The Grudge Remake Will Take Place In America

Let the guessing game for the ghosts’ names begin!

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Remember the J-horror craze of the early 2000s? When American remakes of The Grudge and The Ring terrorized the world? Well, one of those franchises is coming back--but not in the way you might think.

The Grudge, or Ju-On as it is known in Japan, is a franchise that started in 2000 and spawned eight Japanese sequels, an American remake series, short films, a video game, and more.

Hollywood’s relationship with the franchise started in 2004's The Grudge, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. The film was a remake of the Japanese supernatural horror film Ju-On: The Grudge, the third installment in the franchise. Gellar plays an exchange student in Japan who finds herself the victim of a curse. The Japanese films deal with a curse created in a house in Tokyo, where a woman who was murdered by a jealous husband is turned into a ghost because she died with a deep rage, so she haunts the location, killing anyone who encounters the curse.

A new English-language movie was announced with writer Jeff Buhler penning the script around 2014. During an interview at SXSW promoting his newest film, Pet Sematary, GameSpot spoke with Buhler on his approach to the famous Japanese ghost story.

"My original pitch to Sam Raimi was to forget about the original story and not revisit the same old ghosts," Buhler said. "We have seen the story of Kayako and Toshio being told so many times over [in] so many films both in Japan and the US, as well as the short films."

He went on to explain exactly what he would change from the mythology, and GameSpot can exclusively reveal that Buhler's script moved the story away from Japan into more familiar territory.

"The phenomenon of a grudge, which happens when someone dies in a violent rage, could happen anywhere," Buhler told GameSpot. "It could happen again, and it's probably happening somewhere right now. So the idea was to take what we've seen happening in Japan, and ask what would happen if that cycle were to happen in our own backyard? We wanted to start a new cycle of ghosts in a completely new setting."

This certainly makes sense considering the largely non-Asian cast, which includes star Lin Shaye, as well as Andrea Riseborough, Demian Bichir, Betty Gilpin, William Sadler, Jacki Weaver, Frankie Faison, and John Cho. The only issue is that we don't exactly know how much of that script is in the movie, as Buhler told us that the film's director, Nicolas Pesce (The Eyes of My Mother), did some writing of his own.

"I pitched my idea to Sam Raimi, and then Nicolas Pesce came in and did a huge amount of work on his own script and directed the movie," Buhler said. While Buhler wouldn't say whether Pesce completely discarded his script or just added to it, he said he's seen the film. And we sure are excited for the possibility of a new mythology in the franchise.

The Grudge is slated to hit theaters January 3, 2020.

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