Director Nicholas Pesce insists that his upcoming film Grudge will mark a creative break from the many previous entries in The Grudge supernatural horror franchise.
The American series of Grudge movies began with 2004’s Sarah Michelle Gellar-starring The Grudge, a remake of the previous year’s Japanese supernatural horror film Ju-on: The Grudge, which was itself the third installment in the Ju-on franchise. In The Grudge, Gellar plays an exchange student in Japan who finds herself the victim of a curse. The film spawned two sequels, 2006’s The Grudge 2 and 2009’s The Grudge 3.
“Those movies will always exist and always be there for you to watch,” says Pesce. “I think that horror audiences these days are looking for a much more grounded, much more realistic, much more character-driven story in their horror movies. We see what’s doing well now and it is these kind of smarter, more nuanced horror stories, and that’s what this is going to be. We’re trying to update it for contemporary sensibilities, and we have an unbelievable cast, and I think it’s going to be something very different. There’s a thousand Grudge movies out there, and we wanted to figure out a way to kind of put a new, fresh spin on it, and it’s going to be exciting.”
Grudge stars British actress Andrea Riseborough, whose recent credits include Nocturnal Animals, Black Mirror, Battle of the Sexes, The Death of Stalin, and Mandy.
“The movie is set up a lot more like Seven, that sort of movie,” Pesce says of the new Grudge. “There’s a cop drama that drives the whole thing, and Andrea is the lead detective on this new case that they’ve come upon, and is the driving force through the movie. She’s incredible. She’s in absolutely everything and, when you see her act, you know why.”
Grudge is slated to hit theaters Jan. 3, 2020.