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.

Summary

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?

Recommended

  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.

NOW PLAYING REVIEWS: The Grudge (2020)

The answer is none.

Question: which new wide release movie is recommended to watch in the theaters this week?

Week #1 of 2020 1/3/2020 only has one movie and despite it being one of my favorite genres: horror, it cannot be recommended.

The Grudge (2020)⭐️⭐️

I’m not even recommending you see it when available on streaming. Just save yourself the pain and see something else. Is it really that bad? Unless you like watching a bunch of jumpscares, yeah, it’s that bad.

Neither of us were jumpscared into excitement and yes, we’re kinda holding a grudge.

Hey, if you want to see an awesome horror movie and haven’t yet seen yet (available to stream on Amazon Prime Video as of 1/3/2020) ….

A Quiet Place ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ 

I just saw that and loved it! A Quiet Place 2 is coming in March 2020.

In fact, since doing this every week, this is the first week I have no new wide release movie theater recommendations.

Alas, we can’t leave you hanging, friendly readers. I’m going to recommend — again — last week’s recommendation:

Little Women ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Directed by Greta Gerwig, only her second effort since Lady Bird ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (also recommended, available on Amazon Prime as of 1/3/2020).

Want to see what else we recommend NOW PLAYING at the theater?

Here are other movies we’ve seen at the theater recently that are recommended. Any movie rated at least 3-stars is recommended. You should read any 3-star review (click the title), because sometimes they are qualified, meaning we were entertained, but maybe only recommend to certain moviegoer interests.

4-star movies are highly recommended to everyone and films rated 4.5 or 5 stars are must see.

  1. Ford v Ferrari ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ScreenX
  2. Little Women ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  3. Knives Out ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  4. Joker ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  5. Richard Jewell ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  6. Uncut Gems ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  7. Dark Waters ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  8. Last Christmas ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  9. Frozen II ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  10. Bombshell ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Happy movie watching to you!

FIRST LOOK: The Grudge

Do you hold grudges? This week’s only new wide release movie sure does … a horrific one!

Unfortunately for the movie in question, it’s going up against the last of the Skywalker Star Wars films (albeit week #3), a new movie starring Adam Sandler (in a dramatic role!) and the 8th adaptation of a popular novel by Louisa May Alcott.

Am reading that this is one of the worst weeks for theaters (is it because people are so hung over from celebrating New Year’s?), so not many films (want to) open in this dead period.

The Grudge is a reboot of a trilogy of horror films bearing the same name.

For those who are unaware, The Grudge is about the legend that if a person is murdered as a result of jealous rage, it leads to a curse. The curse is then reborn and passed on through each victim, growing and expanding with potentially endless possibilities. 

Everything You Need To Know About Whether Or Not The Grudge Is Based On A True Story

Ooooo Japanese horror? I’m in on that alone. No, really, I like Japanese horror (Shudder has some great Japanese horror films!), so unsure why I never tried to watch the other movies. Maybe it’s my thoughts of Sarah Michelle Gellar as Daphne in the live action Scooby Doo movies that turned me away her starring in a horror film. They were both around the same early 2000s timeframe, too. Do you get gunshy on actors/actresses who are in bad movies?

I do. A small list of them are in my mind like Melissa McCarthy and Tiffany Haddish (unfunny), Will Smith (mostly one-dimensional), Shia Lebeauf (pretentious, but very much enjoyed him in The Peanut Butter Falcon) and the list goes on. Can’t honestly think of anything Sarah Michelle Gellar has been in that I liked. But I digress, Gellar is not in this reboot of The Grudge.

Who is starring in The Grudge (2020)?

The Grudge (2020) cast — yeah, I recognize almost none of these people (thank you Wikipedia)

William Sadler, there’s a name I recognize. Otherwise … hmm? I’m sure other readers can research and name some good movies by actors/actresses here. Admittedly, I’m weak on lesser-knowns. I go more for the movie, the story than the people performing. Not saying actors and actresses are interchangeable, because they aren’t, but am saying to get on my actor/actress radar, you have to pretty much be a lead character and/or in a main supporting role .. or just be in a boatload of films like Steve Buscemi (very versatile), Danny Trejo (one of the truly great badasses!)

Am just going all over the place here. Reeling it back to the film at hand.

Here’s what the official trailer looks like.

The Grudge (2020) official trailer.

Completely random, scattered trailer reaction: a realtor stops by checking into selling a house, hears very weird noises and investigates ending up seeing a very spooky tub? That tub scene reminds me of something out of The Shining. Those creepy hands creeping slowly over the rim of the tub. The spiral staircase camera shot (cliched but atmospheric). Sound effects are jarring, I’m betting on a plethora of jump scares.

Of course I’m going to see this, rate and review. It might be motivational enough to send me back to the first three films.

Who else is planning to see this movie? Or are you just going to watch one of the other movies playing?

The Grudge opens wide in theaters January 3, 2020.

11 Movies COMING TO THEATERS in January 2020

Coming to theaters in January 2020 – there are some films shown above not below and vice versa

The following are movie trailers and my early thoughts for all films tentatively scheduled coming to theaters in January 2020. If you’d like to see a list of all movies released in 2020 click here (that post is updated throughout the year).

The list below does not include independent films and/or streaming original films from Netflix and Amazon. I would like to keep track of those as well, but trying to target specifically wide theater releases (or what appear to be wide releases) so most readers can see these films worldwide in a major chain theater (hopefully) near your home. New streaming films being released will be handled separately based on the service, most likely, as already doing for Shudder.

SIDENOTE: I have nothing against small, independent theaters (we have a good one called The Grand Cinema close by), but am trying to focus on the films I have the greatest likelihood to see, review and rate each month. Obviously, with release schedules that change based on location, sharing any kind of coming soon movie list is not an exact science. Any errors and/or omissions are mine.

Movie release dates are subject to change by the studios, so it’s possible within the next 45 days or so one or more of the movies profiled below will have its release date moved.

As of this posting, there are 11 movies scheduled, presented in order of scheduled opening date below. 10 of the 11 have trailers, so I’ve added my anticipation (10 = most excited as possible to see, 0 = not interested at all). Can’t promise I’ll do this every month, but am going to try and do so, probably posted sometime around the middle of each month for the next month.

This is a reference for FIRST LOOK and PREVIEW posts. I try and FIRST LOOK and/or PREVIEW films that either we’re personally most interested in seeing and/or have very popular interest by others.

January 2020 Movies

The Grudge
[FIRST LOOK]

The Grudge (2020) official trailer – opens January 3, 2020

This one looks like it might be scary. I’ve never seen any of the original Grudge movies and not sure I’ll be doing so before this comes out in a few weeks. I look more forward to seeing truly scary horror films over horror-comedy films and this looks like the former.

Anticipation for The Grudge: 6/10

Like A Boss
[FIRST LOOK]

Like A Boss official trailer – opens in theaters January 10, 2020

Have seen this trailer as preview in the theater more than any other in this list of January 2020 movie releases. I’m sort of luke warm to cool on what’s happening here. I don’t find anything Tiffany Haddish has starred in as funny. Her voice is grating on me. The plot seems not very interesting to me either, what little we know from the trailer. The trailer didn’t even make me smile, although admittedly some have laughed at the goat milk spit out scene.

Anticipation for Like A Boss: 3/10

Underwater
[FIRST LOOK]

Underwater Official Trailer – opens in theater January 10, 2020

Got to wipe away Kirsten Stewart from my mind in Charlie’s Angels and any movie deep on the bottom of the ocean is off to a good start. We don’t know what is living down there and while this has been explored in several other stories, it’s an interesting and often scary place. All that pressure under miles of water. Yes, I’m interested.

Anticipation for Underwater: 6/10

The Informer
RELEASE DATE CHANGED from Jan 10, 2020 to March 13, 2020 (LIMITED)

The Informer official trailer – opens in theaters March 13, 2020

Seems like standard fare thriller from the trailer. Nothing stands out as super creative or amazingly fresh to me. Could be how the trailer is cut. Not that excited by this trailer.

Anticipation for The Informer: 2/10

Bad Boys for Life
[FIRST LOOK]

Bad Boys for Life official trailer #1
Bad Boys for Life official trailer #2 – opens in theaters January 17, 2020

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence return as buddy cops for this third entry in the franchise. I found the first two to be funny in parts. They have good chemistry together, but aren’t as fun as say Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy in 48 Hours. Haven’t been many buddy cop trilogies that I was clamoring to see the third one. Martin Lawrence is my favorite of the two by far in this comedy team. I just don’t find Will Smith that special. Yes, he has been in some good films.

Anticipation for Bad Boys for Life: 3/10

Dolittle
[FIRST LOOK]

Doolittle official trailer – opens in theaters January 17, 2020

The trailer barely grabs my interest, except for the fact that Robert Downey, Jr is starring. Not sure about his accent, kinda reminds me a bit of the one he used in Tropic Thunder (!). He makes just about every film he is in better. I’m worried about this being a terrible and unnecessary reboot movie about a man who talks to animals. Have seen the story told several times before and Downey Jr. isn’t a comedian, so not sure if his potentially(?) serious/ironic take on Doctor Doolittle will be exciting. Very apprehensive about this one, but, again, interested because of the main star. I heard he was paid $20 million for top bill in this one. Will see next month if it was worth it. Worried.

Anticipation for Doolittle:: 3/10

The Gentlemen
[FIRST LOOK]

The Gentlemen official trailer – opens in theaters January 24, 2020

Like the mystery/detective vibe, but wonder if it’s more thriller? Not feeling super compelled toward this one as a thriller, but more interested in a mystery. Can’t decide based on trailer which it is. Do like Matthew McConaughey, so that bumps up curiosity a little.

Anticipation for The Gentlemen: 3/10

The Turning
[FIRST LOOK]

The Turning official trailer – opens in theaters January 24, 2020

January 2020 will be the first time I’ve ever paid that attention to everything being released. Already noticing that there are more horror movies being released than other types of movies. January could be an October-like month for me as I like horror movies. As for this one? Has a V.C Andrews groove to it. What’s with the children? Yeah, sign me up for this one!

Anticipation for The Turning: 5/10

Nowhere (trailer yet) to Run?

Run
RELEASE DATE CHANGED from Jan 24 to May 8, 2020

…is a thriller starring Sarah Paulson and is scheduled to open in theaters January 24, 2020 (UPDATE 1/18/2020: Release date has changed to May 8, 2020). No official trailer has been released by Lionsgate as of this writing.

The mystery around an intentional lack of marketing (see: Is @Lionsgate Run (2020) screening WIDE January 24, 2020 – if not, when?) — or inferior/incompetent marketing, whichever it is — is increasing my intrigue. Seems like a trailer is pretty important for a movie that released in like 45 days. I mean, yesterday we got the Wonder Woman 1984 trailer and that isn’t out for another six plus months!

Can’t give any anticipation based on the trailer without one.

Gretel and Hansel
[FIRST LOOK]

Gretel and Hansel official teaser trailer – opens in theaters January 31, 2020

Oooo another spooky one! Seems odd to title it backwards (do the kids eat the adults in this one? Now that sort of reverse cannibalism would make heads turn). If it’s pure horror and not comedy horror than it gets at least a 4 from me. Fairy tales can be cool, especially the grim variety. Will pump it up one more for that. Hoping it’s not too cliched, but fearing that almost as much as the potential subject matter.

Anticipation for Gretel and Hansel: 5/10

The Rhythm Section
[FIRST LOOK]

The Rhythm Section official trailer – opens in theaters January 31, 2020

Read the FIRST LOOK that is linked above to see my detailed comments on this one. Of all 12 films being released in January 2020, I’m most looking forward to seeing this one.

Anticipation for The Rhythm Section: 7/10

Ranking the January 2020 movies by anticipation (as of this writing)

Keep in mind that my anticipation for a film can change daily, even hourly, based on new information that I read about the film or see in a video. Therefore, the anticipation is merely a number I’m applying to my feelings today, right now, and it is very subject to change. In the next post, tweet, video or an hour from now. Only here for comparison purposes as I do this with the Opening Week posts. Those numbers are within a couple days of seeing the movies.

  1. The Rhythm Section – 7 / 10
  2. Underwater – 6 / 10
  3. Gretel & Hansel – 5 / 10
  4. The Turning – 5 / 10
  5. Doolittle – 3 / 10
  6. The Gentlemen – 3 / 10
  7. The Grudge – 3 / 10
  8. Like A Boss – 3 / 10
  9. Bad Boys for Life – 3 / 10
  10. The Informer – 2 / 10 (release date changed to March 13, 2020)
  11. Run – No Rating (release date changed to May 8, 2020)

What movies in January 2020 are you looking forward to seeing?