It’s been years since I dared to delve into covering every single Ringu/The Ring movie, so I’ve finally decided I needed to do the same for the Ju-On/The Grudge franchise. I’ve already covered Sadako vs. Kayako (Ringu vs. Ju-On) on the Ringu post, so let’s get into the rest of them here.
JU-ON: THE CURSE (2000)
Before Ju-On hit theaters, there were two short, made-for-video “Ju-On: The Curse” films. When you take away the fact that the first half-hour of part 2 is comprised entirely of footage from part 1, both movies combined basically add up to one full-length film.
It’s no surprise the ghost with a grudge crawled her way onto the big screen, because these two films are a strong start. Asian filmmakers have mastered the art of making ghost stories terrifying, while American ghost films are most successful at making tween slumber parties scary.
The major frustration I have with the Ju-On/The Grudge movies is that the story is never told chronologically. It always feels like a series of supernatural vignettes that barely gel together, leave out crucial plot points that would help with cohesion, and sometime even feel like they have space-time continuum conflicts. Plus, it suffers from my pet peeve as a result…we know exactly what’s going to happen to characters before it actually does! Here I’ll do my best to make sense of each film as I go through them here.
At the center of the first film is a house in which a husband killed his wife, son, and their cat. I guess that’s why the ghost boy meows–it’s like he returned as a boy/cat mashup ghost.
The Curse consists of basically two timelines once you untie all the knots. First there’s the murderous husband who kills his family. This is discovered when a teacher comes to the home because the boy hasn’t been attending classes. He finds the dead wife in an opening to the attic that’s in a closet (eek!) then gets terrorized by the grudge ghost, who delivers her first amazing stairway crawl. This scene is simply terrifying, and she looks freaky as fuck.
At the same time, the murderous husband, who discovered his wife was in love with the teacher and therefore killed her, is outside with a bag containing a dead fetus he pulled from the womb of the teacher’s pregnant wife. The grudge ghost crawls out of a garbage bag on the street and kills the murderous husband.
The other story is about the people who move into the haunted house next. This is when it becomes apparent that the curse isn’t contained to the house–it infects anyone who comes in contact with the house and anyone those people know. Paying Payback forward?
A mother, and her daughter and son now live there. When the daughter leaves to go feed rabbits at the school, her at-home tutor ends up alone in the haunted house and gets dragged into the attic by the grudge ghost.
Meanwhile, the son’s girlfriend heads to the school in hopes of meeting him there. The place is empty since it’s after school hours, and this poor girl hides under a desk and is terrified by the ghost boy in a super suspenseful scene loaded with perfectly petrifying camera angles. We never do find out what became of the brother.
Next, detectives discover a disembodied jaw. Turns out it belonged to the daughter, who comes home shuffling like a zombie. When her mother catches sight of her, her jaw drops, too. This is horrific because the detectives questioned if someone with no jaw can still be lurking around alive somehow…which implies the jawless daughter is alive and possessed by the grudge ghost. Eek! And…ouch.
In the final act, a real estate agent asks his psychic sister to cleanse the haunted house so he can sell it. She does the best she can….
JU-ON: THE CURSE 2 (2000)
The Curse 2 begins with the teacher segment from the first film in chronological order, and then replays the real estate agent storyline, I guess so we can appreciate that the real estate agent and his son end up moving into the apartment that the teacher lived in with his wife (the one the murderous husband ripped the fetus out of).
Meanwhile, the haunted house has new owners. The wife is possessed by the grudge ghost and kills her husband by whacking him over the head with a frying pan.
The real estate agent’s psychic sister visits his new apartment, gets possessed by the grudge ghost curse, and kills her parents.
Wanting answers to what ails his sister, the real estate agent returns to the haunted house, where he is killed by the possessed owner. His son ends up being chased and killed by a bunch of grudge ghost clones in his school.
To make things even more confusing, a detective who investigated the original murders is killed by the ghosts at his house, and then a detective who went to check on him is murdered by the grudge ghost.
The film ends with sounds of some girls sneaking into the haunted house…
JU-ON: THE GRUDGE (2002)
Upon revisiting the Ju-On films, I’m shocked to discover that the first Ju-On: The Curse blows Ju-On: The Grudge out of the water. The Grudge suffers from sequelitis–they took a good thing and exploited it by shoving the grudge ghost’s face into the camera so much she loses her potency.
To bring us up to speed, the film opens with the murder of the wife and the cat (nothing on screen–we just see the murderous husband grab the pussy). This scene establishes that these ghosts already haunt the house and is the first step in making this a direct sequel to the other films.
There’s a new family living in the haunted house: a man, his wife, and his barely functioning mother. The wife sees the ghost boy and cat when she’s alone with the mother, and the man finds her in shock when he gets home. Within minutes she dies. The man seems to become possessed by the murderous husband’s ghost and takes his wife’s body to the attic. He then gets paid a visit by the grudge ghost.
His sister pops in to check on their mother, and when she leaves she is terrorized by the grudge ghost, who first appears to her in a public restroom stall (the movie already jumping the shark). The grudge ghost then infiltrates the sister’s apartment and gets under the sheets with her in bed. Eek!
A young social worker comes to the haunted house, finds the mother all alone. When she sees a dark shadow hovering over the old woman, she passes out.
Her coworker comes looking for her and finds her unconscious. She is sent to the hospital, and the coworker who found her at the haunted house is found dead soon after.
The detective who was on the original murder case in the haunted house decides to go to the haunted house to burn it down. Two detectives on the current case follow him there, the grudge ghost comes crawling in…and he runs out, leaving the other two detectives to die! But apparently he dies anyway at some point.
We next meet his daughter, who becomes paranoid when she sees flyers around town about three missing classmates. They were the girls who went into the haunted house at the end of Ju-On: The Curse 2. They never came back out, but she got away. She locks herself in her bedroom and tapes papers over her windows like something out of Pulse to keep out the curse, but her three dead classmates get in anyway and lead her right into the arms of the grudge ghost.
Meanwhile, the social worker is still being haunted. She dreams of the grudge ghost, the ghost boy, and black cats. The famous hand scene in the shower is presented for the first time, but it’s less effective than in the U.S. remake, for the hand merely touches her head, where as it is embedded into Sarah Michelle Gellar’s head in the remake.
And then, a friend of the social worker calls and says she’s checking on a little boy who hasn’t been coming to school. Bitch, the ghosts used that old trick five years ago! How the hell are you falling for it? Has the little dead boy been back in school and just decided to stop showing up again?
Anyway, the social worker runs to the haunted house to save the day and watches the friend get dragged up into the attic. Finally, the grudge ghost comes crawling down the stairs. The scene isn’t quite as effective as it was in Ju-On: The Curse, but it’s still slow and deliberate and sure to terrify if you’ve never seen Ju-On: The Curse.
Then something new happens. The grudge ghost doesn’t get the social worker…the murderous husband’s ghost comes down the stairs to claim her!
JU-ON: THE GRUDGE 2 (2003)
It’s no surprise there were no Japanese sequels for over half a decade after this absolute disaster that uses every bad trick in the sequel-making book.
Essentially, Ju-on: The Grudge 2 goes the Halloween Resurrection route. The grudge ghost and the ghost boy are able to terrify new victims because a film crew decides to make a movie in the haunted house.
The grudge ghost exploits her hair for the first time, obviously jealous of Sadako’s hair getting all the attention in the Ringu films.
She hangs people with it, makes it into a web across a ceiling so she can dangle from it like a spider, and uses it as a wig camouflage in the makeup department.
Various people are terrorized, including a pregnant actress, a makeup artist, the director, and a school girl.
Eventually, the grudge ghost crawls out of the pregnant actress’s twat when she’s giving birth. And to think this trash came out a year before The Grudge even got started in U.S. theaters.
Congratulations! It’s a girl!
JU-ON BLACK GHOST (2009)
For the two short films Black Ghost and White Ghost (an hour each), the original haunted house story is not relevant at all, but the ghost boy does make a little fun cameo, meowing outside a window where a toy dog is barking at him from inside.
Black Ghost borrows from Stephen King’s The Dark Half. A young girl is diagnosed as suffering from psychological trauma because her mother and father don’t get along, but it turns out her unborn twin sister is attached to her uterus like a cyst.
Her aunt, who is well-versed in the paranormal, exorcises the twin…the wrong twin! So the unborn twin uses the living twin’s body to go kill the aunt and her family.
But before that, the aunt’s husband, a sleazy perv, is stalking one of his female employees. When he goes to see her, she has been possessed by the black ghost and attacks him. He is knocked out, wakes up, and finds her dead. So he buries her!
A nurse who was caring for the young girl is also haunted by the black ghost, which kills her and her neighbor.
In the end the young girl’s mother jumps off a building with her in a murder/suicide in hopes of ending the curse.
JU-ON WHITE GHOST (2009)
White Ghost is another tale of a family massacre, and it’s much more gruesome than the previous story. An extended family moves into the house of the psychic sister from Black Ghost. The uncle becomes possessed and starts abusing his niece (disturbing scene).
Eventually, a message on a cassette tape comes into play, leading the uncle to go around and gruesomely kill the whole family. He forces one woman into a bathtub and then lights her on fire, which begs the question…why didn’t she just turn on the faucet and put herself out?…and chokes the grandmother of the house while she’s doing her best drag.
Anyway, the uncle cuts off the head of the niece, takes a taxi to the woods, and hangs himself. The taxi driver happens to be the father of the niece’s friend, and he disappears after giving the uncle that ride.
Turns out the niece’s friend has psychic visions. She sensed something was wrong with the niece’s house while visiting her, and the niece even told her the uncle was acting different and doing bad things, but the psychic girl didn’t intervene or tell an adult about the abuse.
Seven years later, the psychic girl does a Ouija board with two friends. After that, one of the girls is killed by the ghost of the drag grandmother. This white ghost grandmother walks around with the murderous uncle’s basketball (which she used to do while alive). Weird.
The white ghost grandmother with the basketball terrorizes several people, including a dude in a Santa suit who tries to deliver a pie to the now empty house. Apparently a ghost ordered the pie because it was hungry for a new victim. This is the creepiest scene in the whole film.
Later, the Santa suit dude is still in shock from what he saw when he goes home to celebrate Christmas with his girlfriend. Unfortunately, he thinks she is the white ghost grandmother with the basketball and kills her. How the Grudge Stole Christmas.
A couple more characters are introduced to explain the cassette tape, but this pointless detour adds nothing to the curse other than bringing in somewhat of a nod to the video tape spreading the ghost virus in Ringu.
In the end, the psychic girl, who still feels guilt over not helping the niece when she needed it, is sort of forgiven when a ghost visits her.
JU-ON: THE BEGINNING OF THE END (2014)
This is a reboot and a retelling of Ju-On: The Curse, and it makes a hot mockery of the legendary story.
The original family murder situation has changed. The mother wanted desperately to get pregnant, but her husband wasn’t fulfilling that wish. She was visited in a dream by a “white” boy and became pregnant. It seems like some sort of immaculate conception where the ghost boy has the same name as the son she gives birth to and is actually the one who impregnated her with a version of himself in her dream (which begs the question, where did the horny white ghost boy originate from?). The husband couldn’t make a connection with the boy, so he eventually confronts the wife about it, thinking she had an affair and got pregnant. The dumb bitch mocks him and admits the boy is not his, so he kills her with a twist of her head. He then microwaves the family cat (an awful scene that is presented more than once), and we assume he kills the boy as well.
Meanwhile, a young teacher notices a boy has been missing in action for like a week, so she pays a visit to his house. This is where this reboot makes a huge change. The grudge ghost is rarely the antagonist. It’s the ghost boy who does most of the terrorizing and killing! When the teacher goes to the haunted house, she sees the grudge ghost not as a creepy crawler, but as a normal person who is just acting weird and also makes the classic Grudge noise.
Back at school, the teacher continues to be haunted by the ghost boy and the normal looking version of the grudge ghost. It begins to affect her behavior, so her boyfriend investigates the family, the haunted house, and the curse. He is eventually killed in his home by the grudge ghost. It’s a gruesome scene in which she twists his head around.
Meanwhile, because Grudge movies need more kills and more confusing side stories, a group of school girls decides to break into the haunted house. One girl is terrorized there by the ghost boy, and then all the girls begin to get killed after they leave. Past plot elements are reused. One girl covers her windows to keep the ghosts out. Another gets a ghost visit in a bed, only this time it is the ghost boy under the sheets instead of the grudge ghost.
Another girl gets her jaw torn off. Newer kills include one girl getting dragged into her refrigerator, and another girl seeing a giant face of one of her dead friends on a subway then waking up in the haunted house and getting tossed around like a yo-yo. Strange.
Finally, the teacher finds her boyfriend dead, so she returns to the haunted house one more time because she’s an idiot. She sees visions (this is where the whole back plot of the family is revealed), and then the staircase scene is revised.
The teacher looks up the stairs almost as if she’s seen these movies before and knows the grudge ghost is supposed to come crawling down them. So the grudge ghost tricks her by appearing on the ceiling instead before crawl chasing the teacher up the stairs! The teacher gets away and returns home. It’s there that this installment whips out its most original traumatic visual–the dead boyfriend walking towards her backwards with his twisted head hanging flaccidly to the side. Nightmarish.
This new reboot also introduces drawings of spirals, and in the sequel they become more like drawings of the POV from the bottom of the well in The Ring. It’s like this franchise tends to forget which franchise it is at times.
JU-ON: THE FINAL CURSE (2015)
The only film to start with a quick recap of the previous film, this one also shows that when the murderous husband goes to kill the boy that isn’t actually his son, the boy morphs into the white ghost boy with the same name. Can you believe after all this time they decided the ghost boy wasn’t the OG ghost boy? Or that the murderous husband in the original was so much hotter than this dude?
The teacher from the reboot has been missing, and her sister, a hotel worker, traces the teacher’s disappearance back to the boy and the haunted house. When she visits it there’s just a hole in the ground, and a man standing by it says he destroyed the house because he lost family there. It feels like this is another story in need of explaining, but we don’t get that.
The hotel worker’s boyfriend starts investigating the story of the haunted house not only because it’s affecting her, but because it starts to haunt him at the train station where he works. He’s terrorized by the normal version of the grudge ghost, and there’s one scene on the platform that reminds me of a scene from the video game Silent Hill 4: The Room.
Meanwhile, the curse finds a new house to haunt and the whole premise of the series takes a confusing turn. A school girl’s little cousin is coming to stay with them. Her mother (sister of the cousin’s father) admits to her that the boy’s mother died recently. Obviously the mother’s brother is the murderous husband from the original haunted house family.
The school girl begins getting terrorized by the grudge ghost in her own home, but despite her house being haunted, she has her friends over for a slumber party. As a result, all those friends must die at the hands of the grudge ghost. One girl is singing karaoke when the grudge ghost shoves her head into the ceiling.
Another girl in a restaurant is melted to death. These deaths in these reboot installments feel like they move into Freddy Krueger nightmare territory, with victims just transporting from one location to another as if in a dream.
The grudge ghost also kills the school girl and her mother in their house.
Meanwhile, the boyfriend goes to the new haunted house, fights the little boy cousin, kills him, and then goes home, where the grudge ghost crawls through his mail slot and kills him.
Finding her boyfriend dead, the hotel clerk goes to the new haunted house and interacts with the ghosts of the school girl and her mother. We learn that the white ghost boy has been jumping into different bodies, including the body of the cousin boy with the same name, who apparently used that to his advantage to escape from the murderous husband’s grips in this rewritten backstory.
The hotel clerk is attacked by the grudge ghost, who is back to crawling down stairs and looks more furious than ever. She morphs temporarily into the teacher to tell the hotel clerk the curse never ends before morphing back into the grudge ghost…with a slit-mouth woman face! The Japanese franchise comes to an end by once again forgetting which franchise it is!
Some nods to previous installments include the hand in the hair scene done the way it was presented in the U.S. remake, the distorted photo, and the ghost boy meowing.
JU-ON: ORIGINS (2020)
This Netflix series includes 6 half-hour episodes, and you can get through them pretty fast.
Despite its name, this is in no way a “prequel” to the original storyline. And honestly, while it has its moments, it’s not even much of a scary ghost tale. It presents itself (fictionally) as the true story on which the Ju-On movies are based. Eye roll.
Basically this is a cycle of “the curse” being paid forward in the form of women getting raped and having their babies taken from them!
This is some dark shit, even throwing in trauma porn elements and drug use. It also highlights that this series has always been about violence towards women and there being nothing as dangerous as a woman scorned.
So what about the horror? There’s some hard to recognize possession going on and an occasional sighting of the new ghost woman, plus there’s a black shadowy ghost at one point, but this is rarely about actual ghosts, which is a bummer.
We do get a sort of Ring face moment, a black cat thrown in like some sort of Ju-On Easter egg, some visits to the closet, a quick moment with the new ghost woman in the attic opening, some actual murders by living people, a gruesome baby removal, and a seance.
THE GRUDGE (2004)
The U.S. remake comes from the director of the first four Ju-On movies. It generally sticks to the plot of Ju-On: The Grudge, but it does incorporate some elements from Ju-On: The Curse.
I watched the extended cut on my Blu-ray, and what’s interesting is that there are still over 30 minutes of deleted scenes included in the bonus features. Some of them are cheesy romance scenes between Sarah Michelle Gellar and her boyfriend, but many of them are recycled scenes from the original Ju-On: The Grudge, plus tension sustaining scenes that apparently would have made the film too boring for American audiences expecting quick cuts and rapid-fire scares.
The initial murder is more significantly demonstrated in flashbacks in this remake. The woman tries to get away from the murderous husband and he snaps her neck. He also viciously kills the cat and drowns the boy.
The plot with the man, his wife, and his invalid mother has Clea Duvall of The Faculty playing the wife. In this film, when the man finds his wife in shock and then she dies, the ghost boy appears, meows, and that’s it. The whole scene of the man seeming to be possessed by the murderous husband’s ghost is omitted, as is the scene of the sister coming to check up on the mother (both scenes are included in the deleted scenes).
The sister is only introduced via phone messages before we meet her experiencing mostly the same attack as in Ju-On: The Grudge. However, the restroom scene is replaced with her being pursued in a stairwell by the grudge ghost before it gets her in her bed at home.
The remake has a nurse instead of social worker coming to visit the old lady (who has dementia). The nurse hears noises upstairs so checks in the attic through the closet. There’s a major jump scare as the grudge ghost appears.
Next, Sarah Michele Gellar, who is working in Japan, gets assigned to the old lady’s case because the other nurse has disappeared. Black hair on the ceiling comes down over the old lady and reveals the grudge ghost’s face.
Ted Raimi, who plays Sarah’s boss, comes to the haunted house and finds her in shock. This is where there are some noticeable changes. Detectives come on the scene and find Clea Duvall and her husband dead in the attic, plus a jaw on the floor. Ryo Ishibashi of Audition plays the detective on the case. He decides to go burn down the haunted house to end the curse, where he is killed by the murderous husband’s ghost.
In another plot element borrowed from Ju-On: The Curse, Ted Raimi’s character encounters the jawless nurse at his office, and it’s just as freaky.
Meanwhile, Sarah gets out of the hospital. There’s a hokey scene of her seeing the grudge ghost’s face on the window she’s sitting next to while on a bus, she gets the awesome hand in her hair scene while showering, she begins researching the haunted house, and she then decides to go visit it!
The backstory relies on Ju-On: The Curse once again as Sarah experiences a residual haunting in the haunted house after discovering that her boyfriend has gone looking for her there. She witnesses Bill Pullman as a teacher who checked on a boy missing from class, discovered through a journal that the boy’s mother was obsessed with him, found her body in the attic, fled the house, and then committed suicide. There’s something very The Eye about the way this plot point is presented.
Sarah finds her boyfriend in the foyer as she tries to leave the haunted house. Cue the famous crawling grudge ghost scene. It so weak compared to the way it plays out in Ju-On: The Curse. It’s much faster, the shots are way too close to the grudge ghost’s face, and of course she has to kill the boyfriend before she can give Sarah her undivided attention. When she does, Sarah sets the bitch on fire with the gasoline left behind by the dead detective.
The film ends with the obligatory scary final frame…the grudge ghost appearing behind Sarah in the hospital.
THE GRUDGE 2 (2006)
I give this one credit for breaking away from the plots of previous installments to give us a new story while expanding on the past story.
During the opening credits, there are grainy clips of the original murder scene in the haunted house as a reminder of the ghosts we are still dealing with. There are then three different stories as the movie does its usual time jumping.
First there are three girls at an international school in Japan. One American girl is new, so a blonde girl and an Asian girl take her to see the haunted house. This scene was only referenced as happening in Ju-On: The Grudge 2, and interestingly, it is reminiscent of a sequence with three school girls that would play out years later in the Ju-On: Origins series. The three girls experience some scary shit by the closet, but all three girls make it out of the haunted house alive.
The Asian girl, about to have sex with her showering boyfriend, gets dragged into a mirror by the grudge ghost. The blonde girl finds black hair in her head while showering (her worst nightmare), hides under a desk in a replication of a scene from Ju-On: The Curse, and gets consumed by the grudge ghost’s hair in a phone booth.
The Grudge series seriously decide it needed to cash in on Samara’s black hair horror because The Ring was such a hit in the U.S.
The black cat haunts the new girl in class, she is terrorized by the ghosts of the other two girls, and she sees the school psychologist as a ghost woman.
The next story is about the continuation of Sarah Michelle Gellar’s plot. Her sister, played by Amber Tamblyn (the girl who got Ring face in the closet in The Ring), comes to Japan to bring Sarah back home.
Sarah is being held by police in the hospital for starting the fire in the haunted house. She is chased by the grudge ghost, is pulled off the roof…and lands right beside Amber and a cute male journalist she’s talking to.
The two decide to delve into what happened at the haunted house (which clearly didn’t burn down all the way), get spooked there, and run away.
This is where the curse gets a whole new backstory. They learn that the mother of the grudge ghost is some sort of supernatural healer who would extract evil spirits out of people and feed them to her daughter…the grudge ghost! I don’t get the point of this other than to present the wife as inherently evil rather than the vengeful victim of her murderous husband!
Time to once again mimic aspects of The Ring. While the journalist is developing a photo he took of the haunted house, the grudge ghost escapes from it (like Samara climbing from the television).
Amber finds him dead in the dark room and then goes to find the mother of the grudge ghost…and manages to get the woman killed by the ghost of her own daughter!
Amber goes back to the haunted house and witnesses a residual haunting of the original kills. The murderous husband’s ghost attacks her and twists her head.
Finally, the grudge finds its way to the United States. Jennifer Beals moves into a new apartment in Illinois with her boyfriend and his son and daughter. The son sees the neighbors bringing someone in a hoodie into their place. He hears knocks through the wall, he sees hoodie person lurking around the building, and he finally goes into the apartment of the hoodie neighbor and sees two ghost girls peering through holes in papers covering the window (borrowed from Ju-On: The Grudge).
Jennifer Beals has also been listening through the wall of the neighbor’s place, gets possessed by the grudge ghost, and kills the father, pouring hot grease over his head before bashing it in with a frying pan as in Ju-On: The Curse 2.
A very weird scene has the daughter’s friend acting possessed, drinking a container of milk, puking it all back in, and then drinking it again. The daughter simply answers her ringing cell phone and walks away! Kids these days. The friend is then visited by the ghost boy.
Things spiral out of control fast. The son finds his sister drowned in the tub, sees Jennifer Beals soaking in the tub, and finds the hoodie neighbor crumpled on the hallway floor. It’s the new girl form the school in Japan, who returned home to the U.S. and brought the curse with her. Argh! Hands grab her from beneath her hoodie, and the grudge ghost replaces her in the hoodie to go after the boy.
I have to tell you, the alternate ending sequence in the bonus features on the DVD is much better, replicating the classic grudge ghost crawl scene, but letting her finally stand on her own two feet as well. Also, the son gets more of a scare tour through the apartments, including seeing a hanging dead body and hoodie girl’s parents dead in their apartment.
THE GRUDGE 3 (2009)
This is the first and only film in the series that plays out in order with no time jumps. It also marks the first time without the original director of the franchise. Also of note is that the grudge ghost is played by a different actress, which is very obvious. The makeup on both her and the ghost boy is also much more artificial looking than before.
The film picks up after The Grudge 2, with the young boy in an institution, where he is killed by the grudge ghost. His doctor, played by horror queen Shawnee Smith, decides to go the apartment building that was the root of all his babbling.
Also heading to the apartment building is…brace yourself…the grudge ghost’s sister! Yep, she has a sister now. The sister heard about the murders in the apartment building in Chicago and just knew the curse had found its way to the U.S.
Following the murders, the Chicago apartment building is being renovated, and the manager, a cute young man who lives in one of the apartments with his teen sister and his little sister, is being pressured to keep the current tenants and draw in new ones. That isn’t going well at all, especially once the grudge ghost begins knocking off anyone who lives there.
This is definitely just milking the series with Grudge staples. The grudge ghost crawls out of a painting and out of plastic wrap. The grudge ghost pursues Shawnee at the mental health facility she works in. The ghost boy visits the little sister in her bedroom and meows at her. The manager finds a dead victim suffering from Ring face. The manager is eventually possessed by the ghost of the murderous husband and hunts his sisters.
The newest change is that the grudge ghost’s sister attempts to do a ritual to stop the grudge ghost. That doesn’t go as planned and the grudge ghost possesses her own sister, which gives us an awesome, all-new grudge ghost at the last second.
In the end it is implied that the manager’s little sister is possessed by the grudge ghost.
THE GRUDGE (2020)
Rather than a reboot, this movie actually takes place during The Grudge and The Grudge 2, yet it’s kind of repetitive in that it brings the grudge curse to the U.S. just like The Grudge 2 did. Once again we go back to an out of order sequence of events. This does nothing to make these movies any more intriguing and just makes them hard to follow, so I can’t imagine why they would continue doing it two decades into the franchise. Not to mention, unlike the Japanese movies, the American movies don’t divide segments up by flashing the name on screen of the character to be focused on before each segment, making things even more confusing.
So let’s de-confuse it.
It’s 2004. An American nurse working at the haunted house in Japan (I guess before Sarah Michelle Gellar and the girl before her get there), quits the job and heads home to her husband and daughter in Pennsylvania. She is possessed by the grudge ghost, so she kills them and herself.
A real estate agent who is trying to help them sell their house is haunted a bit (including the old hand in the hair shower scene), gets attacked by the nurse ghost and her daughter’s ghost in one of the scariest scenes in the movie, and then kills his pregnant wife before drowning himself.
Next to move into the house are a man and his wife with dementia, played by Lin Shaye. The man contacts a woman who does assisted suicide to help put his wife out of her misery.
Discovering Lin has killed the husband and cut off her own fingers, the suicide assistant flees the house, but the ghost of the nurse’s husband is in the car and she crashes and dies.
Finally, there’s a female cop who gets a new job. She discovers the car and body of the suicide assistant. She goes to the haunted house because the address was in the car, and she finds Lin and the corpse of the husband. Lin is sent to an institution, where she takes a dive down a stairwell to kill herself.
The female cop is haunted by the ghost of the nurse’s husband, and there are a couple of really tense scenes. She decides she needs to end the curse, so she goes to the house and burns it down.
Would you be shocked to know that the final frame reveals that you can’t stop this curse?
Honestly, I’d be surprised if the franchise gets another movie (no I wouldn’t), because this film is generally really dull. In fact, there are 30 minutes of deleted scenes on the Blu-ray, and some of them are good scary sequences that would have helped make this one a little more exciting.