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50 thoughts we had watching The Grudge

By Alyssa Fikse
Sarah Michelle Gellar in The Grudge

I remember The Grudge being a big deal when it came out. I was in high school, and because it was a PG-13 horror option, a lot of kids I knew were hitting the theater in droves to be terrified. I, deeply uncool and a coward, did not see it. Until now. For the latest Deja View, I am facing my teenage fears and watching a generational right of passage.

Sarah Michelle Gellar is one of our great scream queens, and The Grudge was one of her first major roles following the end of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. She isn't given the space to show off much range — not everyone gets to be Toni Collette in Hereditary — but you can see glimpses of Buffy Summers' can-do attitude in exchange student Karen. A nursing student who moved to Tokyo with her boyfriend Doug (Jason Behr), Karen works with a homecare service and ends up in a house with a malevolent secret. S*** gets real, hair is everywhere, it's a super creepy time.


1. Rage, death, curses, cool. 

2. Oh, hey, Bill Pullman. While You Were Sleeping hive, where you at?

3. Oh, bye, Bill Pullman. Jesus.

4. I feel like it’s been 100 years since Sam Raimi (who produced this film) has directed a movie. Am I just out of the loop? *pause* Well, he’s been producing quite a bit, but the last feature he directed was… Oz The Great and Powerful. Yikes.

5. HANG ON. THEY’RE REMAKING THIS MOVIE WITH BETTY GILPIN AND JOHN CHO? *pulls self out of IMDb rabbit hole, unpause*

6. I am admittedly a horror film rube, but even I know that you should NOT enter a mysterious room with weird noises, especially in homes that are not your own. I would never be the hero in a scary movie, but I would probably survive it through my own cowardice passed off as lack of interest.

7. ESPECIALLY AN ATTIC. Not to victim shame, but Yoko, girl, what were you thinking?

8. Buffy from Buffy and Max from OG Roswell hooking up is the stuff of '90s WB nerd dreams. Not to openly invite another internet tangent, but I am definitely checking to see if anyone has written that fanfic later. (No one has! Someone make this crackship happen!)


9. White people gawking at Japanese ritual isn’t a great look. I worry this will happen a lot. Setting a story in nations populated by people of color but focusing on white people is such a lazy and outdated device. Please, no more.

10. Kids know evil, man. KIDS KNOW.


12. Where did all this trash come from? Is creepy attic girl peckish in the night?

13. Girly, I know you’re not going to listen to me, but I beg you not to open that book.

14. Two attic children is far too many attic children.

15. S***. She opened the book. Buffy would know better. Or at least Willow would.

16. Who knew a bowl cut could be so menacing?

17. Okay, a bowl cut doesn’t have anything on terrifying hair that fills up an entire room.

18. Flashback time! They still put her in this home after such a creepy first visit?!

19. Sir, do not reach into that tub.

20. He did not listen to me.

21. Are they a couple or siblings? I am honestly not sure. I think they’re a couple, but “kiddo” throws me off.

22. Is this ghost just hungry? Will she leave them alone if they just left out some good snacks for her?

23. Hey, if you think someone has broken into your home, call the police. Don’t investigate on your own. This is how you become a horror film casualty.


25. Okay, they are a married couple. “Kiddo” is clearly a relationship cry for help.

26. Ah yes, Chekov's jaw bone.

27. Am I an alarmist to propose that people simply burn down houses that are OBVIOUSLY cursed? Get rid of the evil with a cleansing fire of “DO NOT F*** WITH ME, GHOST” energy. And literal fire.

28. The shaggy haircut + tracksuit is SUCH a mid-2000s look. We all had crushes like that. It’s embarrassing, but we need to confront it so we can move on.


29. How has no one called to inform the sister yet?? Her mother, brother, and sister-in-law are ALL DEAD. Not even to warn her about a curse. This feels like a lapse in standard next-of-kin protocol.

30. Fact: stairwells are always creepy, even without horrible ghost children.

31. How many creepy horror movie jump scares can just be attributed to flickering lights and spooky music? I’m guessing a solid 73%? This is not a slam. I respect the effectiveness!

32. DEATH BY BED. I feel like this is not the worst way to go, minus the whole sheer terror part.

33. Seriously, what did this family DO?

34. Oh god, what’s going to happen in the shower? Again, not a horror buff, but NOTHING GOOD happens in a shower in a scary movie.


the grudge shower gif

36. Sam Raimi’s brother seems to be an empathetic guy, but following a zombie corpse is HOW YOU DIE, MAN.

37. Oh, so that’s who’s missing a jaw bone. Rough day for Yoko.

38. Is she coming out of that TV or am I mixing up my 2000s horror staples? (I am thinking of The Ring.)

39. Does the professor’s wife just stay cocktail-party-ready at all times?  Why are you wearing a bodycon dress and a full face just hanging out around your house? I respect everyone’s right to chill the way they want to chill, but have you heard of the restorative wonder of sweatpants and a facemask?

40. How… how do you not notice a shrieking child behind you, my dude?

41. I get that this is more of a plot driven movie, but I wish we knew a little bit more about Karen. I stan SMG forever, but she is just a cipher in this one. She’s there to uncover plot points, not actually be a character.


43. Well, he had the right idea until he fell for the oldest trick in the book. I know Detective Nakagawa’s a good man who would have had to fight against his instincts, but dude. You know that kid is a ghost.

44. WHY would he go to that house?! Shaggy haired boyf is clearly not a thinker.

45. I can’t decide if I like this ghostly recap of what happened or if I feel like I’m being spoon fed.


46. Man, GET OUT of that house. When you’re snooping through pictures that have clearly been defaced by a madman and you find a diary full of creepy odes to you, it’s time to go.

47. The seemingly bone breaking movement is suuuuper effective and creepy.



50. Since it is never explained, I am assuming the dead professor's widow is party-ready because her husband has been dead for three years (unclear at the time) and she's just trying to live her life. Dance like no creepy ghost kids are watching, lady. You managed to survive a horror film. You deserve it.