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Being a huge fan of the original Ju-On movies, as well as the original
American remake, I was looking forward to this one. But my excitement
dwindled right from the opening scene, as The Grudge 2 quickly became a
predictable and mundane sequel. A typical American-ized sequel that
sadly didn't follow the unique plot of Ju-On 2.
After Sarah Michelle Gellar's cameo, the movie focuses on her sister, but gives her nothing to do. What seems like a totally separate storyline inside an apartment building is more distracting than involving. The scares become very routine and there are so many characters here, that the viewer cannot become attached to any of them.
The movie does, however, kick it up in the final twenty minutes or so. And the ending is a lot darker and much more mean spirited than the original, and for that, it has to earn some points for not taking the safe way out.
The Grudge 2 is not a complete loss, but it could have been so much better.
Sequels are a tricky thing. You have to serve the core audience who saw
the first film, while trying to not prove too bewildering to a new
audience that may have not seen the original. Horror films are even
more difficult to spin a sequel off from, as suspense and scares are
often, by nature, dependent on a lack of expectation from the audience.
With The Grudge 2, director Takashi Shimizu and screenwriter Stephen
Susco have attempted to not fall into that trap by approaching the
sequel a little differently, but by the time it's over, unfortunately,
it still proves to be a little too repetitive for its own good.
Unlike 2004's The Grudge, which unfolded in a largely linear fashion, The Grudge 2 shakes things up a bit by splitting the narrative between three different plot lines that all take place at different times. First, there is the continuation, essentially, of the story from the first film, where Karen Davis (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is being kept in a hospital after surviving the ordeal of the first film, which centered around a house in Japan where a woman had been killed by her husband and thus created "The Grudge," a rage that consumes every living being that enters the house. Arriving from America to attempt to retrieve Karen is her sister Aubrey (Amber Tamblyn), who quickly becomes embroiled in the same situation as Karen. Second is a plot thread featuring Allison (Arielle Kebbel), an American girl in high school in Japan who is goaded by two classmates to enter the spooky house from the first film and finds that it lives up to its haunted house reputation. Finally, the third plot string plays out in Chicago, Illinois, where Trish (Jennifer Beals) has moved in with her boyfriend Bill (Christopher Cousins) and his two children, Lacey (Sarah Roehmer) and Jake (Matthew Knight). The same day as she moves in, so does a mysterious neighbor, after which everyone in the apartment complex starts acting weird.
When The Grudge 2 works, the best word to describe it is creepy. The horrific imagery, mostly of a long haired, blue skinned Japanese woman and a young child, is unsettling and when they appear on screen, accompanied by some equally disturbing sound effects, it can't help but send chills up and down your spine. However, the circumstances in which these characters make their appearances have used up the suspense quotient of this franchise. By now the rules are clear, when characters are alone and everything seems normal, these beings are popping up somewhere to scare the bejesus out of whoever is on screen and attempt to exact their revenge. It works sometimes, but the film fails to make any adjustments to the situations involving these beings, and you stop really being surprised by their appearance and begin expecting it. Yes, they are creepy, but the circumstances that surround them are relatively rote. Suspense works well when you can't predict what is going to happen, but in The Grudge 2, after a while, it all seems rather familiar.
The film's fractured narrative, while giving The Grudge 2 some difference from the previous entry, works against the film in many ways also. Because it is constantly switching back and forth between three different subplots, it is difficult to get attached to any of the characters. Of course, as this is a modern horror film, the characters are relatively thin to begin with, but with the constant cutting between stories, it becomes enormously difficult to get a bead on anyone and develop much attachment to them. So, when the characters find themselves in peril, you have a hard time feeling much sympathy for them. The Grudge 2 also has a plot twist, which early on becomes reasonably obvious, so when it plays out at the end, there isn't much surprise in store.
The actors are the usual batch of relative no names, for the most part. The girls in the film, which is what the stories largely center around, do their best to cry, scream and shake hysterically, and they are all reasonably effective, but there is nothing revolutionary being performed. Sarah Michelle Gellar reappears for a relatively small role, so she doesn't make much impact, and the other major actress, Jennifer Beals, is also saddled with what almost amounts to a bit part.
The Grudge 2 isn't a complete bomb, by any means, it is more than disturbing enough in moments to provide some general discomfort that horror films should try to apply. However, other than some chills here and there, The Grudge 2 doesn't offer anything tremendously original or scary, resulting in a largely mixed bag.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Hey! The Grudge 2! What up, man? I have a friend I would like you to
meet. The Grudge 2 meet Johnny's Worst of 2006 list. Johnny's Worst of
2006 list meet The Grudge 2.
What's going on here? I was under the impression that this was supposed to be a sequel to The Grudge rather than a remake. If that's the case then why does it do nothing but rehash the original? This floater doesn't even feel like a movie. It's just a 90-minute soundtrack of the weird contortionist chick making that annoying croaking sound.
A sound on which I'd recommend you not get me started. It was kind of creepy the first time I heard it, but I've heard it about 12,367 times since 2004, so it's pretty much run its course. And it's made even more annoying by the 20 people in the audience who thought it'd be funny to imitate the sound whenever there was a quiet spot in the movie. Sigh.
Folks, YOU'RE NOT FUNNY SO JUST SHUT UP! I promise you, EVERY SINGLE TIME that a character was walking slowly through an empty room (which is approximately 97% of the movie), somebody in the audience would start it up, "Uhhhhkkkkkkuuuuuhhhhhkkkkkk." Yes, I know that's a horrible way to replicate the sound with letters, but you get the gist. So then some dude in the audience would giggle, and not to be outdone, deliver his own rendition. I was very close to just walking through the audience and punching random people.
I told you not to get me started.
There's absolutely nothing about The Grudge 2 that I can recommend. There's not a single original scare or idea in the entire film. There's not one memorable acting performance. Are you a Sarah Michelle Gellar fan? Welp, enjoy her two minutes of screen time and one line of dialogue. Are you an Amber Tamblyn fan? I hope you can deal with the fact that she's given nothing more to do than walk around looking like she's suffering from a pinched nerve. Can you believe the story (if you can call it that) is even worse than The Grudge's?
At least the original was fairly creepy and boasted a few effective jump scenes. I didn't jump once during this lametrosity (yeah, I made the word up, deal with it). That's right. Not a single time. The "scares" are so manufactured and they are so blatantly telegraphed that there is absolutely no shock value once the "gotcha" moment arrives. Watching this movie is like playing a good game of chess - you're always four or five scenes ahead.
There are also some weird scenes thrown in that make no sense whatsoever. One that immediately comes to mind is a scene where a girl drinks a gallon of milk and then begins to regurgitate it back into the jug. Huh? I say HUH?!?! The audience laughed. I shook my head and sighed. There was a lot of that during the movie. Laughing. Sighing. Head shaking. Falling asleep (I did twice).
The movie even makes a 1/5th-hearted attempt at a plot "twist." Wow. It's so bad that I don't think we should even dignify it by labeling it a twist. Did they really think anybody would be surprised at the revelation of who was hiding under the hoodie? Please. It was as shocking as Elton John coming out of the closet.
And of course the ending goes the whole non-closure "look, we might have another sequel" route. As soon as the credits rolled the audience booed. My sentiments exactly. Had the audience paid money for this turd burger then things would have most likely gotten violent, and I would've gladly led the charge.
We learned from The Grudge that there's a Japanese belief that when someone dies in a powerful grip of rage, then a curse is left behind. Much like a Ben Affleck movie, it's a "stain" that forever becomes a part of the place where the death occurred. Well, in The Grudge 2 we learn that when a horror movie covers its budget during its opening weekend then its sequel will be rushed out, and more often than not it will be as bad as this and will leave a stain on any theater where the movie shows.
If you're a total wimp and never saw The Grudge then this might provide a few cheap scares. But I strongly recommend saving your money, otherwise, there's a good chance you'll be the one walking out of the theater with a grudge.
Shoot me if you must. Shun me if necessary. But I actually really liked
this movie. It kept me entertained for 102 minutes and provided some
great scares. I never keep my hopes up for sequels and this movie was
no different. This was atmospheric and despite what some people say, it
did have a plot, although it was all over the place (so it's kind of
hard to explain). The acting was good from all. Takashi Shimizu is a
great director, he knows how to create suspense and keep it for the
duration of the movie. He also knows how to keep an "all over the place
plot" very easy to follow. I'm also glad he introduced some new
elements into the plot which made it much more interesting. (Can't wait
until the final installment)! And finally, the curse (Kayako and
Toshio) is still as scary and creepy as ever. There were many scenes
that had me very creeped out.
I was very excited about seeing this, as I love the original series, I
didn't think the first remake was that bad, Takashi Shimizu directed
it, and I have gradually become a fan of Amber Tamblyn. Unfortunately,
it was nowhere near as good as I had hoped. Of course, given the genre,
and the fact that it was a sequel to a remake and not really a remake
of a sequel, it was exactly what I expected. (Yes, I have high hopes,
but realistic expectations.)
I prepped myself for this by watching the unrated DVD of the previous film just a few short hours before heading to the theater, which, in hindsight, was probably a mistake. While the first film relied heavily on cheap scares and "gotcha" moments, the second toned it down a little and aimed at being a little more suspenseful. The end result is a chaotic mess with a convoluted storyline that weaves through time without ever indicating it (slightly confusing at the start, as there is a two year difference between the events we see throughout the film, but I will refrain from spoilers).
The attempts at building suspense fall flat, as every significant event is telegraphed and, therefore, incredibly predictable even when you're not trying to think ahead of the film's pace. The kills themselves are far from satisfying, as they are simply more of the same that we saw the first time around. I'm sorry, but even if you have never watched the Asian originals, the creepy girl with the hair in her face and the hitch in her step fails to frighten after two Ring films, Dark Water, Pulse, and, of course, the previous Grudge film.
I had seriously hoped that Takashi Shimizu would bring some of his style to the film. Alas, we are the real victims here, not those portrayed on the screen, as we have to pay hard-earned dollars to witness (yet another) American Cinema (read: Hollywood) bastardization of a quality film. When will they learn that the true appeal of Asian cinema lies not with the creepy girl and the cheap scare, but with the overall feel of the film? The "boo!" moments may work for the casual viewer (and the target PG-13 audience), but it is the oppressive aura that haunts the viewer and keeps them awake at night.
In Pasadena, Mrs. Davis (Joanna Cassidy) sends her daughter Aubrey
Davis (Amber Tamblyn) to Tokyo to bring her sister Karen Davis (Sarah
Michelle Gellar), who is interned in a hospital after surviving a fire,
back to the USA. After their meeting, Karen dies and Aubrey decides to
investigate what happened to her and gets herself cursed in the same
situation, being chased by the ghost of the house. Meanwhile in Tokyo,
the three high school mates Allison (Arielle Kebbel), Vanessa (Teresa
Palmer) and Miyuki (Misako Uno) visit the famous haunted house and are
also cursed and chased by the ghost. In Chicago, Trish (Jennifer Beals)
moves to the apartment of her boyfriend Bill (Christopher Cousins), who
lives with his children, the teenager Lacey (Sarah Roehmer) and boy
Jake (Matthew Knight). On the next door, weird things happen with their
"The Grudge 2" has scary sound and visual effects, with the creepy woman and boy, and I have startled a couple of times while watching this movie. However, the complex screenplay with three subplots is totally confused, making the entwined story a complete mess. There are too much characters and situations, and in a certain moment I was completely lost with the disconnected and fragmented narrative. In the end, I was completely disappointed with this confused, but also spooky film. My vote is four.
Title (Brazil): "O Grito 2" ("The Scream 2")
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Okay, first the good thing : If you saw the trailer then you know about
100% of the "scary/jumpy" moment of the movie. And yes, it's a good
thing because you should just stick to the trailer and not go see the
I now understand why Sarah Michelle Gellar did not stay alive in that movie for very long, she did not want to associate her name with this production. I wish her the best for "The Return".
You have to follow 3 different story in this movie, and they are all disconnected (in time and meaning) until the very end. And even then it's a very bad climax. And god forbid even open the door to another sequel.
Yes, in this movie, "The Rage and Fury" is on the move. No need to visit the house anymore, just be close to someone who when inside and you're done. It's not a curse anymore it's kinda like a virus. Go inside the house, get scared, return back to USA and spread the joy in your apartment building.
It's not that difficult to follow, but you just don't really care about anyone. The plot line is slim to none and you have many scene in this movie where you just laugh and shake your head... Milk anyone?? I saw Ju-On 2 at the Fantasia movie festival last summer, different story completely but much better than this dud. It's not a remake, but this time, maybe they should have simply done a remake....
If you must see it, wait for the DVD.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Grudge 2...Let's see. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a Japanese Horror
Film or Horror or Grudge basher. I loved the first one and the Original
Ju-On. I feel that much more justice could have been done for this one.
Aubrey only existed to fill in what needed to be 'discovered' in the
ending, (which if you've already seen Ju-On before this, you already
know the whole movie) all it was really was a complete remake of Ju-On,
just more closely followed than The Grudge. Though everyone may have
thought that it's coming to America was a bit interesting, it was
expected as the house burning in the end of The Grudge left the 2nd
hungering for a new plot.
Save your $6.50 and wait for this to come out on DVD, rent it, watch it, then decide if you want to buy it. This movie is good for a fall asleep at 2 in the morning film. But overall, I'd say a 4 out of 10. Sorry Grudge fans, it's just...They just failed at this one.
I did enjoy the movie for the Ghost attack scenes as well as the story in general. I do think the movie had some very poor acting in it. Now the bad acting was obviously not present during the scare scenes but every time any of the characters spoke a line I cringed, especially in the first scene with the 3 school girls. I also found that Amber Tamblyn gave a bad performance. The only performance that didn't suck was Sarah Michelle Gellar. I think the bad performances can be attributed to the language barrier between the Japanese director and the English speaking cast. And here is what bothered me the most about the movie... How is it that a 70 year old Japanese exorcist who has lived in a very rural area of Japan her whole life and has gone quite crazy learn to speak perfect English?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I don't understand why this movie gets very poor reviews. My only
criticism towards this film is the fact that it just isn't all that
scary and shouldn't be in the Horror genre.
I understood it. When people say they didn't understand I have to question their intelligence. The whole movie is out of order.
There was 3 story arcs. One Arc was very boring. The one with the family in America. (Jennifer Beals' storyline). This story starts off with Jennifer Beals' character killing her husband with a fry pan. Then it jumps back before that event happened. Her moving in with him and his children (son and daughter). The little boy starts seeing a odd person whom is now living with the Flemings in the apartment down the hall acting very suspicious and he continues to be curious of that person, after many odd occurrences.
For me I was like "what is the purpose of this storyline?" As you never saw anyone of this family go into the forsaken 'grudge' house. Of course, there is a point to them which you find out in the last maybe, 5 minutes of the film. Even though this part of the story arc ties in nicely the movie would have been better without it.
Another story arc focuses on a loser nerd, Allison (Arielle Kebbel) who attends an International school in Japan. Two 'cool' girls trick her into going in The Grudge house (2 years after Karen (Sarah Michelle Gellar) set the house on fire)they then trick her into going in the cupboard and close the door. She sees a diary with a strange eye at the front. Then Kayako appears, Allison freaks and runs away. After this she starts seeing odd things and begins seeing the school therapist.
The Last story arc is Aubrey's (The stunning Amber Tamblyn) which is set a few days after the event (Karen setting the house on fire) occurred. She is sent by her mother to bring Karen back to America. In Japan, she sees her sister (Karen) who clearly is now insane, in the hospital. There she meets a very handsome Asian Eason (Edison Chen) who is a reporter and whom also has the grudge curse. On walking out of the hospital Karen falls from the hospital roof and obviously dies. Aubrey is determined to find out what caused her sisters death and Eason helps her. Eason goes back into the house to find out more 'clues'. Aubrey is dragged in there by one of the evil spirits. Towards the end of the film Aubrey goes to see Kayakos mother to see if this will help her, the mother tells her everyone is making the curse worse and that it wont be stopped. Aubrey grabs her hand for help, and she then experiences a flashback. Kayako's mother then realizes that Aubrey has brought Kayako with her and as Aubrey stands dumbfounded, Kayako kills her mother.
Throughout the movie people start to go one by one. The two mean school girls, the school therapist, Eason, the parents in America & their daughter and eventually Allison and Aubrey.
The story all comes together within the last 10 minutes. It shows Aubrey going into the house. She sees Karen's vision and goes upstairs. The diary from when Allison was in the cupboard flips open revealing the drawn eye becoming real and drags Aubrey into the vision. Takeo, the husband who originally killed Kayako kills Aubrey the same way he killed Kayako and she dies of Asphyxia.
It then cuts back to when Allison was locked in the cupboard at the beginning of the film revealing that 'Kayako' was really 'Aubrey'. The little boy, Jake in America runs out of the apartment after discovering his family's deaths. He finds the 'odd' person from the Flemmings apartment in the hallway. This person is finally revealed to be schoolgirl Allison. Allison is taken by Kayako at the end.
Sure the whole movie doesn't make any sense until the 10 remaining minutes, but it makes you think. This movie wasn't really a horror film to me. I did not find the little boy who kills people with his wails scary at all. I think they overused him a bit in this film. It was great though to see a "horror movie" actually have some character building in it though. I really actually cared for Aubrey, Allison and Eason.
In closing, the movie didn't really make any actual ground with the whole 'grudge mystery' and how it can be stopped. It also would have been a lot better if the whole movie focused more on Aubrey's storyline and if Sarah Michelle Gellar had more time on screen in the movie.
If your intelligent give it a go. I thought it was alright.
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