There’s a few story lines happening in this film at the same time. These story lines involve the Landers Family, the Spencers, the Mathesons, and a rookie detective named Muldoon. They all end up ensnared in the ‘grudge’ of a house on Reyburn Drive, specifically house 44. Beginning in 2004 when a live-in nurse named Fiona Landers (Tara Westwood) returns home from Japan, seemingly overjoyed to see her family only to later drown her daughter in the bathtub, kill her husband and then herself. What was written off as a women who committed a senseless crime is thought to be more by Detective Goodman (Demián Bichir). He becomes invested in the case, believing there to be a supernatural curse on the house and when his suicide attempt is unsuccessful, he ends up at a psychiatric hospital. Later, in 2006 when Detective Muldoon (Andrea Riseborough) shows up at the hospital to ask questions about the Landers case, he gouges his own eyes out so he cannot see what he knows is haunting him.
Shortly after the Landers, real estate agents Peter and Nina Spencer (John Cho & Betty Gilpin) become the victims to the grudge when Peter stumbles upon Melinda Landers’ ghost (Zoe Fish) and he subsequently returns home and kills his pregnant wife and then himself. In 2005, the Mathesons move into the house. Faith (Lin Shaye) and William Matheson (Frankie Faison) move in after Faith gets sick, in order to be closer to her doctors but she ended up getting worse due to being infected by the curse and seeing Melinda everywhere, which causes her sanity to decline. Mr. Matheson calls Lorna Moody (Jacki Weaver) in order to discuss the possibility of proceeding with assisted suicide, but when Faith’s sanity comes into question, Moody states that they cannot go through with it. S0metime during her stay with the Mathesons, Faith kills her husband William, and chops off her own fingers. Moody flees, only to be killed in a car accident due to being attacked by a ghost.
As these stories are unfolding around us, we keep returning to Detective Muldoon, because she is unraveling the facts just as we are. Unfortunately, she goes into the house and the curse latches onto her and when she believes that the only solution is to burn the house to the ground. She and her son Burke (John J. Hansen) move into a new house, but before the movie ends we see that Melinda has survived, and Muldoon falls victim to the curse and when the camera pans out we learn that she and Burke had moved into the house where the Spencers had lived, and thus, a new extension of the curse has taken root.
A movie that catches you through the usage of creepy atmosphere, but gets to you through the usage of jump scares. Once you strip all of that away, what do you have? You have a movie that relied too heavily on the atmosphere and the history of the franchise and while it was successful in being scary, it wasn’t successful in the most important part of a movie. It wasn’t remarkable in any way, nor was it memorable. Lin Shaye, an actress I have come to admire through her work in the Insidious franchise, was definitely the reason for the most chilling part of the movie. She cut off her own fingers and didn’t seem to mind one bit. I think this movie had a lot of potential, but potential doesn’t make a good movie.
Happy New Year, everyone! I hope 2020 is a great year for all of us. Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be making some changes to the layout and format of my reviews, because I want to always be working to better myself and not remain stagnant. Thank you to everyone who has joined me in the past year, and I hope you stick around.
Have you guys seen The Grudge? What did you think of it?