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October 22 2004

Metacritic Currently Rates 'The Grudge' at 41/100. A quick check of the similarly-themed Rotten Tomatoes reveals that it gave the film a similar 41/100 rating. Well this is the Whedonesque discussion thread for The Grudge. Have you seen it? Did you enjoy it? Tell us what you thought.

[Edit: Looks like RT's back up again.]

When I just checked the Rotten Tomatoes one it was up to 49% so it's improved.
And lo I declare this the Whedonesque discussion thread for those who have seen the movie. I'll go and add a wee bit to the subject line.
I just came back from watching it and enjoyed it. I don't think it's as good as it could have been, but it still delivers horror, suspense, and good acting skills. ;)

I think I'd give it.. a 3/3.5 out of 5.
I also just got back from seeing it. My enjoyment of the movie was dampened by a rowdy, loud and young crowd. We got there and the theater was packed. People were still coming in after it started. A group came in and sat near us. Because they couldn't sit together they were sitting in the single empty seats around us, behind us and in the aisle and they just kept talking. I actually got pissed off and told them to shut up and then a few minutes later, another person who was on the other side from us yelled at them to shut up. Then one of their friend's comes into the theater and not knowing where they are sitting, just starts whistling and they call him over. He is loudly explaining to them that the movie has been sold out and that he can't stay. They are now seated in the aisle next to us and behind us and continue to loudly discuss this. An usher comes in about five minutes later to tell him to leave and I turned around and told her that the whole group was being very loud and disruptive and she made them all leave. I didn't feel bad about them being kicked out because by this time, the first 15 to 20 minutes of the movie had gone by. There was also a bunch of people who every time they got scared, laughed hysterically and then loudly stated how that had scared them - they did this every single time there was something scary so I missed just about every bit of dialogue that occurred after a scary moment. And for some reason, these people just couldn't stay in their seats, they were constantly getting up and going to get snacks I presume so that was very distracting. This will be the last time I go to a movie on opening night that is going to attract a large teenage audience.

Probably half way into the movie these kids started to settle down, with the exception of the nervous laughing moron(s) and I was able to finally enjoy the movie. My husband was sitting next to the aisle with me next to him and our two girls next to me. The girls weren't as aware of all the distractions we had to deal with and probably also because they are used to be around rowdy teenagers at school they were able to get engrossed into the movie pretty early into it.

I thought it was very good (and I'm sure if I hadn't had all the distractions I would've loved it). It definitely has you jumping out of your seat. I commented to my husband that even though you knew sometimes what was coming it still scared the Hell out of you and he stated that that's the sign of a good movie, one that scares you even though you know what's coming.

It did have a very simple plot line to it but it worked for me even though it was simple. I thought SMG did a great job even though it is hard not to see her as Buffy. Seeing her as Daphne was little more believable because of the hair color and 60's style clothing but this character dressed a lot like Buffy.

My husband is not easily impressed and when asked if he liked it he said "I thought it was pretty good." Which means he liked it. My oldest daughter is obsessed with the Ring movie and it's Japenese predecessors. She even has the books. She stated she liked it even better than the ring. She's 18 by the way. My youngest is 15 and she thought it was the best movie she ever saw. Now, that could be because it was her first rated R movie that we allowed her to see, but I truly think she enjoyed it.

There was applause when it ended. I heard several people walking ahead of me as we were leaving that it was way scarier than The Ring. There were three boys in front of us and one stated he was glad it was over because it was so boring. Now, maybe he truly was or it was just bravodo because he was with his friends or because of the loud crowd he never got into it.

I'd recommend it if you want a good scare but don't go at 7:00 pm when the younger crowd, who was the majority and without parents and no where near 17, are going to be there. Take in a later show so you can actually hear what's going on without being distracted. I'll most definitely get this on DVD when it comes out. I'd say that overall the audience seemed to like it.
I just came back from seeing it too and it didn't scare me a bit. Sorry. In fact, I was kind of bored watching it. One particular scene with the “Yoko” character did creep me out, but other than that it was pretty much a “by the numbers” horror movie. Almost every time someone came into the haunted house, they had to pick up trash. That struck me as an interesting little detail on the life of spirits and demons. I wish the rest of the movie had been that interesting. As for Sarah Michelle Gellar, well she’s been better, but she didn’t have much to work with either. She wasn’t bad at all in the movie, but she was not able to overcome the material. Speaking of SMG, I do hope that she is able to break out of genre roles because she really is talented. Nothing’s wrong with genre, mind you, I prefer it, but she needs to set her sights a bit higher than The Grudge and for Heaven’s sake never do another Scooby Doo. ;)
We just saw it. As Ed is the long-winded review guy, I'll let him have a go. But just my two cents(and I'm probably echoing Blwessels sentiments): Don't go see it with a theater full of teenage girls. Which of course is our fault, going at 7pm on a Friday, but still....didn't think they'd be so....bint-y. Took them all 5 minutes to 'settle' after a scare. And then they had to all talk about the scary moment. Kinda ruined the creepiness for me.
"I also just got back from seeing it. My enjoyment of the movie was dampened by a rowdy, loud and young crowd."

Wow blwessels, were you in our theater?? We pretty much had the same joyful experience of 'hip youngsters'. Especially the girls who couldn't decide if they wanted to scream constantly, or giggle, and decided on both most of the time. The crowd also felt it necessary to discuss each and every scary moment right after it took place and took 5 min to settle down after every one.

Oh well. Nothing an Uzi wouldn't fix, but I didn't have one. Pity. Next time.

So what's my take? Eh, a little in the middle. Let me start with the bad. Two major things.
1 - This movie owes a HUGE debt to The Ring. Humongous. In fact, if I take out every single thing that I recognized from that movie there would be little left of this one. They basically took the scariest moment from The Ring and repeated them over and over in several variations from start till end.
2 - There really is no plot to speak of. There's a house in Japan with ghosts in it. And people that get involved in it in some way tend to.....have negative results from their involvement. (See? No spoilers) That's pretty much it. And frankly there are some moments that really don't make much sense within the movie's own mythology. The characters, the back story, the origin of the curse...there's just not much meat to it all. The Ring had a very nice plot development. Not here.

On a minor note: too many 'boo' moments. 'Boo' moments aren't really scary. They are just natural reactions to sudden movement and loud sounds. They'll startle me, sure, but I prefer extended creepy to a zillion 'boos'. They also tended to telegraph those moments. Either the music swells in a screechy string ensemble, or everything goes COMPLETELY quiet. So you know something's about to pop up.

So sounds like I hated it? No not really. I hated the crowd I was with and in all honesty the movie probably would've gotten to me more in a quiet theater. They ruined a lot of the atmosphere. The movie is creepy. It is well shot by a crafty director. They were creative in creating new ways for the ghosts/curse to appear or 'get' someone which kept things going. And Sarah did a good job. (Jason didn't have a very big role) She wasn't just 'help I'm screaming'. She was terrified and looked it. Still as a role it wasn't nearly as meaty as Naomi's in The Ring.

(Am I going to keep brining The Ring up? Well, since The Grudge pretty much constantly did, so will I)

The non-chronological structure helped. I think if all of it had been shot in a straight line, it would've been far more mundane. This helped suggest a build-up even though there wasn't much plot to build up to. Atmosphere was good. scary shots were skilled. Japanese children and young women are creepy. Well, when they're dead. I wasn't bored as they kept creating the feeling that things were just around the corner and they usually were. Also, there is a really nice scene with Bill Pullman and Sarah that I thought had some very nice touches. You'll know it when you see it. Probably the most creative moment in the movie for me.

But in the end, I have to say, there just wasn't enough 'to' it, really. And I have some problems with the ending. And the final scene, while again creepy, frankly was a teensy bit of a cliche.

And again, too derivative of The Ring.

Long-winded review guy out.
"Especially the girls who couldn't decide if they wanted to scream constantly, or giggle, and decided on both most of the time. The crowd also felt it necessary to discuss each and every scary moment right after it took place and took 5 min to settle down after every one." EdDantes

Yup, sounds like the same theater except I live in Massachusetts. My daughter asked me if I liked it when we got in the car and I told her I thought I liked it and probably would've loved it if I could've took in the atmosphere of it without all the damned distractions. I honestly wondered if the local mental hospital got a discount and they just dropped off a bus of slow witted youngsters.

I really did like it, I wasn't expecting a deep plot and just wanted something to scare me a bit. It was definitely plot light but I thought that was okay for a horror movie coming out for Halloween. I also thought it had a lot of Ring moments and said that to my daughter about that one particular scene with

As for the ending, yes predictable but I also figured it was a possible set up for the next movie, if there is one. We speculated that

Also loved the scene with Sarah and Bill and would've loved to have seen some more of that type of thing, you know Sarah

All in all, I still feel it was entertaining, probably would've enjoyed it more if I had gone with a crowd who knows that you sit and actually pay attention to the movie. But that said, I also agreed with a lot of what you said. I guess it comes down to knowing what you're getting before you go. I was prepared that there wouldn't be much of a plot and just by the scenes I'd seen on TV that it would be very much like The Ring.

I loved horror movies when I was a teen and compared to The Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th movies, I thought this was much more entertaining. These types of movies are really made for that crowd and they seemed to enjoy it.
I went to a movie on a friday night once, and never again, there is really no way to enjoy a movie when it's filled with teens more intent on turning it into a social gathering than seeing the movie.

I found going to the first matinee show on a Sunday is the best possible movie experience, though there is a theatre in St.Louis that caters to adults only, meaning no one under 21 allowed, it's more expensive than a normal show, but I can see the value in it.
I'd pay extra to go to a theater that had mature crowds. It would be worth the extra money. To be fair to my kids, who are both teens, they were just as annoyed as we were by the excessive noise.
"I honestly wondered if the local mental hospital got a discount and they just dropped off a bus of slow witted youngsters."

Hah! Good one!

Uhm...don't remember how to do the invisitext, but Blwessels, on your first invisible bit: Yeah, very. Also? That looked different and scarier in the Grudge's trailer than in the actual movie somehow. I noticed that.

Second invisible bit: I had a notion similar to that briefly. I can definitely go with that, but I think you may be giving them too much credit!

"I was prepared that there wouldn't be much of a plot and just by the scenes I'd seen on TV that it would be very much like The Ring."

Yeah I'm kind of glad I read Rottentomatoes. The complaints of lack of plot kind of warned me in advance. But I still feel, even when you accept the Ring similarities that they could have done a little more with this. But it was a decent horror flic. The american ones have been crap for decades so I still enjoyed this.

And yeah NEVER again on a friday night! Ack! I hate loud and dumb teenagers. When we left there was a bunch of girls who literally talked like sitcom valley girl cliches: "Ohmigod!Ohmigod!Ohmigod!Ohmigod!" Grnnff..

Oh and the worst? They all laughed at the wrong moments. When stuff was sad or scary. They laughed. Often I could tell, it was to break their own nerves and scares, but.... you know in the beginning? The first death we see? They LAUGHED! We looked at each other and wondered what exactly the humor was there.....ugh.
My pet peeve is parents who bring their one year old child to an 8pm showing and the poor kid starts bawling its eyes out and the parents do nothing. They don't take the child outside, they just wait till it settles down. Much to the annoyances of everyone else trying to watching the film.
They were doing the same thing at our theater, laughing at all the wrong moments, especially that first scene. We wondered the same thing and my daughter asked me what they thought was so funny. That's why I'd like to get it on dvd, just so I can actually watch it without all the disruptions.

Simon, totally agree with you there, restaurants too! When mine were little we would never bring them to non-kid type movies or fancy restaurants - that's what McDonald's and Friendly's are for, people with kids.
My pet peeve is parents who bring their one year old child to an 8pm showing and the poor kid starts bawling its eyes out and the parents do nothing

I used to post on a site called yesterdayland and we had a post about parents bringing in young kids and babies to movies, not kid movies but adult rated R movies, I was against this, one woman argued with me over and over that she should be able to bring her baby, and that why should she have to stay at home and do nothing because she had a baby and nobody to watch it.

I pointed out that bringing a baby to a theatre destroys not only other peoples viewing pleasure, but hers as well, constantly having to get up and take a crying baby out of the threatre, how does that let you enjoy the movie? And it also wrecks it for others who can't hear the movie over the screaming baby, especially if you payed $8-$9 to see it.

Blwessels, sorry didn't mean to lump all teens together, though friday night's in the threatres is more like a teen hangout, why I avoid it, and it seems to be like that everywhere.
Nuke, it didn't even occur to me that you were lumping all teens together. I knew you were just talking about that a lot of them are like that. My kids are very serious when it comes to going to movies and stuff and I think that is because I wouldn't allow them to get away with disruptive behavior when they were little. If we went out to eat with them, and it was always family friendly restaurants, if they missed behaved they were told their would be consequences, like no tv or having to stay in their room or lose a favorite toy. If they did misbehave, we always followed through. They learned quickly how to behave at restaurants and movies at a very young age. Unfortunately, it's the parents who don't care if they ruin someone elses evening by bringing their crying baby or disruptive child out because they teach their kids that it's okay to behave that way. If a kid knows they aren't allowed to go out to a grown up movie because they aren't mature enough for it they will appreciate it when they are finally allowed to go and will most likely behave.

And no one is telling parents they should stay home and do nothing because they have a baby - they should get a babysitter if they want a night out, especially if they want to go out with other grown-ups. It is so annoying as a parent who wants a night away from their own kids to end up being seated next to a family with unruly kids who just sit there and do nothing.
"My pet peeve is parents who bring their one year old child to an 8pm showing and the poor kid starts bawling its eyes out and the parents do nothing."

Ohh don't even get me started. Especially when it's a movie that's not exactly for kids to begin with! What are these people thinking? No! You don't bring your 1 year old to The Ring. OR even the Two Towers!

"one woman argued with me over and over that she should be able to bring her baby, and that why should she have to stay at home and do nothing because she had a baby and nobody to watch it."

Oy. That would be one of those people. Well, that's having a baby. No, you can't leave it at home if you don't have a babysitter. Yes, you can go out with a baby....but not to a movie!! There's a crowd of other people who's fun you're ruining. And yeah, they all paid for it too. Grrrr...
Well, it's somewhat hard to add much to the reviews that EdD and blwessels have posted. I probably enjoyed the movie more than either of you did because (a) I haven't seen The Ring or Ringu or Ju-On or any Japanese horror movie in fact; (b) I rarely get to go to the movies so every time is kinda a fun experience; and (c) our crowd was not quite so distracting.

Sure, we had three young women and a young guy seated right in front of us who talked a little throughout (and the guy cackled with laughter a few times), and a girl behind us who kept asking her dad what was happening (cos she had her hand over her eyes), but it didn't disturb the experience. Point of fact, the audience seemed to genuinely enjoy the movie and was scared in all the right places, and there was some applause at the end.

As for the movie itself. First, I am dumbfounded that the LA Times reviewer thought the plot was confusing. Nothing whatsoever of confusion about it. As EdD said, it's rather simple. I liked the simplicity. It was obviously an emotion- rather than plot-driven movie and that was fine. And as blwessels said, it repeated the same basic idea again and again, but it still made you start every time. I don't really scare easily, but I was pretty jumpy throughout, and there were a few literally hair-raising moments. One of my companions thought it was terrifying. Personally, I thought they could have done more with the psychologically terrifying aspects, perhaps suggesting some of the underlying horror at work, instead of sticking with the more straight-out scares (but I did enjoy the "boo" moments, as EdD described them). Thought the sequence that blwessels averted to with SMG and Pullman was a stand-out.

The look and style of the movie was fine for me. Nice faded sort of colors mostly, and I thought the camera-work was very creative in bringing different angles into play. SMG was good. The role didn't obviously demand greatness or much depth, and she didn't bring it. But she was moving, and I thought she created a character that was quite distinct from any other I've seen her play. (Although a Buffy fanatic who I saw the movie with said afterwards that he thinks he'll never be able to see SMG as anything other than Buffy.) SMG's character was less chatty or mentally agile, a touch more emotive and sensitive. But this wasn't a character piece. Jason Behr was actually better than I expected, although his part was small. So to speak. Clea DuVall and Kadee Strickland didn't get much to do.

The three of us guys who went agreed that it was a simple premise that was executed very well, and there were some genuinely scary moments. I'm glad I saw it.
blwessels, I'm SO with you on the setting limits early thing. My kids have never thrown a tantrum, or freaked out in any way in a public venue. Closest thing was the boys had a tickle fight in Denny's, but I put a stop to that real quick too. They know better.

And Ed, you are so right about ruining other people's fun at the movies. As a parent, I would never dream of doing that to other adults. It galls me no end that other parents just let their kids run roughshod over them and wreak havoc, while they just sit there placidly munching their popcorn! Grr.

To get back on topic, thanks everyone, for your opinions on the Grudge. I think I'll wait for the dvd.
According to and "Grudge" got over 15 million dollars on the opening day.
Not bad, considering it cost 12-15 million to make it.
Thanks to those who contributed a review of the film :) I enjoyed reading your thoughts. Though I'm sorry to hear that in some cases, overly-rowdy youngsters proved to be a distraction.

Haven't yet seen the film. But over at the Box Office Report site, it's predicted that the movie will do really well during its opening -- i.e., on that site, they look at Friday's numbers, and use that to forecast the total weekend's earnings. Right now, the forecast predicts it will rake in 42 million dollars over the full weekend.

If that turns out to be the case, it would be a very successful opening -- because as lince pointed out, there was a rather low cost associated with the making of the film.

[ edited by inverse on 2004-10-23 23:19 ]
So they've already made a profit and it's been only one day. Grudge 2 anyone?

Back to the film seeming a lot like the Ring. According to my daughter who is totally into these types of films, that is just how they do them over there. She says they usually do have a character with the long dark hair that's creepy so it's not so much The Grudge copying The Ring but more a case of it being the particular style. She mentioned another one that will be coming out that also will have that same type of character.

Anyway, glad to hear that you, SNT, also enjoyed it as well. I would've loved it, I think, if I hadn't had so much distractions going on. I am normally the type that prefers for movies to come out on DVD first so I can enjoy the experience in the quiet of my own living room without people talking loudly and munching popcorn (not that we don't munch popcorn at home).

We love the LOTR series and we've seen none of them in the theater but have waited for the extended version dvds to come out to finally view them.

Now, my dilemna will be what to do about Serenity?!! I so want to see that in the theater to help contribute to it being a box office hit but I'm concerned about having the same type of experience with this crowd of teenagers we ended up viewing The Grudge with. I think we'll either have to go to the latest show possible or a Sunday matinee as Nuke suggested. Would a Sunday matinee still count as part of the weekend box office take?

Willowy, exactly right about nipping things in the bud when they are young. You take them to family style restaurants to kind of train them on how to behave in restaurants. I remember my kids getting annoyed at other peoples kids because they weren't behaving.
Just got back from seeing it. While I quite liked the movie, I had a similar experience to most here, with the kind of people who were also at the show.

**Sweeping generalizations lie ahead**

I think alot of people just go to the movies without much thought of what it is they're going to see. For many, movies have devolved from an event to flipping the channels and settling on the first thing that doesn't look like it will suck. Those are also the kind of people who like being spoonfed and also like to point and laugh at things they don't understand.

For the movie to fully succeed, there really had to be an immersion into the mood it was creating and I'm willing to bet that with the inconsiderate nature of the average north american audience, alot of people left the theatre unhappy.
"For the movie to fully succeed, there really had to be an immersion into the mood it was creating and I'm willing to bet that with the inconsiderate nature of the average north american audience, alot of people left the theatre unhappy." Herb

Yeah, that's how I feel too and because all the noise and distraction affected my perception of the movie, I'm sure there will be a lot of people leaving unhappy, those that actually came to watch it and not socialize that is.

I actually feel that the days of "going out to the movies" will be ending in the next decade or so. Home theater systems are getting better and better and when some of these larger televisions, get thinner and less expensive so that everyone will have them, why would people want to go out and deal with obnoxious, inconsiderate rude people. It will be a deal where everyone can pay for the latest movie and it will be downloaded for them to enjoy at home. At least, that's where I'd like to see things headed.

[ edited by blwessels on 2004-10-24 00:02 ]
I had the same problem as pretty much everyone else who saw this movie on opening night -- screaming, giggling teenage girls. There were four directly behind me and three in the row behind that. I guess they all knew each other, because they kept talking to each other during the movie. And one of them even answered her cell phone and had a short conversation on it during one scene. I couldn't concentrate on the movie at all, so I didn't find it the least bit scary. I did like it, though, especially the previously-mentioned Bill/Sarah scene. I wish I'd waited for a couple weeks to see it, because I probably would have had a much better time.

Has anyone noticed that it's almost always people behind you who make the most noise? I'm always reluctant to growl at them because then they could throw things at my head or something. I think I'm going to have to start sitting in the back row of the theater with a water gun and shooting anyone who won't shut up.
You know, I just wanted to thank those of you have posted reviews. I was questioning whether I would see this in the theater, and now I believe I will, but at a late showing - I'm sorry the mood was broken for so many by teenagers. It is especially frustrating in a film that really requires the audience to be engrossed by the mood, as well as the content, of the film.

I saw The Last Samurai at a 9pm showing, listening to, directly behind me (yes Cranberry, I have that curse as well):

"Mommy, why did they cut his head off?
"Mommy, I have to poop."

"No you don't, you pooped 30 minutes ago. Hold it."

"I have to poop, poop, poop..."

And the poor child started crying and did not stop for some time. All during a very quiet, pivotal scene. And Mom didn't carry him out. This was probably a 6 year old, and while it's certainly not my place to judge what's appropriate for someone else's kids to watch... it pretty much destroyed the mood for the rest of us, as it happened repeatedly throughout the film. As a result, I felt compelled to tell Mom, when the film was over, that I appreciated having the opportunity to pay $9 to know what it's like to watch a movie in her living room." I was immensely satisifed by the deer-in-headlights look.

Again, having reviewed posts from so many of you in the past, I've been better able to gauge the likelihood of my enjoyment of this film based on what you all have said. Thanks much!
You go girl!! Love that you confronted the mother. Maybe she'll think twice about bringing a child to an adult themed movie again. How could she not know that their situation was distracting everyone around them, and most likely everyone in the theater. I hope you enjoy The Grudge when you see it Angela!
I just read a Variety box office estimate for the weekend: The Grudge #1 with $40 million (way ahead of anything else)! Guess all the promotion did some good! I haven't seen it yet but definitely will now.

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