The Grudge: The Untold Chapter focuses on a police detective, investigating several cases over the course of a few years that all have the same, common evil theme with a house being haunted by something nasty. The Blu-ray comes with a 1080p HD transfer and a lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio track that is quite superb. There are a few extras too boot as well in this remake that is deeply flawed but gives way to some new characters and story in this horror franchise. Worth A Look.
Enough time has passed in the Hollywood horror time frame to bring about yet another American reboot of The Grudge, which itself was an American remake of the hit Japanese haunter Ju-On: The Grudge that followed an evil entity possessing numerous people into committing heinous acts. This latest installment dubbed The Grudge: The Untold Chapter serves as a side-sequel of sorts, taking place around the same time as the 2004 version with Buffy the Vampire Slayer herself Sarah Michelle Gellar. Although there are some terrifying atmospheric moments and a few solid performances from the actors who really commit to their roles, the film gets in the way of itself with too many characters that have unnecessary background developments that go nowhere in the film's 90-minute run-time.
Director Nicholas Pesce (Piercing, Eyes of My Mother) is a fantastic filmmaker in the horror genre who has had a couple of promising movies that have conjured up some originality in the horror realm, but with his version of The Grudge here, nothing really sticks the landing, where the film mostly relies on those tired and loathsome jump scares - again. Even though the marketing says Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert are back in a producing capacity, maybe to lend some credibility to the film, those two legendary horror maestro's stamps are nowhere to be seen in this reboot.
The Grudge: The Untold Chapter hops around different times during the span of a few years, where police detective Muldoon (Andrea Riseborough) is investigating a series of strange murders and killings that take place at 44 Reyburn Drive in Pennsylvania. This location is as evil and haunted as room 237 in The Shining and never seems to die or get rid of the evil that occupies it. Throughout the years, several different people move into the haunted abode, only to be horribly possessed and killed in a gruesome fashion. This leads Muldoon and her would-be partner to try and solve this never-ending case, leaving no one safe that enters the house, even a pair of real estate agents.
The issue at hand is that each of these characters that come in contact with this house has some sort of personal issue they're facing, whether it be a strenuous pregnancy or elderly health problems that never get solved nor implements enough screen time to grow attached to said characters. It's evident that Pesce wanted to explore the deep emotions of these people, but there simply wasn't enough time nor was there a good enough script to allow for a mix of drama and horror. Instead, it's one couple after another, several jump scares, a police investigation, and repeat for 90 minutes.
Luckily, the cast gives some solid performances and the gore is mostly practical and not the cheap computer-generated blood and guts, which should satisfy the common gore-hound. Still, despite a killer cast of Lin Shaye, John Cho, Demian Bichir, Betty Gilpin, Frankie Faison, William Sadler, and Jacki Weaver, The Grudge: The Untold Chapter doesn't do anything different or original that hasn't been seen numerous times before in other films, leaving this reboot lacking in thrills and fun.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
The Grudge: The Untold Chapter haunts the Blu-ray arena from Sony Pictures in a Blu-ray + Digital copy HD set. The disc is housed in a hard, blue plastic case with an insert for the digital copy, which has a cardboard sleeve. Trailers for other Sony films are included.
The Grudge: The Untold Chapter possesses its way to Blu-ray with a 1080p HD transfer and is presented in 2.39:1 aspect ratio. With a subdued and decaying look color palette, the image still manages to look excellent in all its horror.
The color scheme is often stylized with a yellowish amber tint that has a warmer effect on the image. Exterior shots during the daytime give way to naturally blue skies and green trees, along with some earthy costumes, but no real primary color pops out on screen with the exception of a few instances of blood that showcase the color red perfectly. Black levels are graciously deep and inky with shadows never bleeding or becoming murky, along with some of the black hair and darker lit scenes that look intensely moody. Skin tones are also natural as well.
The detail is sharp and vivid as well, even in these amber looking sequences. Makeup wounds and closeups of the actor's faces always reveal each gash, vein, and open sore perfectly with the right amount of decay. Facial pores, wrinkles, blemishes, and individual hairs look wonderful too. Wider shots of interior rooms showcase all the necessary detail in props and background, along with some haunting dirt and grime that can be seen on the walls and bathroom tile nicely.
Lastly, there were no major video problems, such as aliasing, banding, or artifacting with this release.
The Grudge: The Untold Chapter comes with a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track that is pitch-perfect for this haunting atmosphere. In fact, a Dolby Atmos track would have been perfect here with all the creepy sounds this film implores.
Sound effects are loud and robust throughout with door creaks, footsteps on wooden floors, other-worldly noises, and screeches coming across with an immersive sound in all speakers. Each sound effect has some dynamic directionality and a low end for bass that never crosses into rocky-territory, but rather delivers a nice, smooth rumble when the action is happening.
There are a lot of moments where the sound design is as quiet as can be due to the inevitability of a jump scare about to happen, which allows the ambient noises of normal home sounds coming to the forefront with each footstep or window creak. The score always adds to the scary atmosphere of the film and suspense of each situation while the crescendos come crashing in often. Dialogue is clean and easy to follow along with, and free of any audio issues.
There are about 42 minutes of bonus material included here, including some very short EPK featurettes and 30 minutes worth of deleted scenes that are worth checking out.
The Grudge: The Untold Chapter had a lot of potential with a good filmmaker, stellar cast, and an ambitious story, but it all imploded on itself by trying to do too much in such little time, while still sticking to the jump scare tactic throughout. The Blu-ray itself has a fantastic 1080p HD transfer and a great DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix. Extras are sparse, but there are 30 minutes of deleted scenes that tend to make the film better. Worth A Look.