“The Grudge” (2020): A New Addition to the Horror Film Series Classic

by Matthew Escosia
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After a number of installments of the Grudge movies, this new release brings back the horrors of the curse of The Grudge. THE GRUDGE premiered on January 14, 2020 in the Philippines, and avid horror movie buffs and fans of the franchise have been anticipating the new installment hoping to see a new take on the classic horror films. Here are my spoiler-free High Five movie review on the latest addition to the film series.

 

Treatment

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures

Like the installments that preceded it THE GRUDGE did not swerve away from the nonlinear treatment of the storyline, where the story jumps from one timeline to another often for flashbacks. While it could be a form of signature for the film series, it seems a little underwhelming for fans to see the same pattern for the storyline time after time. It tends to feel like there is one single formula for ‘The Grudge’ films and makes the story forgettable after a while.

 

More Blood

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures

The new thing that THE GRUDGE did incorporate is the gore and bloody deaths. Though the past installments did have their fair share of grisly deaths of characters, the film showed more blood and gore compared to them which was the reason why it was rated R this time. So, if you’re a fan of horror gore and bloody dismemberments, this could be an entertaining film to watch.

 

Continuity

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures

Another thing that worked in the film is the narratives of the previous families involved in the curse that led to the present investigation of Detectives Muldoon and Goodman, and eventually Detective Muldoon. We see that each of the families involved somehow carried grief in their lives, like the Spencer’s decision regarding their unborn child, The Matheson’s struggle with the wife’s illness and Muldoon of course with the recent death of her husband. It effectively ties up with the curse’s thought “dying in a grip of a powerful rage”, maybe as their lives flashed before they died somehow the grief becomes rage and thus the curse is reborn once more.

 

Character Growth

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures

Seeing one character’s attitude and overall disposition develop in a film already creates an impact to a viewer and is actually important to draw the audience more to the story. Due to the jumping storylines, there were too many characters introduced and not enough time to develop their characters. Unless the film intended for those characters to solely serve as answers for the narrative in question (which quite honestly, is problematic to think about).

Andrea Riseborough’s character, Detective Muldoon however, gave quite a praiseworthy development towards the end of the movie as she slowly realized that the curse has attached itself to her now. After learning what the curse does, she refused to let herself end up like all the other victims of the curse and decides to try to stop the curse. She doesn’t waste time wallowing in fear or helplessness, a stark contrast to almost all of the characters, especially Detective Goodman, played by Demian Bichir, who seemed to do nothing except offer cryptic answers to Muldoon’s questions. He could have been omitted from the entire movie and the story would have had the same outcome.

 

Visual Effects and Other Elements

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures

Another thing to applaud in the film is the huge change and improvement of the visual effects, for some it might even be more terrifying. The cinematography together with the score was effective in building the tension in scenes, it was definitely nice to see the movie still incorporate the iconic terrifying crackling noise that the ghosts make, hearing that just brings back the terror that the first installments brought upon us. The production also did well with the sets and making the Landers house truly unsettling.

In summary, for horror film buffs who are immune to jump scares, you may find this movie emotionally manageable. However, despite the film’s flaws, it can be an enjoyable movie to watch and somehow scream with friends. The film is a promising start for the new generation of The Grudge films, it may not beat the classic, but it has its own merits.

 

THE GRUDGE gets 2 ½  waves out 5 for me. How about you, how did you find the movie? Let us know in the comment section below!

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