Horror franchise The Grudge is getting — you guessed it — rebooted

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Jul 7, 2017

One of the most enduring genre series to emerge from Japan is getting the full reboot treatment.

Sam Raimi's Ghost House Pictures is producing a new version of The Grudge that Deadline describes specificially as a "reboot." The company has recruited director Nicolas Pesce to get behind the camera for the project, which will feature a screenplay by Midnight Meat Train writer Jeff Buhler. A cast and release date have yet to be determined.

The Grudge has a convoluted history. Director Takashi Shimizu created the franchise -- about a curse that is generated out of the rage of a dying person -- in the late 1990s with two short films made for TV, Katasumi (In a Corner) and Ten Fours, which served as precursors to the series. Next came Ju-on and Ju-on 2, two low-budget direct-to-video features that became cult successes and gained an international reputation as two of the most frightening entries in the then-exploding J-horror genre.

Shimizu got to remake both as proper theatrical films in 2002 and 2003 with Ju-on: The Grudge and Ju-on: The Grudge 2, both of which were also widely seen outside their native Japan. The buzz on both led Ghost House and Columbia Pictures to bring Shimizu over to the U.S. to helm a 2004 English-language remake titled The Grudge, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar.

The $10 million movie made more than $187 million worldwide, paving the way for a 2006 sequel (also directed by Shimizu) that grossed just $70 million globally. Shimizu stepped away for The Grudge 3, which was released direct to video in 2009.

Ju-on movies have continued to emerge in Japan, with little to no involvement from Shimizu, including Ju-on: Black Ghost and Ju-on: White Ghost (both 2009), Ju-on: The Beginning of the End (2014), Ju-on: The Final Curse (2015) and last year's Sadako vs. Kayako, which pitted Ju-on ghost woman Kayako against the main villain of the Ring series, Sadako.

I suppose it's inevitable that The Grudge, like all genre franchises, would get a Hollywood reboot as well, although it's hard to imagine anything new that can be wrung out of the mythology. Also, the relative failure of the two Grudge sequels, not to mention the Ring reboot (Rings) that flopped badly earlier this year -- while original horror titles like Get Out and Split soared -- would seem to be a big red flag against relaunching this brand. One positive note is the hiring of Pesce -- his breakout film, last year's The Eyes of My Mother, is a truly disturbing and nightmarish experience.

What do you think of The Grudge being rebooted?