The Grudge II
Film: The Grudge II
Director: Takashi Shimizu
Writer: Stephen Susco
Starring: Amber Tamblyn, Edison Chen and Arielle Kebbel
This film follows three storylines that are interconnected. They are also edited where things that happen to one lead into something that happens to another, but that is not necessarily how they happen chronologically. The first thing we see is Jennifer Beals making bacon for her husband, played by Christopher Cousins. He thinks she is cheating on him and he is rude to her. Beals puts the bacon on his plate and then dumps the grease on his head. She then hits him with the frying pan, killing him.
We then shift to Tokyo, Japan. We are at an international high school. We have three young women. Two of them are friends, played by Teresa Palmer and Misako Uno. The third is played by Arielle Kebbel. Kebbel is looking for friends. Palmer and Uno are kind of ‘mean girls’. They decide to play a trick on her by taking her to the abandoned house from the first film. They have Kebbel climb into the closet and then hold the door shut. While she is in there, she comes face to face with the ghost of the grudge curse.
We also have the family we started with who live in Chicago, Illinois. Beals is moving in with Cousins and his daughter, played by Sarah Roemer, and his son, Matthew Knight. Roemer is good with this, but Knight is not so much. He doesn’t seem to really like Beals. This first night, their neighbors bring home someone who is not doing too well. The person is wearing a hoodie and walking very slowly. The two adults act funny as well. It should also be pointed out that Roemer is best friends with Jenna Dewan-Tatum.
Finally we have Joanna Cassidy. She is in poor health and she has called her daughter in to see her, her daughter is played by Amber Tamblyn. She is told about what happened to her sister in Tokyo. Cassidy wants Tamblyn to go there and make sure she brings Sarah Michelle Gellar home. There is something here about Gellar being her favorite also.
From the beginning on, all three stories have to deal with the ghost of Takako Fuji and her son, who is played by Ohga Tanaka and Yuya Ozeki. With each person that the cruse takes, they join as part of it as well.
Kebbel, Uno and Palmer all begin to see things while they are in school. Palmer still plays the mean girl, even though she sees things while she in the shower and the locker room alone. Uno gets taken while she is at a hotel with her boyfriend. This whole situation is frazzling Kebbel to the point where she wants to go home.
The Chicago apartment building begins to feel the curse as well. Knight starts to investigate what is happening, knowing that beyond his wall is something. It is making Beals and Cousins angry and do not trust each other. Roemer doesn’t seem to notice what is going on, but Dewan-Tatum is falling under its spell as well. There is also a point where Knight follows the person that the parents brought home. He sees the person walk by, but he is blocked. He is freaked when he sees two more sets of feet walk by than what came in.
Tamblyn runs into a young reporter, played by Edison Chen. He has been investigating this curse since it happened in the beginning. He needs to speak with Gellar to know more though. Gellar freaks out when she sees her sister, so she is strapped down. Later that night, Fuji comes after her and Gellar gets away. It doesn’t last long until she jumps from helipad to her death, right in front of her sister.
Can any of these people break the curse? Will they be able to figure out how before it is too late? Can they stop it before it becomes too powerful? How are all of these stories connected?
I have to say that this one scared me. I think the first one also did during the original watch through, so it is hard to say which one got me more. What I really like about this film and what scares me are the things we see that the characters cannot or things just out of sight. I think the use reflections and pictures also add to the fear. I do like that this film does a lot like The Ring 2 does, in which it takes the original story, adds on to it and also makes the curse even more powerful. It really makes you wonder if it can be stopped. Which leads to me to my next point, I love that it has such a bleak feel in that no one can stop it. They can try, but they have not found a way to break it. I think the acting is good in this one. The editing of the story is also solid and I like intertwining the three stories, but I did get a little bit confused.
The biggest problem I had is with the continuity and realism. There are people in Tokyo who cannot speak English, yet the woman in a remote, Japanese village can? Also it seems that everyone that is important is speaking English to each other, in Japan, even when it is to two Japanese characters. That does hurt this one, because it wasn’t as believable as the first. Also, the curse in Chicago I feel needs to be explained more. Everyone in Japan has to encounter the curse some how. This one it kind of grows like a mold and affects everyone. I don’t know if they are trying to state that it is doing this because it is becoming more powerful or what. I feel this wasn’t addressed.
With that said, if you liked the first Grudge film, I would give this one a viewing. I feel this one takes what the first did and then expands on it. I would also give this a viewing if you are fan of American remakes of J-Horror. This one is a rare one in that the director of this one also did the original, Japanese versions as well. The acting is good, the story is solid and despite a few errors, is good overall. This one scared me quite a bit, but I think it is the type of scares that got me. This one does reuse some from the first one and it does go for some cheap ones as well. I wasn’t overly bothered by it, but I felt it needed to be pointed out. I would still say that this one is worth a viewing if you are into these types of films.
My Rating: 6 out of 10