Well, the first reviews for upcoming horror remake, The Grudge, are in...and they are not good. Though we may be going through something of a horror movie renaissance in recent years, it seems that The Grudge will be noted as merely a blip. Simply put, the reviews are quite brutal, with the general consensus being that the reboot wastes its talented cast and filmmaker with watered-down scares that may in fact leave some viewers holding a grudge of their own.
Beginning with The Hollywood Reporter's John DeFore, The Grudge 2020 seems to fail at even the simplest of horror movie tropes.
"It's hard to remember a recent movie in which so many jump-scares have failed so completely; in one or two spots, characters linger, staring so long at something that's about to go 'boo, that viewers have time to chuckle, then resent the long wait."
Aside from the movie's lack of scares, The Grudge seems to have also failed in justifying its own existence, and does little to differentiate itself from what has come before, as Variety's Owen Gleiberman expands on.
"A reboot of a remake of a film that wasn't all that scary to begin with, the new version of The Grudge conjures nothing but the dregs of J-horror."
Though the movie sounds like it will haunt you for all of the wrong reasons, it is not all bad, with some critics able to find elements to appreciate, with IndieWire's Kate Erbland giving the movie a C- and enjoying the performances, even finding some brilliance.
"Brief moments of brilliance, including a riveting performance by Riseborough and a number of gorgeous frames, only shine with momentary appeal before the whole thing slips back into vapidity and convention."
The praise for the cast continues with Roger Moore from Movie Nation's review.
"Writer-director Pesce was blessed with this cast. But after this, my guess is he'll never work with players this accomplished again."
Though these reviews might leave you with the impression that The Grudge is universally hated, there are some who managed to enjoy the movie, warts and all. One of those critics was The Los Angeles Times' Noel Murray, who calls the movie 'terrifying.'
"And, yes, it's scary. Pesce's art-film roots are evident in the movie's slow-burn first hour. But in the final third, "The Grudge" piles on the explicit gore and jump scares - all leading to a final scene and final shot as terrifying as anything in the original series. If the angry, vengeful "Ju-On" ghosts must endure, they might as well be deployed by someone who knows how to make their attacks bruising."
Sadly, Murray is in the minority, with The Wrap's Todd Gilchrist echoing the feelings that this particular remake was perhaps a little unnecessary, though he too found something to appreciate at least.
"The Grudge 2020 is a prestige drama sidelined by lackluster, incoherent horror, ruining the scares and undercutting the humanity of its characters... the scariest thing about Pesce's film is imagining that someone believed this particular intellectual property had any actual life in it to revive."
The Grudge is currently sitting at a rather paltry 19 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, but you never know, you might love the return to this legendary ghost story. See for yourself as fans were genuinely excited for the movie when The Grudge 2020 trailer initially dropped. The weekend will tell how The Grudge does over the next few days at the end of the holiday box office.