Entertainment Weekly

In what was something of a surprise to horror fans, it was announced last year that the still-youthfulish The Grudge (2004) was getting a reboot. Today Entertainment Weekly released the first images of this new version and although the pictures don’t give too much away, there is one glaring absence: Where is Kayako?

This time around Nicolas Pesce (Takashi Shimizu helmed the original) directs and he says his movie isn’t a reboot so much as an entry into the existing narrative.

“The beauty of The Grudge franchise, both the American and Japanese iterations, is it’s an anthology series. Every movie is a different story of different characters having different interactions with this curse,” Pesce told EW. “In today’s age where we’re remaking everything, I thought it would be fun to dive into The Grudge universe where we don’t have to remake anything, but rather a new chapter in this canon.”

Lin Shaye and Tara Westwood in Screen Gems’ THE GRUDGE.

Still, he adds, there are certain elements that can’t be changed in the plot and that makes it sort of unique in its own way. Intact is the grudge itself; a vengeful supernatural force who goes after the living.

“I think the most compelling thing about the grudge is that it’s inescapable. All you need to do is walk into a house that feels unassuming, and you’re screwed,” Pesce says. “It’s not your traditional haunted house movie where you pull up to a creepy, Gothic-looking house and go, ‘oh god that’s haunted.’ A motif of all the films, especially this one, is that behind the most normal kind of house, inside the most normal-seeming life, there can be something horrifying — whether it’s real and grounded, or something otherworldly and terrifying, it can happen anywhere, behind any door, to anyone. It’s unique to this story and philosophically terrifying.”

Entertainment Weekly

Taking place in the same year as the 2004 tentpole, Pesce says his version involves a few plots, one is about a cop (Andrea Riseborough) investigating a crime that leads her to a cursed house.

“We follow her, as well as two other storylines, that are all interacting with this grudged house in small town America,” Pesce says. “Like the old films, it’s a tapestry of three different stories that interweave and all take place at slightly different times, centered around this one house that’s at the center of this case that this cop is working on.”

The film also stars busy bee horror maven Lin Shaye, who has been nicknamed The Godmother of Horror. Shaye is best known for her role as psychic investigator Elise in the enormously popular Insidious franchise.

The Grudge is set to hit theaters on Jan. 3, 2020.