21+ The Grudge (2020) Reviews – John Cho Seduced by Horror Creativity and Interest in Older Cast

The Grudge ⭐️⭐️

Not to disagree with the new Star Trek’s Sulu, John Cho, but I didn’t quite see what he did in this film.

Well, except for the older actors and actresses.

Maybe what was in the script was better than what made it to the screen?

Cho said “It was a drama, a cast of characters that was pretty much over 40, and it’s just so unusual in movies today. And I think that’s what attracts me to the horror genre…is its ability to use the genre to do things that aren’t being done in cinema right now.”

‘The Grudge’: What John Cho Says Is Special About the Terrifying Movie

I do agree that horror has more of an open mind to creativity than some other genres, which are more rigid. Disagree that the story worked, however.

Now, before going further, here is my SPOILER warning. This is a critique and reviews from third parties sometimes give away the endings. I don’t want anybody having this film ruined (pretty difficult, admittedly), so just come back after you’ve ever decided you don’t want to see the movie or see it or don’t care about spoilers.

… you have been warned SPOILERS ahead …

Now, that darn bathtub scene!

The Bathtub in Horror Movies is Seriously Cliched

Cliches should be avoided whenever possible with stories. Anybody who has watched 50 or more horror movies will tell you that bathtubs (bathrooms) are often overused. We get it, there is something inside the murky water … and we zoom in real slow, increase the volume and BAM! Jumpscare. It’s not scary, really.

Which segues perfectly to …

Drowning in Jumpscares – owwwwwwww!

As stated in my review, it was just too much jumpscaring to be effective. If we look back to classic horror films like Psycho ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ there were two extremely impactful jumpscares: the shower and the end reveal. Those are two of the most effective jumpscares ever captured on film.

Nobody wanted to get in the shower after this scene

Less is more and more is less. If you want to scare or shock the viewer, than use this rule. Loud abrasive music? A little here and there is very effective, if it happens throughout the movie every five minutes, it’s tedious and annoying. Silence is a great tool but not to setup 20+ jumpscares.

Bathtubs, showers (again!)? We’ve been there before, so do something different with them. Some things that filmmakers must learn from masters like Hitchcock.

Wasn’t Gory Enough

It’s rare that I criticize a horror film for not being gory enough, but this one needed more. Especially with an R rating. Come on, it barely earned this rating. Would have been cool to see some shambling creature almost undead-like going off to add some excitement and energy to an otherwise tepid script.


This movie just wasn’t exciting enough. It tried to tell multiple stories, but not in a very coherent way. If you’re going to go all flashback, you better keep it simple. Also, it just needed better pacing. The pacing was in reverse most of the time. That’s not the way to do a good horror film. Ramp it up, ratchet down the tension, strangle and make us beg for air. This film just feels like the beginning of any other film for the entire film.

A Quiet Place starts in media res, and never, ever stops, It’s relentless and breathtaking. There is nothing comparatively in The Grudge to equal that sort of feeling.

This is only the 20th film in history to receive an F grade on Cinemascore.

Reviews by Others

After writing my own review, I enjoy reading reviews from other moviegoers. I’m always fascinated to read completely opposite opinions on a film. Not saying either is wrong, because how can art be judged with such absolutes? There are people who like the movie Cats ½, but I thought it was among the worst films I’ve ever seen. The Grudge is not as polarizing, and there are far worse horror films.

Let’s find out what other moviegoers think of The Grudge?


  1. Carly Carman / Game Duck Reviews (Okay): “Now even though I just spent a lot of time griping with this movie, at the end of the day I did like it. It has a great score and amazing sound design. It takes place in the early 2000’s which is my favorite time for horror movies”
  2. From a Certain Point of View: “This certainly won’t be the best horror movie of the year, but we don’t think it’ll be the worst either. It is at least entertaining and the characters are much more sympathetic than the average horror film.”

Not Recommended (or on the fence)

  1. Alex Brannan / Cinefiles Movie Reviews (Grade: C-): “Pesce’s script undercuts whatever intrigue exists in the narrative constructs cribbed from Takashi Shimizu’s films.”
  2. Ben / Middle of the Row: “Unfortunately, the newest  Grudge flick is held back from greatness by the same problem that has plagued the franchise from the beginning. The “rules” of the curse and how it works are never clearly defined, which makes it hard to understand why some people die quickly while others are slowly affected over long periods of time.”
  3. Christene Johnson / Runpee (Grade: D+): “The writing was bad, the acting wasn’t great and the director dropped the ball. It should have been better.”
  4. Cinema Spotlight / Jason (1/5): “The plot is boring and uninteresting, the flashback gimmick feels dated, the director’s special touches to try and add something unique to the film feel out of place and ineffective, the cast is completely phoning it in and, worst of all, this is not a scary movie.”
  5. David Palmer/The Reel Deal: I have a grudge against ‘The Grudge’
  6. Dewey Singleton / EatBreatheWatch: “With so many better options out right now, why would anyone want to subject themselves to this?”
  7. Eliah D. Castro (1/10): “…has no substance to chew on, no interesting characters to attach to, and no memorable story to keep itself relevant. The critical failure began in its conception, not in the potential it wastes along the way.”
  8. Jmunney: (2.5/5): “Generosity, and a fair bit at that, is probably required to give this umpteenth entry in a long-running, occasionally ponderous franchise a chance”
  9. James Preston Poole / Full Circle Cinema (1/10): “…a lifeless mess of a movie that hits an early sour note for 2020”
  10. Kate Sanchez / But Why Tho? (3/10) “I wanted to see more of each of these character’s stories but when the story shifted right as I was falling in, it pushes you out of them. The way the film jumps from one to the next creates a jarring experience at first and a boring one by the end. The importance of landing scares and horror, in general, goes beyond jump scares and cinematography.”
  11. Keith Noakes (25%): “Anyone who watches The Grudge will develop a grudge with whoever decided to greenlight this unnecessary reboot of a reboot.”
  12. PJ: “What could have been a great reboot, fizzles out to another toss to the “wait for when it comes out” pile”
  13. RogerInOrlando / Movie Nation (1.5/4): “The first hair-raising moment comes 50 minutes in, but the deaths that follow are anti-climactic even as the chilling tone is maintained, largely through dim lighting and very good actors.”
  14. Shane Moose (4.5/10): “The talent and atmosphere on display just feel wasted on these tired and obvious ideas and jump-scares.”
  15. The Critic (5.8/10): “…isn’t awful – but it’s definitely a bag of missed opportunities. “
  16. The Collective: “Is this the worst blockbuster horror movie of 2020? Time will tell, but it’s definitely a strong contender.” (ed. Considering it screened on only the second day of the year, that would be a brutal honor! lol)
  17. Thomas Conley: “Pesce’s never able to purify the rust-murky bathtub water that hides all the film’s dark secrets, making for a convoluted and clouded watch that emerges every so often to strike fear but lacks sustained dreadfulness throughout.”
  18. Woken News Network: “A film that should’ve been cut by at least 93 minutes.”
  19. Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: “One of the most boring horror films I have ever seen.”

Did I miss your review? Use the comments to tell me about your movie-related/review blog and I’ll follow. I like following movie-related blogs and pull quote from my reading list as well as other new blogs shared, liked and discovered.

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