Director: Takashi Shimizhu
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Edison Chen
Released By: GV
Day: 2 November 2006
sequel to The Grudge. In Tokyo, a young woman (Tamblyn) is
exposed to the same mysterious curse that afflicted her sister
(Gellar). The supernatural force brings together a group of
previously unrelated people who attempt to unlock its secret
to save their lives.
Having directed both the
first two original Japanese-language Grudges as well as 2004's
English-language remake, it's clear that Takashi Shimizu is
afflicted with a form of creative stance, unable to progress
past his signature series and unwilling to alter its formula
in any appreciable way. In this latest installment, Aubrey
Davis (Amber Tamblyn) is sent to Tokyo by her callous mom
in order to bring home sister Karen (Sarah Michelle Gellar),
a plan that goes awry when Karen—still stalked by otherworldly
fiends who like to reside in her hair. Thus begins Aubrey's
listless investigation into the screaming (and, in the case
of the little poltergeist boy, meowing) phantoms, an endeavor
which amounts to little more than rehashing the ghostly legend's
lore with a journalist sidekick (Edison Chen).
As similiar as in it's predesessors, three
pseudo-consecutive storylines are thrown together, told simultaneously.
The movie begins more or less where The Grudge left off, with
Sarah Michelle Gellar reprising her role as Karen Davis, the
young woman whose life took a wrong turn when she took a job
in Tokyo's most haunted house. Now she's in a locked hospital
ward—suspected of arson and murder—and her younger
sister Aubrey (Tamblyn) has traveled to Japan to see what
she can do to help her. Eason, the journalist uncovered a
key clue as to why the spectral Kayako (Takako Saeki) and
her young son, Toshio (Yuya Ozeki), are so intent on haunting
people to death. Meanwhile, three schoolgirls—Vanessa
(Teresa Palmer), Miyuki (Misako Uno), and the hapless Allison
(Arielle Kebbel)—make a visit to the house, despite
the legend of what befalls anyone who enters. And, inexplicably
at first, the action moves to Chicago, where couple Bill (Christopher
Cousins) and Trish (Jennifer Beals) begin behaving strangely,
while Bill's young son Jake (Matthew Knight) becomes suspicious
of bumps he hears in the night.
The narrative strategy that worked well two
years ago with American audiences that become trite, stale,
repetitive, and ineffective just two years later. Shimizu
and Susco had little in the way of story to begin with and
they have even less here, with the exception of newly revealed
backstory for Kayako and her mother that cribs heavily from
the Ring films. Sure, The Grudge 2 has a few jump scares,
but even there, it becomes quickly apparent that Kayako and
Toshio have lost their ability to generate fear in audiences.
Laughter, on the other hand, is far more likely. Plus, The
Grudge 2 is just one more genre entry that depends on the
stupidity, naïveté, and/or curiosity of the characters
to move their respective stories, even after they’ve
been warned about the house or its supernatural occupants.
Tedious but occasionally scary sequel which
feels old and uncreative. Takashi played it way too safe this
time and it ended up being a complete mess. Even with heartfelt
directing and its creepy atmosphere, The Grudge 2 offers nothing
new to the franchise, but regardless, the teen audience might
still enjoy this to some extent.
"There can be no end to what has started,"
gasps one old lady ahead of her imminent death. And she might
well be right. Shimizu seems just about to start an aparent
sequel in Japan....
Even though it has it moments, after countless reproductions
of repetition, its a shame that the scare formular of japan
horror are long gone.