Hollywood can’t shake Japanese horror remake curse

Once again, showing that Hollywood has no idea what to do with J-Horror, “The Grudge” is another in a continuing line of incomprehensible cash grabs. What was once creepy is now laughable and frustrating.

This loose remake of Japanese horror director Takashi Shimizu’s “Ju-on: The Grudge” franchise is what’s referred to as an “interquel.” Director/writer

Pesce’s script attempts to bridge events that occurred on both sides of the Pacific with a story that takes place in-between what happened in the other films. This idea quickly unravels, and Pesce, whose 2016 horror movie “The Eyes of My Mother” garnered praise, can’t seem to crack the “Ju-on” code.

Perhaps, the problem is that the mythology’s effectiveness is lost in translation. And to be fair, Shimizu’s original story-line was never interested incoherence.

The J-Horror (or “Japanese Horror”) phenomenon took flight in America in the early 2000s. The best of the adaptations remains Gore Verbinski’s 2002 remake of 1998’s “Ringu.” That film, entitled “The Ring,” enjoyed box office and some critical success as Verbinski and his screenwriter Ehren Kruger (one of the team of scribes on the upcoming “Top Gun: Maverick”) found a way to capitalize on elements of the novel by Kôji Suzuki.

The success of “The Ring” spawned a sequel in 2005 and another abysmal third film in 2017. But in its 2002 wake, smelling money, Hollywood produced “The Grudge” and “Dark Water” in 2005. Two more “Grudge” films followed in the States with ever-diminishing returns (the last of which was a direct-to-video release in 2009).  

Read Jonathan’s full review online and in print in the Times-Herald: