The first week of January is probably my least favorite time at the movies because Hollywood tends to release some pretty bad movies. There are a couple of factors which I think leads to this perception and practice. The first one is that studios tend to release some of their best movies at the end of December so that they will be fresh in the minds of the judges for the Academy Awards. So it shouldn’t be surprising that movies that are released after some of these well done movies will be seen as vastly inferior. The second reason is because these first weeks of January tend to be lightly attended at theaters by folks who are probably exhausted after the holidays and broke. So why put out some of your best stuff when nobody will go out and see it? I get that but the level of film that tends to come out at this time of year though feels almost insulting.
Which leads us to this year’s first release which is The Grudge. This film is actually a part of an American- Japanese franchise called Ju-on created by Takashi Shimizu. All of these films center around a curse created in a house of Nerima Tokyo (or Suginami in the American versions) when a person dies who has a deep and powerful rage. The franchise is built on the spirits of the people that died who come back and kill other people who stumble upon the cursed home. These spirits and murders sort of spread like wildfire from that house outward. On paper, it sounds like an interesting premise.
The Grudge is the fourth installment in the American part of the franchise and I hope the last. This was probably the second worse movie I have seen as a reviewer and that is saying a lot. Nicolas Pesce who is a component director and writer just gives us a dud. I don’t know if he wasn’t told he was making a horror movie but this movie feels like it should have been something else. This movie is not scary. It can be a little gory at times but the only dread I felt during the movie was knowing that I still had 50 minutes to watch at one point. The movie was just so boring because nothing was happening. I always know a film is going to be bad when they make sure to show the audience filler scenes like one where one of the main characters eats a bowl of cereal. The filmmakers know they have a pile of rubbish on their hands when they have to add scenes like this just to make sure the films hit a run time of 90 minutes.
I will admit there were some good actors attached to the project and this was the only reason I didn’t give this film an “F.” However, filmmakers have to realize that you can have the best actors in the world in your movie but if you don’t give the actors interesting things to say and do, you are wasting their talents.
Overall, I would give this movie a D- (A Horrible Movie). It is probably the second worst movie I have ever seen since I started writing movie reviews. Honestly, I thought of leaving several times during the film because of how bored I was. Nicolas Pesce might be an up and coming indie horror filmmaker but I think he really whiffed this one. This horror movie was missing interesting characters; tension; fear; a plot; and if I am honest about it a point. Do not go and see this movie, it is absolutely garbage.
The Grudge is rated R for disturbing violence and bloody images, terror (I would beg to differ) and some language. This trash heap was directed and written by Nicolas Pesce. The Grudge wasted the talents of Tara Westwood, Junko Bailey and David Lawrence Brown.