Follow up to the 2004 film of the same name - a US remake of the Japanese film 'Ju-on' (2003) by Takashi Shimizu. In this sequel, the vengeful and terrible curse continues to consume and petrify all in its path as we are shown three seemingly unconnected stories. An American girl discovers her sister is being held in a Japanese hospital and is simultaneously under suspicion of arson/murder in which her boyfriend has died. She immediately goes to be at her sister's side but is intercepted by a journalist who informs her that her sister is being consumed by a dark force. At the same time, an American girl at an international school elsewhere in Tokyo is trying to get in with the school's top girls. She'll do anything to be accepted so when she's told to go into a mysterious burned-out house, she doesn't question it.Jake is living with his dad who has remarried quite soon after his mom's death, so the boy becomes sullen and withdrawn. He's easily drawn to a mysterious, equally withdrawn neighbour.
The Grudge 2
is a spooky installment in Takashi Shimizu's hardworking Ju-on
series of horror pictures. It doesn't carry the disorienting thrill of the very first Japanese Ju-on
features, but it's a lot creepier than anybody could have expected. The story picks up from the end of the first Hollywood version of The Grudge
, and has nothing to do with Ju-on 2
, Shimizu's Japanese sequel. Sarah Michelle Gellar returns (a distinctly supporting role) as an American woman traumatized by her experiences with a haunted house in Tokyo; younger sister Amber Tamblyn flies over to help out. This particular storyline doesn't have much meat on it; the murder house is still there, and people who go inside have a disconcerting habit of dropping dead. Fortunately, two other plots thread into the basic one: a group of American schoolgirls in Tokyo become intrigued by the legend of the house, and some Chicago apartment dwellers are unsettled by domestic anxiety and the weird sounds coming from next door. (This storyline, featuring Jennifer Beals, gives the film its extremely satisfying opening sequence.)
As usual with these movies, sequences come to us in non-chronological order, and it's up to us to piece it together. You can guess where the film is going, but the slow trajectory toward its final sequences is surprisingly involving. The movie was widely panned upon its release, which says more about the presumption of the law of diminishing sequel returns than the film itself--it's a decent little horror flick. --Robert Horton