Spring Break is upon us. I realize that most people enjoyed their vernal celebrations last week; however, my siblings attend a strange school that some people refer to as “Christian”—a school which, for some dark and mysterious reason (possibly relating to the Founder of their religion), celebrates Spring Break a week after all the other schools. Of course, the exact date and time of my sibling’s Spring Break hardly matters because they celebrate it in much the same manner as the pagans at the secular schools....they sit around and do nothing.
As you all know, my scholastic career has been sporadic at best, and I currently am not involve in any sort of academic venture, which means that, technically, I don’t have Spring Break. However, via my close familial ties, I have managed to wrangle me an invite to the wonderful party that is Spring Break. The end result, of course, is that I also get to sit around and do nothing. Or, rather, I get to sit around and do what I spent a lot of my non-vernal-celebrating-hours doing, namely, watch bad movies.
Several weeks ago, my brother Paul and some of his friends rented and watched a certain movie...a horror movie...inspired by a Japanese movie...featuring a blonde-haired heroine...and a vengeful, long-haired, female spirit...a spirit who had been murdered...by someone close to her. No, I do not speak of The Ring but rather of a certain Sam Raimi-produced movie entitled The Grudge.
In the weeks that followed, my brother suggested several times that I myself watch it. Why exactly he wanted me to do so heaven only knows, because he had already, in a fit of good taste, declared this movie to be worthless schlock. I can only suppose that he wanted a more expert opinion to back him up.
There are, I think, three (3) main reasons why The Grudge was a worthless movie devoid of any artistic value or merit.
1. The writer evidently thought that his masterpiece had no need of a coherent plot, intelligent characters, or a cohesive structure.
Now, I realize that this movie was marketed to teenagers and that a majority of teenagers don’t actually need the movies they watch to have any of the above-mentioned things. However, that doesn’t change the fact that The Grudge completely lacks artistic merit because of the aforementioned deficit. The most I can do is congratulate Sam Raimi for being a shrewd businessman who realized in what areas he could successfully cut-back and reduce costs.
2. The movie featured Ted Raimi in a prominant role.
There is a reason that the younger Raimi never wins parts in productions that do not involve his elder brother, and the reason is, with the exclusion of Sam Raimi, every single person in Hollywood realizes that Ted Raimi cannot act and could not do so even if his life depended upon it.
Up until I watched this movie, I thought that even Sam had, at the very least, an inkling of his brother’s astonishing lack of talent because, in most of the former Sam Raimi produced and/or directed movies I had watched Ted had been given only minor roles, most of which were mildly comedic flunky parts. But, even my minor good-faith in the elder Raimi proved misplace, for in The Grudge he saw fit to give Ted a fairly sizable and rather serious part which required him to actually act, a feat he was painfully (for the audience) unable to accomplish.
3. The Grudge is to The Ring what Conan the Destroyer was to Conan the Barbarian.
Both The Ring and Conan the Barbarian were ground-breaking films in their particular genres. Both The Grudge and Conan the Destroyer did nothing more than awkwardly take a large number of the clichés found in their respective genres and throw them together willy-nilly to form a celluloid hodge-podge of boring silliness. My one regret is that, while Conan the Destroyer basically hailed the end of sword and sandal epics, The Grudge is most likely only the first of an endless number of Japanese-inspired horror films which Hollywood will spew out in the coming years in a concerted effort to suck every-last drop of spirit from the American public.
Although I stated above that The Grudge is completely devoid of any artistic value or merit, I do not want to imply that it is completely devoid of any non-artistic value or merit. Indeed, the movie gave me a clarity about myself that I had never before possessed. As the movie drew to a close I had an epiphany, and I suddenly realized what my greatest desire is. When I die, I want to come back as a vengeful spirit who haunts Sam Raimi and his offspring and who will never be appeased until he completely destroys every last copy of every single bad movie I have ever watched during the course of my life. He can start with The Grudge.
Copyright 2005 Jessica Menn