Though estate agents rate one step below the sort of thing you see lying on their backs at the bottom of a pond waggling their feet in the air we do wonder just how they cope trying to sell a house where a crime took place. ‘So if you come through to the master bedroom….and this is where the previous owners had a blazing row and the husband attempted to bludgeon his wife to death with a Henry Hoover before she blew his head off with a sawn off shot gun. ………Where are you going? I’ve still got the rest of the house to show you!’ The Grudge features just such a house in Japan where a hideous murder took place and the rage inhabits the house possessing anyone who should enter to carry out further atrocities. It’s the opening of the film where an American housewife flees the house to return to the US where her husband and son await and she ends up butchering them and herself. Their house understandably becomes notorious and its detective Muldoon (Andrea Riseborough) who starts looking into the background of the case as part of an investigation to a recently discovered crashed car containing the decayed corpse of an elderly woman.
Written and directed by Nicholas Pesce The Grudge is part remake, part reboot, part sequel to 2004’s Hollywood version of the J-horror original in 2002. Pretty good it was too with some highly effective scares and creepy moments. Pesce’s version reworks the legend with the evil spirits of the house still tormenting any poor sod who ventures into the house and into the mix he also throws flashbacks to another young couple having had bad news about the baby they are expecting and further still there’s also a story about an elderly couple that includes Lin Shaye (Insidious) who lurks in the kitchen of the house like a mental Mary Berry ripped to the tits on crystal meth.
Pesce doesn’t hang around and gets on with the scares right from the start and it gets creepy quickly with plenty of shock moments usually of some character with blacked out eyes running at the camera. And therein lies the problem because though the storyline is decent enough almost every scene relentlessly uses a jump scare that you quickly begin to anticipate. It’s a shame because he’s clearly capable of doing this but unlike the horror films of James Wan the shocks aren’t used sparingly and there’s little tension to have you clutching onto the hand of the person you might go to see this with. And after all the shocks and moments of horror its soon dissipated towards the end when on character makes the astute comment, ‘This house is haunted!’ As a debut feature its a hint that Pesce has better to come but for the time being stick with the original 2020 film.
Here’s The Grudge trailer…….