*** out of ****
Remember two years ago when The Grudge was first released? When horror movies and remakes and sequels were new and fresh? Now fast forward two years. This year most of the movies released are sequels, remakes and horror films; The Grudge 2 being all three. We ask ourselves when will they end? However, The Grudge 2 brings something new to the table which we haven’t seen for quite sometime, a fresh idea. And it is back with blind fury.
First, let’s recap, in the first Grudge, Karen Davis (Sarah Michelle Gellar), is a nurse who takes care of an elderly woman, Emma (Grace Zabriskie) who is in a catatonic state. She later finds out that the woman’s house bares a curse, and that she is now haunted by it, with everyone around her dyeing. Karen burns down the house yet the curse doesn’t stop. Remember now?
In The Grudge 2 the curse continues in three different story lines. The first story begins right off where the last one ended. Aubrey Davis (Amber Tamblyn) finds out from her ill mother (Joanna Cassidy) the news that her sister, last Grudge’s heroin, Karen Davis, is in the hospital. She is told to go to Japan to bring her back home.
When Aubrey arrives at the hospital she sees Karen being treated as a mental patient. Karen only has enough time to tell Aubrey, “Do not go into the House!” before she dies from the curse. But, does Aubrey listen? No.
We then cut to story number two, involving three school girls (Sarah Roemer, Teresa Palmer, and Misako Uno) who go into the House for fun but instead end up with the curse. However, like Aubrey they also need to find a way to stop it.
The third story involves the family of one of the school girl’s neighbors who end up with the curse because it follows and surrounds her. And like the other two stories they need to find how to stop the curse before it is too late.
In The Grudge 2 the curse can strike anywhere and at any time since it is no longer contained in the partially burnt down house. Back and scary as ever are the ghost boy who has the cat’s meow (Yuya Ozeki) and his ghost mother Kayako (Takako Fuji), with the long stringy black hair who makes her presence known with the creepy gargle sounds. All of the characters in each story must defeat and end the curse; even though they never really connect, they do help each other in the end. The Grudge 2 ends with an unexpected outcome that is frightening.
The Grudge 2 by far surpasses the first Grudge and did what The Ring 2 could not, still scare you. It is less as a sequel, but more of a beginning, getting to the roots of The Grudge and how it all started. The Grudge 2 is more satisfying then the first because all of the loose ends are tied up. For the average teenage horror fan which the Grudge is geared to, this one takes you hand-in-hand explaining what is happening, while diminishing some of the atmosphere and mystery which helped make the first one a hit. Otherwise you shouldn’t be disappointed.
Amber Tamblyn a horror alumni (The Ring) gives a great performance and proves that she has moved on from her hit TV show Joan of Arcadia and is ready for mainstream film. Sarah Michelle Gellar’s short appearance is well acted along with the rest of the cast.
The Grudge 2 is a scary film that will make you bite your nails, jump and scream. Unlike the first movie this one doesn’t leave much room for a third installment so maybe Kayako will take my advice, forgive and forget.