The Grudge Parent Guide
A franchise that once produced some of the scariest horror films in modern cinema now only provides jump scares, recycled shots, and gory violence.
Parent Movie Review
Following the death of her husband, Detective Muldoon (Andrea Riseborough) and her son, Burke (John J. Hansen) move to a small town in Pennsylvania. But Detective Muldoon doesn’t find the peace and tranquility she expects. A missing woman’s body is found on a disused service road; the only personal items on the corpse are her wallet and the address to a house in town. A house that Muldoon’s partner, Detective Goodman (Demian Bichir) knows only too well as the site of a brutal double murder/suicide…
From its origin as a series of low-budget Japanese direct-to-TV movies, the Ju-On/Grudge series has produced some of the scariest horror films in modern cinema The American versions, starting with The Grudge (2004), kept some of the same nightmarish energy, building their success on being unbearably creepy rather than on lots of jump scares.
So how does this reboot stack up against its predecessors? It keeps the loose storytelling, letting the scenes bounce between time periods and characters, and the spooky aesthetic, but it also relies more on jump scares. A few shots in the film are so similar to recent horror films that I could predict what was going to happen from the introductory shots. That’s not a good thing in a movie that relies on tension to ratchet up the fear factor.
With the exception of The Grudge 3, the American films in the franchise have been rated PG-13. This version is Restricted, partially for a slight increase in profanity, but principally for the film’s blood-soaked gore fest. Compared to previous instalments in the franchise, this one brings more gruesome violence, dismembered and decaying bodies, and a truly unpleasant number of maggots. If you have a strong aversion to gooey corpses loaded with larvae, give this one a miss or hold on to your empty popcorn bag.
Obviously, this isn’t a family film, being far too violent for kids and teens. Even fans of the franchise are unlikely to be too thrilled with The Grudge. I enjoy horror movies and I had a decent time watching this flick, but I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that the earlier ones were much scarier, despite their softer ratings. Maybe that’s just nostalgia, or maybe I scared easier when I was in high school. In either case, I’m not going to watch the older ones to check; the last time I did that, I twitched for a month every time I saw stairs. It only takes one imagined pale, long haired Japanese ghost scuttling down your basement stairs to put you on edge for a good long while.Directed by Nicolas Pesce. Starring Andrea Riseborough, William Sadler, and Betty Gilpin. Running time: 94 minutes. Theatrical release January 3, 2020. Updated March 26, 2020
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Grudge rated R? The Grudge is rated R by the MPAA for disturbing violence and bloody images, terror and some language.
Violence: A number of bodies in various stages of decay and dismemberment are shown, frequently with maggots and flies. Several individuals, including a pregnant woman, are shown being murdered with a variety of sharp objects. Several individuals are shown committing or attempting suicide, including graphic depictions of gunshot wounds and bodies falling from great heights. An individual gouges out their own eyes with their fingers. An individual is shown cutting off their own fingers. A character sustains a compound fracture to their arm during a fatal car accident. A person is shown drowning a child. There are references to assisted suicide in the case of terminal illnesses. There is a car accident. A house is burned down.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: There are three uses of extreme profanity and nine uses of a scatological term. There are perhaps a dozen uses of terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are shown smoking cigarettes. A character is shown drinking what is presumably alcohol in one scene.
Page last updated March 26, 2020