ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – J – Ju-On: The Grudge 2 (2003)

grudge-2Director: Takashi Shimizu

Writer: Takashi Shimizu (Screenplay)

Starring: Noriko Sakai, Chiharu Niiyama, Kei Horie, Yui Ichikawa, Ayumu Saito, Emi Yamamoto

 

Plot: As their curse spreads on all around, the ghosts find their chance to live once again through the pregnancy of a cursed woman.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Complicated but Terrifying

 

Story: Ju-On: The Grudge 2 starts as we meet Kyoko (Sakai) a pregnant aspiring actress with her fiancé Masashi (Saito) who after hitting a cat find themselves haunted by a ghost boy who crashes their car and is drawn towards Kyoko’s baby. With Kyoko dealing with the ghost haunting her every day, we move onto to meet a friend of Kyoko’s Tomoka (Niiyama) who has been experience her own ghostly events in her apartment. Tomoka calls in ghost hunter Noritaka (Horie) to help example the unusual knocking at the same time every night.

Continuing the hauntings around the set of the horror production Megumi (Yamamoto) the star of the movie has her own experience with the ghostly presence but how are they all connected?

 

Thoughts on Ju-On: The Grudge 2

 

StoryWhen it comes to horror the last thing you want to do is put the pieces back together because thinking in the last thing you want to do. This film does make you think when you put together the events and unlike the first one the story is bigger, once you have figured out the story you will enjoy this horror story that continues the curse idea so well.

HorrorWhen it comes to horror you need to never look further than the Asian horror boom of the early 2000s and this is just one of those films that bought the ghost horror back to life in real terror for the audience.

Characters/PerformanceEach character in the film has a connection to another even though we only follow one character at a time and not always in order of events. The characters all react differently to the ghostly visits which will all come back to show the horror. The performances are all good as you believe all the fear the characters are experiencing through the film.

SettingsEach setting is used to become the final piece to the jigsaw that this film has become now, the settings are used to bring us the horror because they come from such surprising locations too.

Special EffectsWhen you look at the effects being used in this film you will find they have the ability to strike pure terror into the viewing which is something many horror never understand but the Asian ghost horrors capture so easily.

Final ThoughtsYou like your Asian horrors then watch this one, the first introduces the Grudge this one builds on it to the next level.

 

Overall: Welcome addition to the Asian horror genre that will scare you from start to finish.

Rating80

 

 

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Level Up (2016)

Director: Adam Randall

Writer: Adam Randall, Gary Young (Screenplay)

Starring: Josh Bowman, Neil Maskell, William Houston, Kulvinder Ghir, Doc Brown

 

Plot: A fast-paced, high concept thriller following a 20 something layabout, who over the course of a day, is forced to make his way across an increasingly strange and sinister London, in order to save his kidnapped girlfriend.


Tagline –  One life remaining.

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Paced

 

Story: Level Up starts as we meet layabout Matt (Bowman) who girlfriend Anna (Mimmack) gets abducted with the masked men forcing Matt to follow a series of tasks to deliver a package around London.

The tasks get stranger and deadlier as he continues his trip around London, following just a message on a phone. He is searching for a man known as Dmitri (Maskell) but just what is the reason he has been picked?

 

Thoughts on Level Up

 

Characters – Matt is the layabout gamer whose girlfriend gets taken, he must follow instructions to get her back which takes him on a race around London. I didn’t enjoy this character who is meant to be the one we care about because we learn nothing about him, like is he qualified to do a job, how is he supporting himself before etc, etc. Dmitri is the one Matt must pass the package too but he becomes hard to locate. The Businessman is also after the package becoming somewhat of a rival to him. Most of the characters we learn nothing about other than that they are part of this game being played.

PerformancesJosh Bowman does the best to try and carry this film but you do feel he lacks the intensity of everything going on. The rest of the cast don’t get enough time to show what they have.

StoryThe story is one man trying to deliver a package before time is up or his girlfriend will be killed, simple really but the problem is it is told in a slow way, it should be a fast paced movie but unfolds at a snails pace. You can see the twist coming a mile away and by the end of the film you will be left flat.

ThrillerThis should keep you on the edge of your seat, the point is that it doesn’t.

SettingsThe London setting doesn’t get used well enough for the film which only leaves us wonder how you don’t get the most out of a London setting.


Scene of the Movie –
Hard to find one.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Its just too slow.

Final ThoughtsNot enough pace for a fast paced story that needs to grab you by the edge of your seat.

 

Overall: Simply not good enough.

Rating