious partner, who didn't enter the house, trying to keep him safe.
All whilst a grisly new discovery invites us to look anew at the case.
In truth, 'The Grudge' (2020) does a lot of things well within the genre, in my humble journalistic opinion, but nothing is so horrific or scary that they stay long enough to linger with you after the movie.
That said, the cinematography is beautiful, the panned shots combined with the jump starts / false starts work well, and the soundtrack stood out to me as a step above the normal for this genre.
Terrific Andrea Riseborough is Detective Muldoon, the newly widowed partner of Demián Bichir's Detective Goodman. It was his partner who investigated the original murder/suicide at 44 Reyburn Drive, and he never speaks of it these days (although it still haunts him deeply, as we can all see).
But Muldoon is drawn to the house after they discover a body they find had originally stayed there. Of course, we all expect the house to be empty but horror regular Lin Shaye is living there (and we all know what that means!)
And so it begins again, with Muldoon investigating the subsequent deaths associated with the house, each suffering an emotional loss or trauma, and being haunted by the original family.
Hanging on the back of Muldoon's own loss is just plain cruel, although we never see her grieving. She has a son to look after. But this spirit is ruthless!
'The Grudge' (2020) is chock full with plenty of creaks, croaks and shadows (put the lights on, FFS!) from cinematographer Zack Galler, and clever gore from the make-up and special effects teams.
To be honest there were not enough jump-scares for me, but Nicolas Pesce introduces just enough dread to keep it interesting. Personally, I like the supernatural and so with a top notch cast game for the shocks, 'The Grudge' is another retread, sure, but it does take a rather fresh approach to it.
Interestingly enough, and as for the number 4, it is seen throughout the film, but that same number in Japanese culture is viewed as unlucky! It's because the word for the number 4 in Japanese sounds very close to the word for death! So there are no 4th floors. No 14th floors, etc. (much like the number 13 in America). This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
• “The Cast of the Cursed” featurette: Take an inside look at the evil that lurks behind the doors at 44 Reyburn Dr., as key creatives and cast members explore The Grudge characters and discuss their experience working with Writer/Director Nicolas Pesce
• “Designing Death” featurette: From a slightly paler version of themselves to being completely mangled and rotted, to the incredible death scenes; like Faith Matheson’s (Lin Shaye) epic leap off of the staircase, explore the character make-up design process and the film’s visual look involved in creating the myriad of ghosts caught in the grips of the Grudge!
• “Easter Egg Haunt” featurette: Join Writer/Director Nicolas Pesce as he brings to light the plethora of hidden Easter Eggs throughout the film which are homages to the previous works in the Ju-On franchise
• Extended Scenes & Alternative Ending - Experience the scenes too disturbing for theaters, like Peter Spencer’s terrifying encounter in the attic of 44 Reyburn Dr., or the uncovering of the gruesome truth behind the Landers’ family deaths
'The Grudge' arrives on Digital March 10th and on Blu-ray™ and DVD March 24th, 2020.
Amazon 'The Grudge' Blu-ray+Digital Purchase Link
Official 'The Grudge' Movie Trailer
Official 'The Grudge' Behind the Scenes Clip "Designing Death - Ghost Transition"
Official 'The Grudge' Behind the Scenes Clip "The Cast Of The Cursed - Help Of The Genre"
Official 'The Grudge' Movie @ Twitter
Official 'The Grudge' Movie @ Instagram
Official 'The Grudge' Movie @ Facebook