This episode we’re gonna be breaking down everything that you need to know about 2020’s first big horror movie: The Grudge.
Throughout this video we’ll be going over the main plot elements of the film including it’s overall plot and ending.
There will be heavy spoilers here, so if you haven’t had a chance to see the film yet then I highly recommend that you turn off now.
Thanks for clicking this, now let’s get into our breakdown of The Grudge.
The Grudge 2020 Breakdown
Ok so the events of the Grudge actually play out in nonchronological order and the timeline jumps about from year to year throughout the film in order to tell the entire story. This is something that’s always been a big aesthetic of the franchise but to keep everything streamlined I’m going to be putting the events in the order that they happen just so you don’t get confused.
The Grudge Explained
Up top though in order to understand the film you have to understand what The Grudge is. At it’s most basic level, The Grudge is a curse that is formed when someone dies in a state of either extreme rage or sorrow. After passing away their spirit becomes attached to a location, creating an entity when they die, most commonly a home.
If someone is to enter the property and unwittingly encounter the spirit they will be followed by it and once they die the curse is then reborn. It’s basically like a forwarding chain letter that spreads almost from person to person and location to location, infecting all who come across it.
Now what it basically means is that the horror is inescapable and no matter where you go, no matter what you do, the spirit will eventually come for you.
Whilst this is a terrifying idea, it also makes for quite a predictable storyline as we do know that eventually, the characters will all succumb to their fate with no chance of escape.
The grudge is basically a virus that contaminates people and spreads from person to person.
As mentioned earlier, where the creative team tries to vary up the film a bit is through their use of the timeline that the events happen in how in re-ordering everything, they are able to tell a more interesting story.
Ok so the film opens in Japan, 2004. We join a live in nurse named Fiona Landers and follow her and her family The Landers who become big players in the storyline. After witnessing some disturbing things in the Tokyo household she encounters ghosts and these curse her.
Bit of trivia, this is the curse from the original 2004 film starring Sarah Michelle Gellar and this is the starting point of the curse. The detectives in this film reference the detectives from the original and the correspondence between the offices are the same.
Desperate to escape, Fiona flees to America, unwittingly taking their malevolent spirits with her.
Later in the film, we learn that Fiona murdered both her husband and daughter and then committed suicide, cursing her home.
This is when we join the spencers, two real estate agents named Peter and Nina that are expecting their first child. Unfortunately, they have discovered that their unborn baby has the rare genetic disorder ALD.
This is a real life disease that ravages young children and though initially they may seem healthy, eventually the child will begin to regress, pick up solitary behavioural traits and then suffer blindess, deafness, seizsures, loss of muscle control and dementia. This either leads to death or disability and it’s a really horrible disease that puts the two in an almost impossible situation.
They don’t know whether to abort or keep their child but eventually they settling on raising their child and appreciating the time that they have left.
This film is very much about making the most of the time that you have and throughout the movie, there are several characters that deal with loss, death, and living on borrowed time. However, they all strive to do their best and turn lemons into lemonade, though it’s a bit difficult when a killer ghost is trying to get you to murder your whole family.
A police investigation takes place not long after and Detective Wilson and Goodman are called to discover exactly what happened. Goodman refuses to enter the house but Wilson does and this is when he is infected by The Grudge.
Wilson sees an apparition of Fiona and slowly he is haunted by spirits until he is driven to suicide.
Unlike the others though, this attempt fails and Wilson survives shooting himself which leaves him massively disfigured. He’s put into a psychiatric asylum where he lives in constant fear that a spirit will come for him.
During this time, The Spencers have listed the Lander’s house and Peter comes face to face with the ghost of Melinda, The Lander’s daughter. Unfortunately, this doesn’t really have a happy ending and a cursed Peter ends up murdering his wife and unborn child before dying himself.
The Bleakness Of The Grudge
Now one of my biggest problems with The Grudge outside of the over the top jump scares is that it is very very bleak. I know it’s a horror movie but this film feels more like the it’s purposely just ruining people’s lives. For me personally, that’s not really something that is that entertaining and I would rather watch complexities in character arcs than them being doomed to die.
It’s sort of the film version of the disease and whether intentional or not, they line up quite a lot.
Now whether you find it entertaining watching someone just decay until they die is gonna probably set the level for how much you enjoy this movie but in my opinion, the bleakness makes it hard to really become invested in.
This lack of hope is exemplified in The Mathesons who we join in 2005.
They move into the Lander’s home and become infected with The Grudge. The Mathesons are made up of William and Faith and the latter suffers from Dementia. Faith begins to witness the spirit of Melinda around her home and though she is initially joyful and playful with the ghost, things quickly change when it becomes more menacing.
William, left with little options calls for a suicide consultant named Lorna who monitors Father and stays with the family witnessing first hand exactly what’s going one. She talks to William about this who says he finds comfort in the ghosts because it means there’s an afterlife but as we know, this series isn’t about happy endings so Faith murders him the next day and slices off her own fingers.
Lorna discovers this and tries to escape but she’s attacked in the car by a spirit and dies.
The police later discover this and this is where we join who I’d consider the main character in the timeline.
That is Detective Muldoon, a widow who moved town with her son Burke after her husband passed away from Cancer. Muldoon is a policeman that pretty much unearths the ins and outs of the case and it’s through her that we begin to piece together exactly what’s gone on.
She’s partnered up with Detective Goodman and they discover Lorna’s car and corpse in the woods. Goodman divulges about the curse on the house and how death seems to follow whoever enters it, however against her better judgment Muldoon goes there and discovers Faith.
Faith is taken to hospital and commits suicide there and Muldoon continues her investigation but she begins to be haunted by the Landers. This leads her to visit Wilson in the asylum who tells her that she has not been cursed and that she will slowly spiral into insanity much in the same way that he did.
He tries to gouge out his eyes and yeah, not a happy chappy.
The Grudge 2020 Ending Explained
Muldoon discovers the curses origins and how Fiona brought it over from Japan and she is attacked by The Landers once more.
In a last ditch attempt to rid herself of the spirits, she travels back to the house that the curse is seemingly coming from and burns it to the ground.
We’ll get into how this differs for international audiences in just a bit but Muldoon seemingly defeats the spirits and they burn to the ground with the house.
Muldoon returns home and embraces her son before he goes to school, however in the background we can see another version of him, the real one leaving the house.
The child that Muldoon is hugging is in fact Melinda and this shows that the curse has continued and now found a new home and place to infect people from. Once more the cycle will likely start again with the house being investigated, estate agents listing it and the disease will continue to spread from person to person.
International Ending Differences
Where this ending differs internationally is that this final scene is never actually shown, it’s only implied. Detective Muldoon still burns down the house but instead of being attacked by the ghost at the end she merely pulls up to her house, enters it and the credits begin to roll.
Maybe that’s the happy ending I was looking for but it does kinda negate a sequel and emphasise that the curse is over whereas the main ending states that it still exists.
So it’s basically a pick your poison but going off the rules of the curse I believe that it still exists and has infected Muldoon.
As for the film itself, I really had a lot of hopes for this, especially as Sam Raimi’s’ name was attached to the project but it fails in several ways making for a very uninteresting and predictable movie.
The Grudge is a franchise that I feel has kinda run it’s course now and this movie cements that for me with it being a waste of time rather than an enthralling horror journey.
If you’re bored and just want a fun 90 minutes then this may be the one to check out this week but for everyone else I’d advise to steer clear.
The Grudge sadly gets a…
Now obviously I’d love to hear your thoughts on The Grudge and if you enjoyed it. This film is getting slammed by the critics so make sure you let me know if you enjoyed it.