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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
No real messages here. The characters who are cursed have done nothing wrong other than walking into a house.
Positive Role Models
Detective Muldoon is a struggling, working single mom who seems to be holding things together. She has authority and street smarts and is almost admirable, but there are also long, unexplained times in which her son seems to be home alone (although a "sitter" is mentioned in one scene).
Violence & Scariness
Blood spatters, gore, gurgling blood. Rotted corpses with maggots. Bloody severed fingers. A character draws a gun, tries to shoot himself in the head (shot happens off-screen). Gory injuries. Several jump scares, scary noises. Attempted drowning. Disfigured face. Character stabbed with fork. Violent car crash. Character threatens a woman with scissors. Character jumps from height, bashes head, splatters on ground. Character slashes own throat. House set on fire.
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Two uses of "f--k," several uses of "s--t," plus "hell." Also "oh God" and "Jesus!" (as exclamations).
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Main characters regularly smoke cigarettes. One character says she quit but then starts smoking again. A main character sips a whiskey at home.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Grudge is a reboot/revival of the horror series that started in Japan and previously offered three English-language entries. It's essentially about a cursed house that haunts anyone who dares to enter. Expect lots of blood and gore, rotted corpses, severed fingers, a body falling and smashing to the ground, a gun being drawn and fired (a bloody, failed suicide attempt), a car crash, and a fire, plus plenty of jump scares and frightening sounds. Language includes two uses of "f--k," several uses of "s--t," and "oh God" and "Jesus" (as an exclamation). There's no sexual content, but the two main characters smoke cigarettes fairly frequently, and one character sips a whiskey in one scene. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
A curiously talented and interesting cast was somehow lured into -- and subsequently wasted in -- this pointless, tired, reboot/revival of the long-running Ju-On Japanese-based horror series. At least the cast keeps things from sinking into total awfulness. The Grudge (2020) is the fourth American/English-language movie in the series, which, by some counts, now runs to 13 feature-length movies. The last one, the fun, tongue-in-cheek Sadako vs. Kayako (2016) -- which pitted the stringy-haired girl Grudge ghost against the stringy-haired girl ghost from The Ring -- probably should have put an end to it. But apparently the lure of profits brought down the curse once again.
The random unfairness of the entire idea -- that simply walking into a house causes someone to be haunted forever -- isn't really very interesting, and the scares dreamed up by director/co-writer Nicolas Pesce are strictly of the creaky old jump-scare variety: Ghosts move in fast-motion and open their mouths really wide, and the soundtrack makes a huge "crash/bang!" Even the familiar ghost Kayako, with her throaty, chittering moan and her threatening locks of hair, is woefully underused here. That said, The Grudge is sometimes saved by inspired moments on behalf of the cast, notably Frankie Faison, whose beautiful speech about the afterlife and connectedness is unfortunately ignored and betrayed by the rest of the movie. In short, this Grudge doesn't budge.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.