ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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The Grudge 3 (2009)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Toby Wilkins

Starring:
Shawnee Smith/Sullivan
Johanna Braddy/Lisa
Gil McKinney/Max
Emi Ikehata/Naoko
PLOT-CRUNCH
After the “grudge” cleared out a Chicago apartment building in Part 2; its now up to the manager of the vacant complex, his two sisters and some mysterious Jap dame to deal with the damn pesky ghostly tag-team of Kayako and Toshio.
THE LOWDOWN
I’ll shoot from the crotch here, although I dug THE GRUDGE 2 on some levels; the whole shtick was starting to get old. There is just so many times a chick with hair in her face and some kid that yelps like a pussy cat can be frightening. So before I tackled this straight to DVD third entry into the franchise; I knew all kinds of back-flips and lesbian monkeys would have to be tossed my way to make my viewing fresh. Well even though the creative team behind the project changed (the great Takashi Shimizu bowed out on this one – he does have an executive producer credit though), we sadly pretty much got more of the same but minus a fulfilling storyline and true scares Allow me to expand. Expand what? F*ck I know!

I’ll give THE GRUDGE 3 this; it rolled on fast and made a valiant effort to build characters and establish relationships, moreso than the usual STD sequel norm. The fact that it had competent actors in its back-pocket surely helped in that respect.; yup, at least I had a core of peeps to hold on to during this pedestrian watch. Visually; the flick looked swell. The fact that Wilkins stuck to the Grudge roots in terms of static shots, slow camera movements, what not made the flick fit in within the franchise while imbuing the proceeding with a delicious aura of dread. I kept feeling that bad things were gonna happen, and you know what they did, too bad that went the shite hit the shite, I Didn’t wind up giving a shite.

Which bring me to why this one let me down. First off the story launched on the right foot, stetting up its characters and a new angle as to the Grudge mythology but it then mostly went comatose for the middle section. Instead of building off its base, the flick basically acted like a PREDICTABLE slasher flick. Disposable characters were tossed in – ghosts came in and took them out in “yawn” ways. So by the time the story kicked back into high gear, with one neato twist in its sleeve, it was too late for this clown. It should be noted that this was the first Grugde movie to be told in sequence and I thought that was a big no-no; it made it even more obvious that there’s not much of a story left to tell. This whore is deader than me after a bottle of Bourbon - stop beating her!

And I’ll be the one to say that the re-casting of Kayako and Toshio (now played by Aiko Horiuchi and Shimba Tsuchiya) didn’t work. The latter looked way too old for the part, so he lost some fear points, while Kayako came across as a poor imitation instead of the real deal. It didn’t help matters much that they downplayed her token “growls” which was one of the reason I found her so f*cking scary in the first place. Add to that scares that did nothing for me in terms of evoking suspense and providing solid payoffs and the characters' frustrating habit of under-reacting to the events at hand (yes it’s a pasty white kiddie ghost – be scared and run bitch!) and you get a oh-hum entry.

At the end of the kill, I watched The Grudge 3, didn’t get hurt much in the process, then it ended and then I figured out that I could have EASILY gone without it. Was it the script, the new director or the new ghost casting that brought this sucka down? Maybe… but I feel that the fact that it was getting played out at Part 2 didn’t help this one. Cause now at Part 3 it was REALLY played out off the bat! I say, time to let go of this franchise for a while and lets re-visit it in 10 years when they decide to remake the remake.
GORE
Other than a knife through the throat, nasty wounds and blood splats - not much; kind of a let down for the first RATED R Grudge film.
ACTING
Shawnee Smith (Sullivan) proves once again that she's a good actress and deserves better than films of this caliber. Somebody get her on the A List already! Her knack of not looking scared enough aside, Johanna Braddy (Lisa) held her own for the most part. Bought it! McKinney (Max) had the juiciest role of the lot and nailed its many levels adequately. Too bad that Emi Ikehat's (Naoko) role was underwritten - I was digging her in it. Beau Mirchoff (Andy) did what he had to do well - not much of a role. Chalk Jadie Hobson (Rose) on the "talented kid actor" board, she deserves it. Marina Sirtis (Gretchen) criminally was WASTED here. Come on man! Counselor Deana Troi is better than VICTIM roles like this.
T & A
If you don’t blink, you’ll see a nipple.
DIRECTING
Wilkins did wonders behind the camera, giving this one a classical feel that not only echoed the prior Grudge films but also old school ghost flicks Sadly even he couldn’t rise beyond the underwhelming storyline and the fact that the Grudge shenanigans are out of gas.
SOUNDTRACK
The low key score by Sean McMahon acted as a sucker punch in the sense that when it cranked up, it packed a wallop.
BOTTOM LINE
THE GRUDGE 3 slammed this on the table: good initial premise, an able pace, potent visuals and decent acting. It then folded with limp scares, a hollow middle section, predictability galore and failure at breathing new life in the smack down, Kayako and Toshio combo. In my useless opinion, this movie is for THE GRUDGE completists or peeps that are really in the dark as to how to murder time. Everybody else can PASS! NOTE: It did make me want to see The Grudge Part 2 again though....ahhhh... the intricacies of my life...
BULL'S EYE
Yuya Ozeki and Takako Fuji played Toshio and Kayako in Ju On, Ju On 2, The Grudge and The Grudge 2 - I miss them already.

Screenwriter Brad Keene also wrote From Within (2008) and The Gravedancers (2006).

Matthew Knight is the only returning cast member from THE GRUDGE PART 2. he has a cameo.
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+0
4:17PM on 06/24/2009

good

I loved it, all the grudge films are great, really damn creepy as soon as that freaky burping girl crawls out from somewhere.
I loved it, all the grudge films are great, really damn creepy as soon as that freaky burping girl crawls out from somewhere.
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6:04AM on 06/02/2009

So kill me...

...I actually dug it. I liked the linear story - a fractured timeline is something very few can pull off and not be annoying. I do agree with your assessment of Toshio.

I thought it was a pretty good addition to the canon.
...I actually dug it. I liked the linear story - a fractured timeline is something very few can pull off and not be annoying. I do agree with your assessment of Toshio.

I thought it was a pretty good addition to the canon.
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