In 1998, while in film school, Takashi Shimizu created; a series of short horror films called Ju-On or "Curse Grudge". They became popular in Japan and in 2004 a version, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy The Vampire Slayer) was produced for American cinema. It was followed by The Grudge 2 In 2006 and a third installment that was released on DVD in 2009. This year writer/director Nicolas Pesce (The Eyes of My Mother) brought a reboot to the big screen, which was a slight variation of the original concept but still offered some of the same background of the ghost tale. The Grudge (The Untold Story) comes to Blu-ray this week for your home entertainment enjoyment.
Taking place during the same timeframes as the original American version, The Grudge is perhaps more of a sidebar than an actual reboot. Detective Muldoon (Andrea Riseborough; Oblivion) and her partner, Goodman (Demian Bichir; The Nun), investigate the death of Lorna Moody (Jacki Weaver; Silver Linings Playbook) who was found in her car deep in the woods. Goodman becomes uncomfortable when he discovers she had been visiting the house on 44 Reyburn Drive. Curious, Muldoon goes to the house and makes the grave mistake of going inside.
Soon after Muldoon starts seeing corpses and upon question Goodman, she finds out that live-in nurse, Fiona Landers (Tara Westwood; Detours) abruptly left her position in Tokyo and returned home to her family. However, one home Landers begin seeing ghosts and eventually murder her husband and daughter before killing herself. Later, the next inhabitants of the home also die via murder/suicide. Next, the realtor (John Cho; Searching ) trying to sell the house kills his pregnant wife and then downs himself. Muldoon also goes to visit Goodman's partner Burke (John J. Hansen; Truth or Consequences), who tried to kill himself after entering the house. Convinced the house is cursed by a ghost Fiona brought back with her form Tokyo, Muldoon sets it on fire hoping to end the madness.
While not the most accomplished cast of actors (besides John Cho and Betty Gilpin, Isn't It Romantic), They do a good job of playing off the scares. Weaver is always great to see onscreen as is Lyn Shaye (Insidious). Riseborough has a solid career trajectory that is on the rise and Zoe Fish (The Christmas Club), who plays Melinda, Fiona's daughter, is excellent at the scary ghost whose gaze pierces right through you.
The 1080p resolution is solid and shows off the minute details the makeup team incorporated into the corpses. Colors are deep and rich including the shades of black seen throughout the film. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 quality is good enough with noises going bump in the night all around you while the dialogue sits comfortably in the center channel. The combo pack includes The Blu-ray, Digital HD and four extras which are Making of The Grudge, Behind The Scenes with cast and crew, Extended scenes and Alternate Ending (used overseas) and Easter Egg Haunt.
The latest version of The Grudge has some good points and some not so good points. The jump scares are spot on and the level of gore produced by the makeup artists is truly horrifying. However, the film jumps around between 2004, 2005 and 2006 which at the very least is distracting and mildly confusing at times. At one point the story doesn't seem to make sense because the ghost jumps from the house in Tokyo to Fiona's home in Pennsylvania then it is reasonable to assume it would then jump to the realtor's home. However, that doesn't happen.
The film starts off slow and only really picks up in the third act and the plot deviates from both the original Japanese story and the earlier American series. I wish I could say I liked The Grudge a lot, but sadly I can't.