Based on the Japanese film Ju-On: The Grudge written & directed by Takashi Shimizu, The Grudge presupposes that when someone dies in the grip of a powerful rage, a curse is born. The curse gathers in the place of death, and those who encounter it will be consumed by its fury.
Notes producer Schuyler Weiss, “So much of what writer-director Nicholas Pesce has written on the page in this script, these really richly drawn characters, constantly dealing with both real world problems and battling the Grudge, has attracted phenomenal acting talent. The craft they bring to these characters makes them feel so lived in. And then what we do to them with the Grudge is so much more impactful.”
Playing Det. Muldoon is British actress Andrea Riseborough. “It’s through her eyes that we first experience this new Grudge,” says producer Sam Raimi, “and then follow her through the course of the film,” as she investigates the murders.
She pursues the mystery of The Grudge with a great intensity. “It becomes an obsessive drive. It really became about going down the rabbit hole with her,” something the Grudge took full advantage of,” Pesce explains.
Meanwhile, Demian Bichir describes his character Detective Goodman as “a very lonely person – more so since his mother passed a few years ago.” He’s a guy who wants more in his life, but has sort of accepted where he is, Pesce notes of the character. “He’s this chain-smoking, rumbling, gruff-voiced guy, but he does have a heart, and really does care about people. That gruff exterior is more a coping mechanism for what is essentially a kind of a depression he’s been in.”
Goodman’s relationship with his new partner Muldoon is a reluctant one, due to his previous partner relationship, but Muldoon forces him into it. “We knew we didn’t want it to be like every male-female partner, where they have to fall in love,” Pesce notes. “They’re not romantic at all. Goodman actually, I think, gets very small doses of the feel of fatherhood that he always wanted.”
But he is wary of his new partner’s fascination with a case he wishes she’d stay away from, though the discovery of a dead body forces him to have to deal with it. “Muldoon latches onto it and wants to see the investigation through,” Weiss explains. “At first, she can’t understand why Goodman won’t go near the house, but after she goes to visit a crucial witness, she sees where it all leads. But by then, it’s too late for her – she’s in it too deep.”
The Grudge is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. The Grudge (in Philippine cinemas January 15) stars Demian Bichir (The Nun) and Andrea Riseborough (Birdman).