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The truth about the craziest scene in the Grudge reboot - Exclusive

If you saw it in The Grudge, it happened in real life. Well, sort of. 

Nicolas Pesce's reboot of The Grudge is much, much gorier than the 2004 remake it's based on, but the director didn't rely much on modern filmmaking techniques while bringing the beloved franchise into the new decade. Wherever possible, Pesce and his crew used practical special effects to bring the vast majority of The Grudge's scares to life, giving the movie a decidedly old-school vibe.

Speaking to Looper in a recent interview, Pesce explained that the decision to go practical over digital was to honor director Takashi Shimizu, who directed both the Japanese movie Ju-On and its American remake, 2004's The Grudge. "I really didn't want to do big CG ghosts," Pesce told Looper. "What I loved about what [Shimizu] did initially was the movies are so grounded. It really feels like a family's home videos, then ghosts just walk through in the background."

Creating The Grudge's more macabre moments using physical effects wasn't easy, though. In fact, one particularly gruesome special effect was especially tricky for The Grudge crew to pull off, thanks to its ultra-bloody aftermath. Here's the truth about the craziest scene in the Grudge reboot. (If you haven't seen The Grudge yet, back out now — there are big spoilers ahead.)

A leap of Faith

The scene in question involves Lin Shaye's character Faith Matheson, an elderly woman who's inflicted by both dementia and the curse that haunts 44 Reyburn Drive. By the end of The Grudge, Faith has befriended ghosts, murdered her husband, chopped off her own fingers, and is confined to a hospital where, theoretically, she'll get the treatment she needs. It doesn't quite work out that way. Driven to her limits by the curse, Faith makes her way to the top of a hospital stairwell and throws herself down the shaft in the middle, her remains splattering on the white floor at the bottom.

It's a horrific moment, and it took quite a while to film. As Pesce explained, "I wanted to do the blood practically and we were in a white staircase. Every time we dropped that body and had to go for another take, we literally had to clean an entire staircase. It's just a lot."

That sounds pretty dismal, but according to Pesce, it's pretty much par for the course when you're working on a horror film. "Those things, blood clean up between takes, that's honestly one of the hardest things about doing practical effects," he said.

Still, the director believes the extra effort is worth it. While The Grudge does have some CGI — lots of shots received digital touch-ups after they were filmed, and the movie's many flies are computer-generated thanks to Humane Society regulations — practical effects go a long way towards making movies feel more real.

"Something physically being there is going to affect the actors more and you're going to get a better reaction out of [them]," Pesce noted. It's better for the audience, too. As he put it, "Whether they recognize it overtly or not, they can tell when something is VFX. Even if they don't know it, they can feel it."

The Grudge is in theaters now.