Ju-On: The Grudge II
ju-on: the grudge | ju-on: the grudge ii | ju-on: the grudge 2 | ju-on | the grudge | takashi shimizu | noriko sakai | chiharu niiyama | kei horie | drama | japan | ghost | ghosts | haunted | haunted house | curse | takako fuji | yuya ozeki | sequel
Film: Ju-On: The Grudge II
Director: Takashi Shimizu
Writer: Takashi Shimizu
Starring: Noriko Sakai, Chiharu Niiyama and Kei Horie
This film starts with a couple in a car. The man is driving and he is played by Ayumu Saitô and his fiancé is played by Noriko Sakai. She is a famous actress known as the Horror Queen. She is also currently pregnant. There is something wrong with their radio and Sakai finally turns it off. They then hit something and Saitô checks it out. It is a black cat. Sakai sees that there is little feet walking toward it and sees a boy. He is all white and has dark circles around his eyes. He is played by Yuya Ozeki. He is the same boy from the previous film. Saitô gets back into the car and they continue down the road. Sakai then notices Ozeki is sitting on the floor beneath Saitô and holding on to the steering wheel. They end up crashing.
They wake up in the hospital where Sakai’s mother, played by Kaoru Mizuki, waiting to see if her daughter will be okay. They walk down the hall where they meet with Saitô’s sister, played by Shinobu Yûki. Saitô hasn’t woken up yet and is in ICU.
The film then tells the story of Sakai and how she got cursed. We see her on set when an extra screams entering a room. This is a film she is working on and the extra is played by Yui Ichikawa. After they cut, the girl still stares at Sakai with wide eyes until she passes out.
Sakai goes home to her mother and they have dinner. That night, Mizuki passes away and we keep seeing Ozeki in different places and even under the table touching her.
The film then shifts to the next story. Chiharu Niiyama is part of a television show that will interview Sakai inside of a haunted house. The house turns out to be the house from the previous film where the murder of a wife and son by their father happened. We also meet a make-up artist who is friends with Niiyama who also loves horror; she is played by Emi Yamamoto. The director also is there, he is played by Shingo Katsurayama.
Niiyama goes home and when she enters she sees someone in the other room. She thinks her boyfriend is home, but she notices his shoes aren’t there and it goes away when she turns on the light. The first night we met her she heard something bouncing off the wall and it is at 12:27 A.M and somehow her drink spilled on to her journal. On this night, her boyfriend shows up and he is played by Kei Horie. Horie is mocking Niiyama, but then he hears the bouncing on the wall as well. What makes it worse, her apartment is on the corner so there is nothing on the other side.
It then comes full circle on the next night and everything we’ve seen and heard makes sense.
The film then follows Yamamoto and a weird stain on the floor. The curse follows her back to the studio. We also get to see Katsurayama as he looks into this curse as his crew goes missing. Ichikawa also has a dream that she doesn’t know what is real or what is in her mind.
Can this curse be figured out before it is too late? Takako Fuji is back as Kayako, the woman who appeared to everyone in the previous film. What does she want? Is there anything that can stop her?
Now this is a first time watch for me. I have seen all of American versions of this series. I want to lead off here stating I love that this focuses on a television show that is checking out a haunted house. They even have a scream queen that is going there to check it out so they can draw more viewers. In the beginning I was wondering how everything was connected and then when I saw they went to the house to film this show, I was hooked. This one is interesting that for the most part, it feels like a few shorts that are connected with a story like an anthology film. I liked that idea. The problem I had though was the ending. I didn’t mind the route they went, but it just seemed a little bit too implausible and Sakai isn’t far enough along for it to make sense. I also was confused with Ichikawa and her haunting.
I thought the acting was good for this one. It is hard for me to gauge to an extent, since I don’t completely understand their culture. I could see the fear on their faces and I thought their reactions were believable. I thought Sakai was good looking and thought she comes off as a scream queen, but doesn’t really want to be. I really liked Niiyama in her role and how it played out. Yamamoto I was also a big fan of as well. I also need to commend Fuji and Ozeki for reprising their roles, as they both play them well and creep me out.
The effects in this film looked good. This one went bigger with them and I thought they looked real to me. I’m assuming some of them could be done practically while others had to be done with CGI. Both seemed seamless and didn’t take me out of it. The editing of this is also something that is very difficult to do. They don’t give the story chronology so the editing is more difficult. I thought they did a solid job here in giving everything we need. I was impressed. I also really liked the score of the film. When they need to ramp up the tension and fear, they do a great job there.
Now with that said, I thought this is a solid sequel to the previous film. I liked the concept as to how these people get mixed up with the curse and how it affects their lives. There were some issues that I had with it at the ending, because I am confused as to why it played out that way. I thought the acting was good, especially from Sakai, Fuji and Ozeki. The effects of the film were good. The editing is intricate, but well done. The score is also creepy and helps to build tension. Now I will warn you that this film is from Japan, so I watched it with subtitles on. If that is not an issue, I would recommend seeing it, especially if you like ghost/curse films.
My Rating: 7 out of 10