[Please note: there will be spoilers for “The Grimcutty” as well as some brief discussions of self-harm in this article.]
Horror is a genre that is always steeped in subversive commentary, and Hulu’s original “The Grimcutty” is no exception. This John Ross-directed film tells the story of Asha Chaudhry (Sara Wolfkind) who has recently quit the track team. Her parents Leah (Shannyn Sossamon) and Amir (Usman Ally) believe this is a symptom of a troubled teen and react with “phone-free” outings. All in an effort to reduce both Asha and her younger brother’s Kamran (Callan Farris) screen time.
That is until a group chat of local parents becomes obsessed with The Grimcutty, an online video that is supposedly making kids injure themselves. Even though none of the teens in the film have seen these videos, many are actively looking for them. When Asha starts seeing The Grimcutty, all her peers respond with an excited “Can you send a link?”
The thing is- she is legitimately seeing the creature in her home, where it keeps attacking her. Each time she attempts to fight it off with a sharp object, often cutting herself in the process. And of course, the monster always disappears right before anyone coming to her aid can see it. Meaning all they see is Asha hysterically screaming while holding a sharp object and sporting a fresh wound. Leaving all the adults to draw the logical conclusion she is self-harming due to The Grimcutty challenge.
What we are left with is injured teens and their parents desperately trying to stop the madness. They implement “detox boxes” where all phones, laptops, etc. are locked up. All while spewing odd phrases like “reclaim your focus game” and “cut your screen time in the meantime,” as justification. The teens rebel and do enough research online to piece together that the parent’s anxiety about The Grimcutty is actually what is causing it to manifest. The more the parents worry, the more real danger they put their kids in.
Explorations into technology and its effects on children and teens certainly isn’t new ground. But if the plot line sounds familiar that’s because it is beat for beat what happened in 2018 with the Momo Challenge. Momo was reported to be a malicious online account that kids were “challenging” each other to contact. If contacted, the account would instruct the user to do various tasks, including self-mutilation and suicide. The account also has a rather unnerving profile picture of a woman with messy hair and bulging eyes.
Reports (that were never confirmed) about teens and preteens falling victim to this game started coming from authorities in Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico. By September, Momo was on the radar of US law enforcement agencies, and parents did what they do best- worry.
There was full-blown panic with schools in the US and UK issuing stern warnings to students about the dangers of Momo. Even Kim Kardashian weighed in, posting to her 129 million Instagram followers to pressure YouTube into taking down the harmful videos. YouTube even had to issue a statement saying these videos didn’t even exist on the platform, because none of it existed. While the aforementioned deaths were real, there was never any real link between them and Momo.
Aside from a user icon, no one could produce screenshots of any of these claims because there were none. That user picture was also found to be a sculpture called “Mother Bird,” made by Keisuke Aisawa of Link Factory, fairly early in. So basically parents showed their kids an upsetting image with a horrific backstory to justify limiting/revoking their kids’ screen time for a threat that was never actually real. The Grimcutty, like Momo, is the result of fear fed by misinformation causing hysteria.
“The Grimcutty” is currently streaming exclusively on Hulu. You can check out the trailer below: