The Grudge 2 (2006)

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Review #275 of 365
Film: The Grudge 2 (2006) [PG-13] 94 minutes
WIP™ Scale: $8.00
Where Viewed: United Artists Denver Pavilions Stadium 15, Denver, CO
When 1st Seen: 13 October 2006
Time: 12:05 a.m.
Film's Official Website

Directed by: Takashi Shimizu (The Grudge)
Written by: Stephen Susco (The Grudge) based on Takashi Shimizu's Ju-On: the Grudge

Featured Cast (Where You Might Remember Him/Her From):
Sarah Michelle Gellar (The Grudge) • Amber Tamblyn (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) • Edison Chen (Gau ngao gau) • Arielle Kebbel (John Tucker Must Die) • Jennifer Beals (Flashdance) • Teresa Palmer (Wolf Creek) • Misako Uno (debut) • Matthew Knight (The Greatest Game Ever Played) • Joanna Cassidy (Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector) • Christopher Cousins ("American Dreams")

Soundtrack: order the CD soundtrack below

Click for 'Review Lite' [a 150-word or less review of this film]
First off, I'm guessing you have to have seen The Grudge to understand The Grudge 2? Or maybe I'm hoping that's the case for the sake of The Grudge 2 because I didn't quite get The Grudge 2. Second, if you've seen, Scary Movie 4, which I unfortunately did, then you are not going to find The Grudge 2 the least bit scary. Instead, all you'll picture is the little kid doing crazy stuff from Scary Movie 4 that mocks The Grudge. Seriously, I didn't find this supposedly incredibly scary movie scary in the least. I kept wondering what the Scary Movie people would have pop out instead of the scary ghost. Third, it's also entirely possible that this story just didn't translate from the Japanese idea very well.

"… definitely not very scary…"

Here's the plot out line as best as I could make of it.
Ahead in the future, Trish (Jennifer Beals) has just married and moved in with Bill (Christopher Cousins) and for some reason he's not too happy with the bacon she made for him. So, she flips out on him in a surprising way that I won't ruin because it's actually the best part in the movie. Unfortunately, it happens 20 seconds into the movie.

Back in the past, Karen Davis (Sarah Michelle Gellar back for a cameo) has gone into some house where a husband brutally murdered his wife and son many years ago creating a raging curse embodied in ghosts of the child and his mother. The ghosts are still trying to get her—I guess they failed to finish her off in The Grudge. So, she ends up in the hospital. Her wicked mother, Mrs. Davis (Joanna Cassidy) forces her not-speaking-to-her, younger sister, Aubrey (Amber Tamblyn) to fly to Tokyo to get her sister out of the hospital and back to New York. At first, Aubrey resists, but then she caves. When she arrives at the hospital, Karen is so happy to see her. But, then she sees the ghosts, flips out, and is subsequently strapped down and sedated. Japanese, journalist, Eason (Edison Chen) shows up to try to help Aubrey, but they end up witnessing the demise of Karen together instead.

In a side story, two snotty girls from the International School of Tokyo named Vanessa (Teresa Palmer) and Miyuki (Misako Uno) decide to initiate new girl Allison (Arielle Kebbel) to their school by taking her to Japan's most haunted house and exposing her and themselves unwittingly to the Grudge.

Back to the Aubrey story. She and Eason go to the house, Eason freaks out and Aubrey gets pulled into the curse. They do start to get some clues though that the wife who was killed in the house wasn’t' just any woman. She was actually the daughter of a woman who used to pull evil spirits from sick people and feed them to her daughter filling her daughter with these murderous spirits by the dozens. A single, eerie eye peeking through holes becomes the symbol of her rage.

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Back to the snotty girls story. All three girls are haunted by the ghosts of the mother and her son. Allison doesn't take it well, but alas the spirits get the better of Vanessa dn Miyuki. So, Allison demands she be allowed to go home.

Back to the future, but not as far as the beginning where Trish goes commando on Bill. We see Bill welcoming Trish to their Chicago apartment home. Son, Jake (Matthew Knight) is suspicious of this new 'mother'. Daughter, Lacey (Sarah Roemer) is thrilled to be able to share clothes. Shortly after being told he doesn’t have to call her "mom", Jake starts to hear strange thumping from the apartment next door and then sees the neighbors bring home this very strange young person in a gray hooded sweatshirt. The shadowy figure seems odd and out of place to Jake who bravely tries to get to the bottom of what's going on in their building.

Back to the Aubrey story. Eason meets his maker after he convinces Aubrey they need to go find the living mother of the ghost people and get her to lift the curse.

Well, there you have three little stories all going on at once. It's hard to figure out how, if at all, they are connected. Turns out they are connected in the end, and it turns out that this grudge has now spread across the globe. Oh my. As scary movies go, this one is a definitely not very scary. I give it credit for not confusing gory with scary. As for stories that make sense and teach you something useful, this one does neither. As for creating a franchise, I guess it already a franchise in Japan, but give me Poltergeist any time over this film. The acting was better than most of the scary movies released this year. The special effects were interesting. The sound effects were probably the best of any scary movie with the signature shuddering frog croak. There's no question Takashi Shimizu is a great and lasting director of this genre. This particular result, however, leaves much to be desired. The plot just makes very little sense. Unexplainable things happen that seem to indicate the writer is making up what the ghosts can do as he goes along. Finally, if this grudge can spread, what can actually stop it? Is it possible? Maybe we'll find out in Grudge 3.

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Cast Members
Sarah Michelle GellarAmber TamblynArielle Kebbel
Jennifer BealsTeresa PalmerMatthew Knight
Joanna Cassidy
Takashi Shimizu
Stephen Susco
CD Soundtrack
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The Grudge 2 (2006) Review-lite [150-word cap]
Do you have to have seen The Grudge to understand The Grudge 2? I'm hoping, because if not, well, not sure why I didn't comprehend The Grudge 2. Fans of Scary Movie 4 will not find this film even slightly scary. They'll keep picturing the parody and laughing out loud, which really ruins the mood in the theatre. The plot is needlessly complicated and convoluted with three stories of people all affected by the grudge. They were hard to follow and out of time sequence. Amber Tamblyn stars here as Karen's (Sarah Michelle Gellar) younger sister only to be upstaged mightily by The Greatest Game Ever Played's tyke, Jake (Matthew Knight) who bravely tries to rescue everyone in his part of the story from their ultimate demises. Guess we'll have to wait until Grudge 3 to find out what to do now that the grudge has spread around the world.

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