The Grudge

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
The Grudge Movie Poster Image
Grisly ghost story has lots of violence, scares.
  • PG-13
  • 2004
  • 96 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 25 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 70 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

No positive messages. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

No positive role models. 

Violence

Horror movie violence and imagery. A man commits suicide by falling off a skyscraper balcony; his body is shown broken and bleeding on the pavement. Flashback scene shows a man killing his wife and child before taking his own life -- imagery from this crime shown in brief horror imagery and the appearance of the ghosts from these murders. Woman killed by having her neck snapped, head turned sideways. A ghostlike little boy pushes the hanging ghost corpse of his father as it swings back and forth. Broken lower jaw found; a ghost of a woman missing a lower jaw revealed. 

Sex
Language

"Damn," "hell." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cigarette smoking. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Grudge is a 2004 horror movie about a house possessed by the ghosts of those killed inside it. There's horror imagery galore in this one -- enough to give sensitive viewers of any age nightmares. A murder-suicide is shown in a flashback scene in which a man drowns his son in a tub and murders his wife before hanging himself. Bodies are found in an attic. A broken lower jaw is found on the floor. However, the scariness should be counterbalanced by the clearly forced plot points in the movie: the kind so prevalent in cheesier horror movies best exemplified by that audience member in the theater who yells, "Just leave the haunted house!" Some of the characters smoke cigarettes. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMartin_Canine June 22, 2016

Excellent Japanese-American ghost story captures the spirit of the original, but has some gruesome imagery.

"The Grudge" is a remake of the japanese movie "Ju-On", both by director Takashi Shimizu. While it surely had its update for Western audienc... Continue reading
Adult Written bypoiuytrewq April 9, 2008
pretty freaky depending on who you are. its always different for every person. for examplemy 8 yearold son watched this movie without a problem and yet my 32 ye... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byIronZombie75 August 26, 2009

for tweens and up

Very good horror movie however this may be one of THE SCARIEST movies in history so think before leting your 9 year olds watch it. very disturbing images and th... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byScooby79 April 23, 2013

It is a creepy, scary ghost movie

I watched this when I was 11 and I was terrified! The girl is very unsettling and so is the boy. The sounds she makes are disturbing! This movie is very creepy.... Continue reading

What's the story?

An American exchange student (Sarah Michelle Gellar as Karen) in Japan is sent out as a substitute for the caregiver of a woman suffering from some dementia. The woman is an American, living with her son and daughter-in-law, and with a daughter living nearby. It turns out that the house was once the site of great rage and anguish, giving rise to a curse that attacks anyone who enters.

Is it any good?

THE GRUDGE is one of those "Don't go into the house" movies, a remake of a popular Japanese horror film by Takashi Shimizu, the writer/director of the original. Shimizu makes good use of shifts in time to pull us into what little story there is. The usual ghost activities (messing up the house, stalking people) are updated a little bit. These ghosts can call a cell phone and get from the lobby to the 16th floor very quickly. There are some creepy images and gotcha scares, but nothing can disguise the fact that this is just a "who gets it next and how does he get it" movie. Too much of it is familiar, though, from the mysteriously feral child to the backwards-crab-crawling guy looking horrified at some looming presence. You know if a bloody jaw with teeth shows up, eventually we're going to have to find out where it came from.

Indeed, the biggest problem with the film is that, like many American remakes, it feels it has to explain too much. We get a helpful little ghost re-enactment of the whole story. Horror movies are much more horrifying when they leave the explanation to that part of our imagination where our own deepest fears lie, so that each of us can feel personally unsettled right where we live.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the enduring appeal of ghost stories and their own views on whether strong emotions can continue to "occupy" a place. They might also want to find out more about efforts to investigate real-life reports of ghosts and curses.

  • This was a remake of a Japanese film, made by the same director. Why do you think the movie was remade, and what would be the challenges in not only remaking a movie, but also remaking a movie that you, the director, have already made? 

  • A trope of the "haunted house" horror movie is that the characters, unlike anyone else with the least bit of common sense, don't flee the house posthaste after the first scary moment, but instead choose to investigate further. Why do horror movie writers allow their characters to have such poor judgment?

Movie details

For kids who love spooky stories

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