Movie Number- 115
October Horrorthon Number- 3
Title- The Grudge 2 (2006)
Running Time- 116 minutes
Director- Takashi Shimizu
Writer- Stephen Susco (screenplay)
Starring- Amber Tamblyn, Arielle Kebbel, Edison Chen, Sarah Roemer
Two years after the initial curse of The Grudge was set in motion, Karen’s sister Aubrey (Amber Tamblyn) is sent to Japan by their mother in order to bring Karen back home. Karen is being held in a psychiatric ward because it is believed she killed her boyfriend two years ago by setting the house on fire. Once Aubrey arrives in Tokyo, she is exposed to the curse. A side plot of another American student in Tokyo develops: Allison is trying to fit in with the “cool kids”, so she follows them into the haunted house, and is exposed to the curse. Because Karen set the house on fire, the curse has grown stronger for some reason, and it is now out of the house, and following Allison wherever she goes.
There are about as many problems with The Grudge 2 as there were with The Grudge. First and foremost, the entire plot is absurd: why would Karen’s mother wait two full years to send her other daughter to Japan? Because the last time they talked they got into a fight is not a good enough reason. When Karen’s mother tells Aubrey about what happened, why does she act like it was a recent development when, again, it happened two years prior? Also, the fact that the only thing that ties the two plots together is the cursed house is idiotic. It feels like the writer just threw in the Aubrey/Karen subplot to tie it to the first movie. The entire plot is inconsequential and pointless because it never goes anywhere; it felt stagnant throughout, and much too similar to the first movie.
Something The Grudge 2 does much better than its predecessor, though, is the feeling of terror. The scares were subtle, and the director wasn’t afraid to put in some small moments that not everyone would notice on the first viewing of the film. This was reminiscent of Ju On: The Grudge, and much appreciated after the first film’s cheap scares. During dark scenes, I felt my heart pounding, which is the feeling of overall terror completely lacking from the first movie.
The Grudge 2 does one thing differently from the original: the scares. Other than this, though, it is a very similar plot with similar problems (inconsequential story, slow pacing). Sarah Michelle Gellar is dubbed as one of the stars, but much like Cabin Fever 2 putting Ryder Strong on the cover, this is false advertising as she is in the movie for nothing more than an extended cameo. There is no denying, as a horror movie, this is a step up from the first film, but everything else about it is just as disappointing. Needless to say, I am not looking forward to the DTV (Direct to Video) Grudge 3 that we are watching tonight.
Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn’t until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.