Review: Films Set In Japan – ‘The Grudge 2’ (2006)

Just reading the blurb on the back of this films dvd gives you an idea of how lazy the storyline is and yet it somehow managed to limp on for a further sequel by way of  ’The Grudge 3‘! On hearing that Karen (Sarah Michelle Gellar) has been hospitalised following her failed attempt to burn the house down at the end of the first movie, her mother sends her other daughter Aubrey to Tokyo to bring her sister, who she hasn’t been talking to, back home. Aubrey then learns her sisters horrifying story and how the curse of the grudge has been unleashed. Very vague and lame indeed as is sadly usually the case with horror movies follow-ups in particular.

Whilst I felt Sarah Michelle Gellar was under-used in the first film (see that review here) she is only in this one as a cameo part (just over five minutes in total) designed to bring some connection to the two films. Or maybe she didn’t really want her name associated with such a production which is why she doesn’t stay alive for long in the movie!

The Grudge 2 focuses on her sister but doesn’t give her too much to do. As the film has three separate stories there just isn’t enough focus on Aubrey’s storyline. Instead we also get a couple of other subplots and with the story constantly flicking between them it is difficult to get attached to any of the characters and to have any or much sympathy with them when they inevitably end up being affected by the curse of the grudge.

Of course its not a complete lame duck and I actually didn’t mind some of the scenes with Aubrey and the journalist Eason as well as the story centring on the three International High School students who go to the grudge house (no lock on the gate or the house but just some tape preventing entry!) but the Chicago apartment building storyline seemed  isolated in the scheme of things and was ultimately more distracting than involving.

There are some chilling moments here and there but if you’ve seen the first one then its nothing original. However, if you haven’t seen the original one then you’re unlikely to be watching this second one anyway! Eason tells Aubrey all about the curse and says “I was hoping you can tell me something I don’t already know but you can’t” which is quite apt given that this film doesn’t really make too much ground on the mystery of the grudge and how it can be stopped.

We learned in the 2004 American original about the Japanese belief that a curse is left behind when someone dies in a powerful grip of rage. It leaves a stain in that exact place  lasting forever which is a little ironic given that this particular horror franchise, having rush-released this sequel on the back of a successful weekend at the box office for the original, did exactly that in the cinema’s showing it!

 

Tokyo Fox Rating 5/10

Click on the following links for the filming locations of each film:

The Grudge (2004)     Ju-on: The Grudge 2 (2006) 

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