Three interwoven stories about a terrible curse. A young woman encounters a malevolent supernatural force while searching for her missing sister in Tokyo; a mean high school prank goes horribly wrong; a woman with a deadly secret moves into a Chicago apartment building.
Following the events of Ju-on: The Beginning of the End, Mai, the older sister of elementary schoolteacher Yui Shono, goes to look for her sister, who disappeared after a year while working... See full summary »
While driving , the pregnant horror-movie actress Kyôko Harase and her fiancé are in a car crash caused by the Toshio's friend. Kyôko loses her baby and her fiancé winds up in a coma. Kyôko was cursed together with a television crew when they shot a show in the haunted house where Kayako was brutally murdered by her husband years ago. While each member of the team dies or disappears, Kyôko is informed that she has a three-and-a-half-month-old fetus in her womb.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In my opinion; this is easily as great - and perhaps even more terrifying - than the first instalment.
By now, most audiences will be fairly familiar with the Japanese series of films known as Ju On: The Grudge; the phenomenally successful saga that began with the straight to video projects Ju On: The Curse, parts 1 and 2 - in which jealousy and adultery in a quaint Japanese suburb leads to an awful murder that marks the house for anyone who subsequently enters it - right the way through to the larger-budgeted Hollywood remake of the film and it's equally glossy sequel. Subsequent films following on from The Curse have taken the initial murder as their starting point and created around it a film of loosely connected horror vignettes, mostly in which a series of hapless characters end up in the film's iconic haunted house and then find themselves marked for death by the two most prominent apparitions of the story.
If you have already seen the American re-make of The Grudge with Sarah Michelle Geller then there's a good chance that this follow up to the Japanese original will come as something of shock. Unlike its US counterpart, this grudge features no real central character and has no real plot development (at least, not in the traditional sense). I personally don't see this as a bad thing, as it allows director Takashi Shimizu to concentrate on crafting a number of scenes of gripping high tension - as the collection of disparate innocents (this time a TV crew shooting a horror film based upon the events of the original film) who unknowingly come into contact with the infamous house and then must come to terms with the unexplainable horror that is happening all around them. However, viewers who look for things like narrative closure, explanations of plot developments and something approaching a hero that they can root for might be sorely disappointed.
As I mentioned above, this version of The Grudge instead strings together a series of inter-woven scenes that establish the significance of the curse whist setting up a number of fantastic, edge-of-your seat moments of haunted house horror. This isn't a gritty gore-fest with annoying, smug, ultra-cynical characters (as seems to be the trend with much contemporary horror - think Wolf Creek, Hostel, Cabin Fever, The Hills Have Eyes remake and 28 Weeks Later) but rather, the kind of horror that should appeal to anyone who has had to walk home late at night through an empty park and felt the presence of someone (or something) following closely behind. Your heart starts racing as you quicken your step and become convinced that you can hear footsteps rapidly approaching from the left of your shoulder! When you finally pick up the courage to turn around and look, you realise your mind has been playing tricks on you, but the thrill was still heart-stopping regardless.
I prefer this kind of horror, which is why I'm such a huge fan of the horror films coming out of Japan, China and North Korea; great works like The Eye trilogy, Wishing Stairs, Abnormal Beauty, Premonition, Infection, Chaos, A Tale of Two Sisters and Takashi Shimizu's own Grudge-follow up Reincarnation. It's slow moving and slow building, almost ambient even; often coming at you from the rear speakers rather than full and on in your face, which for me, really creates a great, eerie atmosphere that works perfectly if you're watching it at 1:30 AM and have to pause for a toilet break and to let the dog out to stretch her legs.
Unlike a lot of his American contemporaries, Takashi Shimizu realises that horror isn't about what you see, but what you don't see, and with this in mind he saves any prolonged glimpses of our ghostly antagonists until right towards the very end. He also manages to create a wonderful feeling of isolation, alienation and hopeless emptiness; not only from the haunted house so central to the story, but even in the brightly-lit suburban streets, schools, office blocks and apartment buildings that our characters inhabit. The film is also shot very simply and traditionally, with none of the hyper-cutting and frantic camera movements of western horror, which again, gives the Grudge a more believable and authentic feeling that only heightens the senses of horror and tension. This is also helped by the wonderful performances of the cast who manage to ably convey the right sense of fraught emotion without descending into screaming histrionics.
For me, The Grudge 2 is easily as great the first instalment; although some viewers may find the more outrageous elements of the closing scenes to be a little too much (I'm guessing the planned third instalment will pick up on and explain some of these ideas, but we'll have to wait and see). This is horror for those who want chills rather than spills, and those who like to invest some serious time in something that is slower, more deliberate and more dramatic than the usual stalk and slash type stuff (not that I don't love that kind of horror as well, but it's nice to have an intelligent alternative). As mentioned previously, there will be some viewers who won't want to invest their time in such a film that has no obvious sense of narrative and no single identifiable character, but at the end of the day, that's their decision. But they're clearly missing out!
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