Man, I feel entirely unmotivated today. I mean, I honestly don’t feel like doing anything productive. Of course, I did just wake up from an hour nap so it might be residual nap in me that is making me lethargic. Some food should help with that, and today’s movie. So, realizing the success they had with their remake of Ju-On: The Grudge, Sony decided to do a sequel. However, in typical Hollywood fashion, instead of remaking the second/fourth movie in the series, they decided to make their own sequel based on the events of the remake. That doesn’t always work out but let’s see if today’s movie, The Grudge 2, bucks the trend.
The plot: A woman is cooking breakfast for her husband, who is angrily yelling at her and accusing her of having an affair, so she proceeds to pour hot grease on top of his head before bludgeoning him with the frying pan, killing him, and she sits down and proceeds to eat. Three high school girls (Allison, Miyuki, and Vanessa) go to the Saeki house, with Vanessa and Miyuki planning on using the stories or the house being haunted to haze Allison. The two girls trick Allison into going into the closet where Toshio was hidden and shut her in, but when the door won’t open, Allison sees Toshio and what appears to be Kayako in the closet. The door finally opens and the three girls run from the house. Two years earlier, Karen’s mother received news of what happened to Karen (the survivor from the previous film) and asks her other daughter Aubrey to go to Japan and bring her home. When Aubrey gets to Japan, she has some initial difficulty getting the nurses to understand her but Eason, a local journalist, helps her out by translating. When Aubrey gets to Karen’s room, Karen is glad to see her then begs Aubrey to get her out of there as she is the only one that can stop her (Kayako). The doctors come in to strap Karen down to the bed while a guard ushers Aubrey out of the room. Flash forward to Chicago, Bill and his new wife Trish (the couple from the opening scene) are arriving at their apartment complex and speak with their neighbors, the Flemmings, before heading up to their apartment. That night, Bill’s son Jake sees the Flemmings bringing a strange, hooded figure home with them. Back in Japan, Aubrey, still shooken up by what happened with her sister, finds out that Eason is a journalist looking for a story and angrily walks away from him. Meanwhile, Karen manages to free herself from her restraints and escapes her room, with Kayako chasing after her. Karen eventually winds up on the roof, where Kayako grabs her and throws her from the roof, her body landing right in front of Aubrey and Eason. Back to the three school girls, Allison, Miyuki, and Vanessa find themselves being haunted by Toshio and Kayako. While Miyuki is on a date with her boyfriend at a love hotel, she is in bed waiting for her boyfriend to get out of the shower when she feels something in the bed with her and as she backs against the mirrored headboard, Kayako appears and drags her into the mirror. Back to Aubrey, who calls her mom but, overcome with emotion, is unable to tell her what happened and simply hangs up before breaking down in tears. Meanwhile, Eason is reviewing footage he shot of Det. Nakagawa when he notices Kayako’s face appearing in the video. The next day, Eason goes to see Aubrey and tells her the story behind the Saeki house, and the curse involved with it, then makes plans to go back to the house and Aubrey says she will join him. Back in Chicago, Jake is woken up by some strange sounds coming from next door, and sees the hooded figure leaving the apartment so he decides to follow. He finds the figure getting newspapers out of the recycling bins and as he hides to avoid being seen, he sees the hooded figures legs as he walks by, followed by the legs of two girls school uniforms, but when he looks out from his hiding place, he only sees the figure walking down the hall. The next day, Jake starts to tell his sister Lacey about what he heard and saw last night then on the way to school, he notices that the neighbor’s windows are covered by newspapers. Meanwhile, Trish is on the phone with a friend when Bill walks in, suspicious of who she is on the phone with. Back to Aubrey and Eason, Eason goes into the house while Aubrey waits outside but when she sees Kayako in the window she starts to go inside. Aubrey hears her sisters voice, warning her not to enter the house, and pauses but a ghostly hand grabs her and forces her into the house. Meanwhile, Eason has found Kayako’s diary and then tells Aubrey that they need to leave. Back to Allison and Vanessa, who are visiting the school principal who tells them that Miyuki is missing. After Allison runs from the room, with the principal chasing after her, Vanessa is haunted by Toshio and she receives a cal from Miyuki, only to hear a cat’s meow. Vanessa runs from the school and uses a public phone to call Miyuki but she hears Kayako’s death rattle and sees Toshio holding onto her legs just as Kayako appears and proceeds to wrap Vanessa up in her hair. Back to Aubrey and Eason, where Eason goes through Kayako’s journal and learns that Kayako’s mother was an itako (an exorcist), who used to cure people of evil spirits by drawing the spirits from their body and feeding them to Kayako. They make plans to visit her in the morning but as Eason begins developing some pictures of the house, Kayako appears in one of the pictures and kills him. The next morning, Aubrey discovers Eason’s body, only for it to transform into Kayako and she runs from the darkroom. Back in Chicago, Lacey notices her friend acting strange before she gets a call from Jake. She finds Jake hiding in his closet due to Bill and Trish fighting. Later that night, Jake hears the pounding from next door and sneaks next door, where he sees the hooded figure savagely cutting it’s hair and every piece of glass is covered with newspaper but he notices eyes appearing in the gaps. The next morning, Bill wakes up and sets into motion the events at the beginning of the movie. Back to Allison, who goes to see the principal again and tells her that she wants to go home. The principal tells Allison that she had been to the house and didn’t see anything. Allison tells the principal that the spirits got Miyuki and Vanessa and it is after her. The principal tells her that Vanessa and Miyuki are right there and Allison sees their ghosts, as well as the principal becoming a ghost, and runs from the office. Back to Aubrey, who takes a train the the village to see Kayako’s mother and asks her to remove the curse, but Kayako’s mother informs Aubrey that the curse can not be stopped. She then realizes that Kayako has followed Aubrey and Kayako proceeds to kill her mother in front of Aubrey. Jake and Lacey return home from school to find the power out in their apartment and the place is trashed. Aubrey decides to go to the house and confront the spirits to see what they want and how to stop them. She sees an image of Karen looking for her boyfriend and goes to follow. Back in Chicago, Jake is looking around the house and discovers the body of his father. He goes looking for Lacey and discovers her drowned in the bathtub. He then sees Trish appear in the bathtub before Toshio grabs her and forces her underwater. He leaves the apartment, where he discovers the hooded figure cowering in the hallway. Back to Aubrey, who comes across the ghost of Takeo and is attacked and killed in the same manner as Kayako was. Years later, Aubrey’s spirit would be the ghost that Allison sees in the closet. Back in Chicago, Jake confronts the hooded stranger, who turns out to be Allison and tells Jake that the curse has followed her to Chicago. Suddenly, Jake sees a pair of eyes inside the hoodie and Allison suddenly vanishes. As Jake picks up the hoodie, Kayako suddenly emerges from it and lunges towards him.
The Grudge 2 was pretty much panned by the critics, only managing a 10% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The common criticism among the critics was focused on the movie’s plot, with some saying it lacked a coherent plot while others said it was too confusing. The studio, sensing an opportunity, decided to push the release date forward one week, having the film open on Friday, October 13th, 2006. The film did lower than expected in it’s opening week but still earned the #1 spot for it’s opening weekend, but did not fare well in following weeks as the movie would only make just over $70 million worldwide, over $100 million less than it’s predecessor, but still enough to make the studio decide to do a third movie.
Meh. That’s my honest opinion on this one. The acting was honestly pretty boring and the only person you could even remotely connect with was Jake (Matthew Knight) but that was mainly because he was just a kid. If the story was more linear, it would have been a lot better but with it being separated randomly like it was, it just made it seem weak. I think the main reason for this is because you start watching one segment and just when it starts getting interesting, it jumps to a new segment, so you are unable to forge any real involvement with any of the characters. The movie did succeed in continuing the creepy atmosphere that the first movie brought but it seemed like there were less real scares and even the suspense in the movie kind of died off at times. If you want to watch the trilogy then go right ahead, but there are better movies to watch.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5