The Grudge 3 (2009)

DVD Cover (Sony Home Entertainment)
Genres: Horror, Supernatural Horror
A young Japanese woman who holds the key to stopping the evil spirit of Kayako, travels to the haunted Chicago apartment from the sequel, to stop the curse of Kayako once and for all. --IMDb
Toby Wilkins Toby Wilkins
Matthew Knight Matthew Knight
Shawnee Smith Shawnee Smith
Mike Straub Mike Straub
Aiko Horiuchi Aiko Horiuchi
Shimba Tsuchiya Shimba Tsuchiya
Movie Connections:
The Grudge
> Ju-On: The Curse (2000)
> Ju-On: The Curse 2 (2000)
> Ju-On: The Grudge (2002)
> Ju-On: The Grudge 2 (2003)
> The Grudge (2004)
> The Grudge 2 (2006)
> The Grudge 3 (2009)
> Ju-On: Black Ghost (2009)
> Ju-On: White Ghost (2009)
> Ju-On: The Beginning Of The End (2014)
> Ju-On: The Final Curse (2015)
> Sadako vs. Kayako (2016)
> The Grudge (2020)
> Ju-On: Origins (2020)

4.7 / 10 - Overall Rating

* * * * *
Sign up to rate this movie.
Add to Collection
Sign up to add this to your collection
Add to Favorites
Sign up to add this to your favorites
Review by Crispy
Added: August 02, 2009
Going in, I already knew that I should have low hopes for this sequel. It's a direct to video release, and obviously just a cash-in. To make matters even worse, our star ghost has been recast and the brains behind this franchise, Takashi Shimizu, stepped down as director and moved in alongside Sam Raimi as a producer. Now, I'll admit I'm not 100% sure what a producer even does, but obviously it wasn't enough, and newcomer Toby Wilkins couldn't match his predecessor's level of expertise.

A bit of a change this go around, as our story primarily takes place in Chicago. Jake, the lone survivor from The Grudge 2, has been placed in a mental institution thanks to his claims that a ghostly pair killed his family and that they are now after him. Obviously, Dr. Sullivan doesn't buy this, and leaves him in his padded cell so she can check on other patients. While she's away, the security camera records him reacting to a violent "hallucination". A hallucination that breaks every bone in the young boy's body. Meanwhile, the super of Jake's old apartment, Max, has hit quite the low point in his life. Thanks to the recent grisly murders in his building, tenants have left in droves and haven't been replaced, placing his job on the line. Plus, he has the responsibility of caring for his two sisters, one of which is an eight year old with a severe respiratory illness and the other is more concerned about sneaking into the unoccupied rooms to nail her boyfriend. Turns out these are the least of his worries however, as Kayako and her son have moved their base of operations to this building from Japan (We're never told why, and it doesn't make a damned bit of sense, but what can you do?) and have continued wreaking havoc on its occupants. The news of these events have made their way back to Tokyo, where a woman named Naoko realizes that the dark secret she's been hiding can not be ignored any longer, and she must do everything in her power to finally end the Curse.

For an unnecessary, direct to video sequel, our level of thespians is about the level of average to slightly below you'd expect it to be. Jadie Hobson and Gil McKinney both played their parts much better than expected, Hobson due to her age and McKinney due to the range he had to portray. Emi Ikehata went through the motions decently enough, but there should have been a lot of emotion in her ordeal that just wasn't there, which bothered me a bit. Shawnee Smith and Matthew Knight didn't get enough screentime to matter one way or the other, and Johanna Brady was fine when all she had to do was sneak around with her boyfriend, but when it came time for more emotional scenes she was awful; watching her try to cry was a painful experience. That pitiful scene aside, nobody was particularly awful, at least not enough to ruin the movie.

The film hit a (in my opinion, major) bump when Takako Fuji declined to reprise the role of Kayako Saeki. I will always argue that Kayako is one of the scariest villains in modern horror; seeing her lying under Susan's covers in the first movie or slowly poking her head out of the attic to stare down Allison in the sequel are some of the most unnerving scenes I've witnessed, and Fuji's portrayal had a lot to do with that. Granted, it's hard to blame her walking out seeing as she's done the role seven times in the past, but with all that experience she had it perfected. A lot of people will try to make the argument that it's just awkwardly crawling around and croaking, but go tell Kane Hodder that playing Jason Voorhees is just walking around and pretending to stab people. Fuji's replacement, Aiko Horiuchi, was just not able to conjure up the subtle nuances that made the character so damned scary. Hell, even Fuji's face was a better fit for Kayako, as Horiuchi's rounder face and the difference in her expression made her look a lot less threatening. So much for all Asians looking the same.

Unfortunately, this casting change was not the only major shift from the traditions set over the last two films. One of the biggest change is the straightforwardness of the plot. The Grudge jumped all over the place, and The Grudge 2 actually had three different stories over three different time periods that were all intertwined together, but with The Grudge 3, what you see is what you get, and what you get isn't too good. It's definitely a disappointment when you've gotten used to sinking your teeth into a more complicated story. Even so, a bigger problem than that is how predictable everything is. Shimizu knew how to set up a scene where Toshio or Kayako would appear and the viewers found their hair standing on end and their breaths tightened. Wilkins would set up scenes where the viewer says to themself, "They're going to pop out of that spot right there. Yup, there he is." There is absolutely no subtlety whatsoever. This is not the same Grudge that Shimizu perfected over six movies. This is watered down Diet Grudge Lite. It's got some vague similarities, but nowhere near as satisfying.

As I was watching this movie, all I could think of is "Well, it's not as good, but it's not bad, either." But then I got to the last five minutes or so, and it all went to shit. You see, this is one of those horror movies that has to throw in that final twist. The twist that some pretentious asshole is tickled pink because he thought of something nobody will see coming. The twist that doesn't make a damned bit of sense no matter how you try and reason through it. The twist that frankly, leaves a horrible taste in your mouth about the whole affair. And then they add insult to injury by undoing everything in the closing seconds. No sir, your feeble attempt at a cop out holds no water with me. 3/10.
Sign up to add your comment. Sign up to add your comment.
Recommended Movies
Layout, reviews and code © 2000-2020 | Privacy Policy
Join us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Review Updates