The new Hulu original horror film “Grimcutty” is half-baked in its concept and even worse in its execution, and the result is an uninteresting piece that is borderline cringy at times. The film features a family of four living in a small and affluent American city and follows a series of bizarre occurrences as an internet meme comes to life to attack the children and teenagers of the place. The film is easy to disappoint and difficult to recommend, unless you are specifically into the teen-horror kind of film.
One night, young Brandon realizes that his mother has locked him inside his room in order to keep him away from phones or laptops before bedtime. While the mother anxiously goes through the news on the internet about the stressful effects of social media and smartphone internet on children, Brandon climbs out of his room through the window and goes downstairs. It is now that he spots a terrifying monstrous figure right outside their house, and it does not seem to be the first time that Brandon has seen it. The monster soon breaks into the house and chases the young boy with a sharp knife in its hands, and Brandon has no choice but to get hold of a knife from their kitchen. He runs into the mother’s room with the knife still in his hands, and as the monster rushes towards him, Brandon stabs his mother with it.
Teenager Asha Chaudhry runs an unsuccessful YouTube channel on which she puts up relaxation and ASMR videos, but she herself stays stressed about it all the time. Her family, which includes her parents, Amir and Leah, and her younger brother, Kamran, follow a routine of spending time with each other one day of the week without any phones or electronic devices getting in their way. On a day like this, the Chaudhrys go to Kamran’s school concert, and here Amir learns of an internet meme sensation called Grimcutty and a sick twisted game associated with it. Parents in the community have started to grow concerned about a mobile game in which this scary-looking monster appears and asks children and teenagers playing to complete dares of hurting, or even killing, themselves or others, and failing to do so apparently sends this monster out to kill them. Like the other parents, Amir and Leah get concerned over this, and they have a word with Asha and Kamran, telling them all about it (he even shows them a picture of this Grimcutty monster that he had received from the other parents) and asking them not to indulge in stupid things like this. Both the children promise that they are never so hungry for the attention to do things like this, but that very night, Leah sees something odd outside their house. As she tries to relax in their living room, Leah sees the same terrifying monster that her father had earlier shown to her and the same that Brandon had seen. The figure, Grimcutty, breaks into the house and approaches Leah with a knife in its hands, and the girl picks up a butter knife for defense and calls out to her parents. Amir rushes downstairs to find Leah alone with a knife in her hand, and the police are quickly informed. When the police arrive, though, they reveal that a few other teenagers and kids have also reported seeing the same monster that very night, but the police and the adults believe that this might all be part of the dares that Grimcutty gives to the players.
Like an overprotective father, Amir takes away all phones and laptops from his children that night, and the next morning the family decides to use something called a Detox Box to protect themselves from the scary situation. The Detox Box is essentially just a briefcase-like box to stow away all mobile phones, laptops, and possibly other smart devices to stay away from social media and hence from the frenzy of the Grimcutty. Asha tries to convince her parents that what she saw was very real and that the Grimcutty monster wanted to hurt her, but the parents still feel that the children trying to make them believe the monster is a part of the Grimcutty game and they want them to stop playing at all. Asha tries contacting her friends from school through a secret laptop that Kamran had kept behind with him, but her father disconnects their house’s internet as well. She then sneaks into the living room and breaks into the Detox Box to recover her phone. Earlier, one of the girls from her high school, Cassidy Johnston, had commented on her YouTube video, and now Asha sees that Cassidy has left her a message as well. Although Cassidy is known for being different and unusual in her choices and lifestyle, Asha decides to talk to her over the phone. They discuss how most of the parents in the neighborhood were taking away their kids’ phones in order to protect them from Grimcutty, and Cassidy’s parents intervened in the middle of the call itself, asking to have a word with her. Asha’s father had heard noises and had come downstairs to check as well, for which Asha had to go around the house and was now in the garage when she saw Grimcutty emerge again. The monster chases her, and she again picks up a knife for defense. Grimcutty slashes a cut on the teenager’s wrist, and she fights back by stabbing the monster’s hand and driving it away. However, as Amir and Leah come to help, they see Asha alone, crying hysterically, with a cut on her wrist and a bloody knife in her hands.
The parents obviously believe, now even more sternly, that Asha had hurt herself and was either making up stories about the monster or was indeed hallucinating and seeing something like it. Either way, they want to keep their daughter away from the internet, and they do not want her to go to school the next day either, but Asha somehow persuades them to allow her. The next morning, at school, Asha meets Cassidy in person and finds out that almost everyone is now using the Detox Box and keeping their children away from social media. Asha finds it strange that so many use the same product, the Detox Box, and that they were all quoting the same tagline, which happened to be that of the Detox Box. She now wants to look this product up on the internet, but to do so, she and Cassidy have to go over to a different place since the school also has disabled public internet. Cassidy takes Asha to see a boy named Oliver, as he is having a party at his house with his parents out of the country. The two girls quickly make use of Oliver’s laptop and an internet connection to search for the Detox Box, and they find out that it is sold and promoted by a woman called Melinda Jaynes on her personal blog website. Melinda’s blogs are mostly about either how to be a good mother or about the terrible ill-effects of technology on children and human lives in general, and amidst a list of hoaxy conspiracy theory kinds of articles, Asha finds one about the Grimcutty game as well. However, this particular blog post had been taken down from Melinda’s site, but the two teenagers are now sure that the woman has something to do with their situation. They also recognized Melinda to be the same woman who had appeared on the news after her son Brandon had stabbed her.
While Cassidy leaves the place to return home, Asha stays back and calls up Kamran and asks him to find Melinda’s address for her. Earlier in the day, Oliver and his friends had taken a picture of themselves posing as being under the spell of Grimcutty, and had posted it online. This picture, which includes Cassidy and Asha as well, now reaches Amir and Leah, and they immediately rush out of the house, thinking that their daughter is in danger. They drive to Oliver’s house and hear Asha’s screams as she is once again seen having a difficult time with the Grimcutty monster chasing her. This time, the monster catches up to her and lashes a few deep, wide cuts on her thighs and hands, but once again, when her parents come to her rescue, they find her alone with a bloody knife in her hand. The parents now realize that Asha is probably having some mental health issues, and they are about to drive her home when Amir’s phone receives a notification. He had installed a tracker in his house to get a notification whenever the home Wi-Fi connection was used, and it now pings since Kamran has been using it for all this time. He and Leah now stress over their children’s safety even more as they drive home as fast as they can, and on the other hand, Kamran now starts to see Grimcutty. When the parents arrive home, they find young Kamran strangled with his own necktie. They rush him to the hospital, where Asha is also taken, and the next morning, Leah tells Asha that she is about to receive psychotherapeutic help soon. Asha still does not believe anything is wrong with her, though, and she now finds Kamran’s laptop in their hospital room, which their parents seem to have conveniently brought to the hospital for some weird and unknown reason. On it, she finds Melinda Jaynes’ address and drives to the place, while Leah soon learns of this and decides to follow her by herself without telling Amir anything about it.
Although it is not mentioned in the film, the initial idea Asha, or even the audience, probably had was that Melinda Jaynes had created this false frenzy only to sell her Detox Box for large profits. However, after going to her house and then sneaking around in it, Asha finds out that Melinda is actually a woman extremely tense and anxious about the ill effects of technology on her young son, Brendon. This constant fear of her son having access to everything on the internet had driven the woman almost psychotic, and at present, she was even keeping her young son locked up inside a small closet inside the house so that Grimcutty or other dangerous internet trends could not reach him in any way. It was Melinda’s blog and the news of her son stabbing her that started this situation and spread it among the other parents. However, the mystery behind Asha and the other children seeing the Grimcutty monster themselves are solved by a theory the teenager has had for some time now. She realizes that the monster is actually created by the anxious over-protectiveness that the parents are showing for their children. Every time the parents of a kid freaked out about their son or daughter harming themselves, the monster appeared to the kid, and this was true in the case of Asha and Kamran as well. However, although a shared psychosis would still sort of make sense in the case of Asha, this falls flat in the case of Kamran getting attacked by the monster. Although Leah and Amir did freak out when they knew Kamran was accessing the internet, they did not say anything to Kamran, but the boy still imagined the monster and strangled himself in the process. The shared psychosis seems to have telepathic reaches in “Grimcutty.”
Moving on, Leah now has a burst of anger and frustration when Asha tries to tell her all this, and then she decides to believe her daughter for once. The two return to Melinda’s house and find young Brendon being attacked by Grimcutty. Although Leah does not see the monster, she does see the boy being held by some invisible force up in the air, but Melinda feels that it is Leah and Asha who are intruding into her house. She claims she had successfully kept her son safe for so long by locking him up inside the closet, and it had been Asha who had brought him out into his room. Melinda hysterically tries to shoot the two women, but Brandon intervenes with a knife in his hand and stabs his mother, making her fall down the stairs and lose consciousness or even her life. While Brandon had been intimidated and scared of the Grimcutty monster, he had understood that it was because of his mother that the monster was attacking him, and this is why he had stabbed Melinda earlier too. On the other hand, back at the hospital, Amir now finds Kamran’s laptop and goes through the internet search history. He is livid at his son. At the same time, Kamran wakes up and is immediately confronted by his father, which means that he gets anxious and starts to see Grimcutty again.
Leah brings Asha back to the hospital along with Brandon, and while she gets busy getting the boy treated, Asha finds out that her friend Cassidy had tried to kill herself and had little chance of surviving. Asha had earlier met Cassidy in the same hospital as her friend had also been attacked by Grimcutty, and Asha now knew that it was the same monster that had killed her. She sits alone and mourns in one of the corridors when she suddenly sees Kamran run through it in an attempt to flee the monster. She joins forces with him, as a frenzied Amir is also chasing after them, and she decides to draw out the Grimcutty monster and kill it once and for all. She confronts her father while Kamran hides in a closet, and the young boy is about to be attacked by the monster since he is very scared. However, when Asha intentionally gets stressed and anxious about her own situation, Grimcutty seems to sniff out this stress and chases after the girl instead. Ultimately, the monster is about to stab Asha, but Amir still sees her trying to stab herself, and he approaches her to protect her but gets stabbed by Asha instead. Both of them run out of the hospital, and Amir now finally sees his daughter getting picked up into thin air. Leah had earlier handed Amir an injection with a sedative, asking him to calm down and be less worried, and it is only now that Amir injects himself with it and faints on the ground.
Whether the Grimcutty monster actually existed is not really made clear, as the film seems to maintain ambiguity over it. Although Leah and Amir both see children hovering in mid-air, they do not ever see the monster, and it can be thought that they hallucinated what they saw out of the extreme tension and anxiety they were in at those particular moments. Nonetheless, Asha seems to drive away the Grimcutty monster once and for all by stabbing her father, and Amir recovers from the injury after some time. While it is understood that Amir and Leah have now lost their tension and anxiety over the effect of technology on their children, how the eradication of their fears magically led to that of the entire community is unclear. What’s worse is that the film ends with Asha making another YouTube video in which she horrifically whispers about how Amir and Brandon have both recovered and how the community will be less anxious about their children’s safety the next time. Just like most parts of the film, this ASMR video is not even close to relaxing or reassuring but is outright cringy.
“Grimcutty” is a 2022 Drama Thriller film directed by John Ross.
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