What does it take to scare a modern audience? Is it even possible to provide enough jolts to the system to get the job done. The Grudge takes an interesting but simple premise and attempts to ramp up the scare tactics enough to get through to a group of horror film aficionados that have been oversaturated by stimuli.
The film shares a storyline with the Japanese horror film Ju-On: The Grudge and the 2004 America remake of the same name. At its most basic, it’s based on a house that becomes attached to and haunts all those that enter it. This time there are individuals whose connection only become apparent as things progress.
Not short of star power, Demián Bichir, John Cho, Betty Gilpin and Jacki Weaver are just a few of the actors involved. Andrea Riseborough plays the lead character Detective Muldoon and she tries hard to hit most of the right notes to build the terror. The movie’s structure limits what she can do.
Building a scary experience on things jumping out of the darkness at you and drilling your ears with crescendo after crescendo of eerie sound design only takes you so far. After that there is a need for the story telling to buttress those feeling of unease. The Grudge succeeds at establishing an unsettling feeling but falls short of delivering the big scare.