The Grudge (2020): ‘Another Version’ – A Film Review



Oh The Grudge, why won’t you die? Takashi Shimizu started this franchise back in 1998 in a short and has since remade it, made sequels to it, brought it to America and continued to make the same film over and over again. The surprising thing about this franchise is that it remains relatively popular, despite this fact. There are also far better horror film franchises out there, even some that do the haunted horror film. Ringu is another popular film franchise that came out and almost rivals Ju-On: The Grudge but Cure did this type of horror film a lot more powerfully. Not letting franchises die, The Grudge is back with a reboot, sequel American film set for all new audiences.



The director has gone on record to say that he loves the franchise and that is, at least, evident. The film overcomplicates itself with three narratives overlapping into each other. This isn’t as confusing as it could be, but it does distance us from the characters. It teases out the details of everything that happened in a way that many films with time travel do, like Time Crimes – though the narrative of Timecrimes manages this a lot better. It is something that gives the film some potential, if it wasn’t quite distracting from the central idea of the film. It does give the director the chance of indulging in his love of The Grudge. It allows his film to take place within and parallel to those events. As if they inform each other.


The Horrors

For a film of this nature, it doesn’t fall quite so head over heals into the disaster of jump scares. It isn’t devoid of them though. This does mean that there is some awareness of the films style and form. It clearly has high aims and it isn’t made by incompetent filmmakers. It just struggles to give time to the characters and narrative. We have less time to get emotionally invested. It leaves the film being largely boring as we don’t care about the mystery or characters enough to be invested.



Horror films about hauntings and curses have had their day and they’re not getting stronger. This aside, the film has its aims which are admirable. It’s well shot, the actors try and there isn’t too much going wrong with the film. There just happens to be a distancing, which occurs with too much happening, too many characters or too many time jumps. It is a hard thing to pull off. It’s interesting that they tried but they were always going to be pushing that boulder up the hill.



A detective discovers a body that links to a house that links to three other stories of characters meeting tragic ends.




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A Note on My Reviews

Please read ‘On Reviews‘ for a guide to how I write film reviews. Any spoilers are appropriately marked and, though I personally prefer to know little about a film before seeing it, there is a synopsis below the review for any who wish to see one.


Films Mentioned

Cure (d. Kiyoshi Kurosawa Japan 1997)

Ju-On: The Grudge (d.Takashi Shimizu Japan 2002)

Los Cronocrímenes / Timecrimes (d. Nacho Vigalondo Spain 2007)

Ringu (d. Hideo Nakata Japan 1998)

The Grudge (d. Nicolas Pesce USA/Canada 2020)


Further Reading

Official Site

Lin Shaye Interviews

John Cho and Nicolas Pesce Interview

Cast & Creative Interviews

Behind the Screams

Sidequel – Let Me Explain


If you liked this

The Nun (2018): ‘Hollywood’s Contemporary Horrors’ – A Film Review

Happy Death Day 2U (2019): ‘A Step Back in Horror Filmmaking’ – A Film Review

Brightburn (2019): ‘A Super Hero Horror’ – A Film Review

This was an analytical review of….


The Grudge (d. Nicolas Pesce USA/Canada 2020)

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