The Grudge 2 is a non-linear quasi-anthology horror film in which the three separate stories intertwine in some way by the film’s climax. Now, this may sound like a cool idea, but believe me, it *really* isn’t. The Grudge 2 is a sub-par sequel to a mediocre horror remake, adding little new material to the story other than a brief, tacked-on, convuluted origin.
The Grudge 2 consists of three seperated but not completely isolated stories, each featuring a cast of characters and their personal encounters with Kayako, the croaking spirit from that haunted house in Tokyo.
One story follows the sister of Karen, Sarah Michelle Geller’s character from the first film. She travels to Tokyo to bring her sister back home, but after meeting a paranormal investigator, gets sucked into the horror of the house. She then goes on a search to uncover the truth behind Kayako’s rage and how her spirit could be so powerful.
Another story, the worst of the lot, follows 3 teenage girls who wander into the house on a dare. As soon as they leave the house, Kayako’s angry ghost begins to pick them off one at a time.
The third story takes place in California, in an apartment complex. A strange, mentally-distrought girl shrouded in a hoody moves in down the hall. No sooner does she arrive, strange things begin to happen to all the tenants in the building. People start going crazy and becoming violent, and only a young elementary school boy seems to be aware that something is amiss.
The first story is potentially the most interesting, as it deals directly with the fall-out of the previous film. Never-the-less, it’s hampered by a lame Scooby-Doo mystery plot which I guarantee won’t satisfy most. The revelation of Kayako’s ghastly history needlessly overcomplicates the reasoning behind her vengeful spirit. Because, apparently, having herself and her entire family brutally murdered just wasn’t reason-enough for her to be so pissed.
The second story involving the imbecilic International High School girls is the most painful portion of the film. It’s taken directly from a subplot of the original “Ju-On” film which was left out of the US remake. Honestly, I wish they had just left it out all-together, as I never liked it, even in Japanese. Through-out the bulk of the movie, this story will seem the most pointless, but I assure you, it does have a meaning to it, which you will learn at the very end. Also, what really makes it so hard to watch is that one of the girls, “Miyuki”, most obviously does not speak fluent English. She delivers her lines as if she memorized them by syllable and has no real clue what she’s actually saying. Mercifully, she dies first.
The final story takes a while to get going and, quite honestly, only exists to set up the enevitable sequel. It’s the least “scary” of the three, not really hitting any action until the climax.
As with the previous film, the Grudge 2 is non-linear. The three stories are told simulataneously, playing leap frog with one-another. It’s a good approach and one of the few things I enjoyed about the last film. It helps build tension, particularly during the climax, when you learn how each story is connected. Still, the editing technique may be cool, but the content they had to work with was quite awful. The scares rely mostly on “jump” effects (loud noises, false alarms, etc) rather than anything truly disturbing. The Kayako spectre and the ghosts of her family are as gruesome as ever, but I’m sorry to say, the whole “evil dead chick with long black hair” trend in Japanese horror is just starting to get on my nerves.
The Grudge 2 wasn’t quite as bad as the Ring 2, but that’s only by a slight margin. I really can’t recommend this to anyone.