Pro tip for anyone walking into a potentially haunted house: If you find a bathtub filled to the brim with black sludge, don’t stick around to see if anything pops out. Unfortunately for the characters in the Sam Raimi-produced reboot of The Grudge, jumpscares are the least of their worries. Is this iconic horror movie villain back for blood?
The new trailer for The Grudge dropped Monday, and the internet is already curious to see how the film will connect to the celebrated 2002 Japanese film, Ju-on: The Grudge, and the 2004 American remake starring Sarah Michelle Gellar.
The horror in the previous iterations of The Grudge is sparked when a man murders his wife Kayako (Takako Fuji) and their son in a jealous rage. Kayako returns as an onryō, a vengeful ghost common in Japanese folklore, and spreads her death curse to all those who encounter her.
Kayako’s long, dark hair is perhaps the most iconic imagery of The Grudge franchise. While it’s unclear if she will appear in the same way she did in the original films, the upcoming reboot teases someone who looks a lot like her, including shots of her famous tangled locks. In one scene, Detective Muldoon (Andrea Riseborough), who is tasked with investigating mysterious deaths in her city, sees a woman with that same long black hair crawling underneath her son’s bed.
While the new Grudge seems to be a complete retelling of the original story, director Nicolas Pesce teased that it will tell a parallel story to the 2004 version.
“While Sarah Michelle Gellar is in Japan in 2004 in that first movie, this movie is in America at that exact same time. And if you're familiar with the old movies, you'll see where they overlap,” Pesce told SYFY Wire earlier this month of the R-rated film.
That makes sense, considering the way the death curse in the film works. As people die from supernatural encounters with the onryō, their spirits become capable of creating the curse as well. Thus, if someone touch by the grudge in Japan flies to America, and dies there, the chain of horror may continue across the ocean. That could be how we get parallel stories, set in the exact same time period, with the same ghostly Kayako at the center.
Check out the trailer below. The Grudge hits theaters January 3.