Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


THE GRUDGE (2004). Director: Takashi Shimizu. Written by Stephen Susco.

In an attempt to have another smash hit like The Ring, Columbia has taken another Japanese horror film and come out with an American remake – although it still takes place in Japan with some transplanted Americans. Sarah Michelle Geller is the nominal heroine who becomes embroiled in a frightening ghost story when she fills in for a home care provider who's disappeared. She sees spooky visions of a little boy who is central to the mystery. Apparently there was a murder-suicide in the house, and the evil that lives within is reverberating outward to ensnare anyone who comes into its invisible web. A workable if unoriginal idea is given mediocre execution that all but spoils the movie; it also has a much less interesting storyline than The Ring. Although there are a number of creepy moments, they are also rather silly, and the whole movie is quite predictable and, at times, illogical. Prosaically filmed, there are absolutely no surprises to The Grudge. The ghostly little boy is generally too helpless and cute-looking to be very scary. Bill Pullman appears as a man who commits suicide sometime after seeing the child and he isn't bad. Geller, on the other hand, isn't much of an actress. She seems to have little future beyond bad movies like this.

Verdict: Why horror films have a bad name. *

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