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

 

 

Advertisements

Double Feature Weekend – Ju-On Black Ghost (2009)

whiteDirector: Mari Asato

Writer: Mari Asato (Screenplay) Takashi Shimizu (Story)

Starring: Koji Seto, Kuniteru Shigeyama, Kana Tsugihara, Ai Kago

 

Plot: After losing her child at birth, the dark horror of the grudge begins growing within her.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Feels Scarier

 

Story: Ju-On: Back Ghost starts as we meet Tetsuya (Seto) who has been dreaming of his neighbour for years only to find something strange about her. This film continues where White Ghost leads off where we get a series of stories that all pieces together with an even more terrifying version of the vengeance ghost take out the victims in the area.

Ju-On: Black Ghost continues to build on the idea that the first one had with multiple stories all wrapping into one by the final act which works now we know what we are expecting to see. I do feel the ghost presence is a lot scarier this time around as it comes from the shadows more adding the darkness fear to the story. This film isn’t going to make the fans of the original idea happy though because we do have to deal with slight too many characters once more.

 

Overall: Has good scare points but not enough to make us care about these characters.

Rating50

 

 

Double Feature Weekend – Ju-on: White Ghost (2009)

whiteDirector: Ryuta Miyake

Writer: Ryuta Miyake (Screenplay) Takashi Shimizu (Story)

Starring: Hiroki Suzuki, Ichirota Miyakawa, Natsuki Kasa, Akina Minami, Marika Fukunaga, Chie Amemiya, Mihiro

 

Plot: Akane begins seeing visions of a female ghost wearing the same yellow hat and red satchel she wore as a school child.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not As Effective

 

Story: Ju-On: White Ghost starts with the first of the series of stories as Fumiya (Suzuki) is delivering a cake to the house being controlled by the Grudge spirit. In our second story, we follow taxi driver Hajime Kashiwagi (Miyakawa) deal with a mysterious passenger in his taxi. This trend continues through the film as we jump into meeting the latest victims with Akane (Minami) who upon using a Ouija board starts to get visions from a mysterious girl that reminds her of her younger self. The stories continue with links to each other as the film unfolds.

Ju-On: White Ghost tries to tell many different stories of people who come face to face with the vengeful spirit but this takes away all of the effects the originals had where we would follow one victim slowly breakdown. The scares are not as effective because we know something is going to happen in every single scene rather than slowly building up and having a calm down scene between the scares.

 

Overall: There just isn’t enough to drag us in this time around.

Rating40

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Grudge 2 (2006)

casting card

 

Plot: Three interwoven stories about a terrible curse. A young woman encounters a malevolent supernatural force while searching for her missing sister in Tokyo; a mean high school prank goes horribly wrong; a woman with a deadly secret moves into a Chicago apartment building.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid but Not Effective Sequel

 

Story: The Grudge 2 starts with the similar start as the last film with a strange unanswered event before introducing us to three school kids from the International school Allison (Kebbel), Miyuki (Uno) and Vanessa (Palmer) who like all school kids like to investigate haunted houses. While in the house they get a visit from the ghostly spirit who has been unleashed once more and tell us the plot of the first movie.

To keep things confusing Aubrey (Tamblyn) the sister of Karen (Gellar) has to go to Tokyo to bring her sister back home only to find her under police watch. To complete the third part of our story we go back to meet Trish (Beals) and Bill (Cousins) who are just moving in together with Bill’s kids Lacey (Roemer) and Jake (Knight).

After Karen falls to her death Aubrey teams up with a journalist Eason (Chen) to investigate the house while the school girls find themselves haunted by the spirit.

The Grudge 2 is a film that does way too much for the time required, we have to follow three storylines with two having next to no contact with the research to the haunting side of the story. We have way too many characters to keep up with which doesn’t help because just as we start following one we jump to the next. I did like that we took the action outside of the house but then we also lose all of the special feeling behind the original. I will also point out this kind of just ends without given enough time to the stories to end with enough closure.

 

Actor Review

 

Amber Tamblyn: Aubrey is the sister of Karen from first film, she has been sent to Tokyo to bring her sister back home to America but it isn’t long before she finds herself having to investigate the house where the events took place after what looks like her sister’s suicide. Amber is good in this leading role without being fully stand out due to screen time.

Arielle Kebbel: Allison is a school girl that gets tricked into going in the house as a form of proving herself to be tough to a couple of fellow students. In the house she meets the spirit and spends her time in terror from the hauntings. Arielle is good but spends most of the film in her freaked out stage.

Jennifer Beals: Trish is the new wife or partner of Bill who is moving in with his family, we see what she does in the opening scene. Jennifer is solid in this role showing the caring side as well as the darker side.

Edison Chen: Eason is a journalist that works with Aubrey to uncover the truth about the curse on the house, he is being haunted at the same time and knows it is a race against time. Edison is solid in this role helping to fill in the gaps needed in finish the potential story.

Support Cast: The Grudge 2 has a supporting cast that does include a few actresses who have gone onto bigger and better things with Teresa Palmer, Jenna Dewan both getting a steady horror scene under their belts. All of the supporting cast do a good job by making the victims feel like we just don’t know who will be the next victim.

Director Review: Takashi ShimizuTakashi keeps the scare factor but overcomplicates the story.

 

Horror: The Grudge 2 still has great scares being used through the film.

Thriller: The Grudge 2 doesn’t give us enough time to each story to pull us fully into the story.

Settings: The Grudge 2 decides to move the settings to everywhere in Tokyo which really doesn’t help the concept of the story.
Special Effects
: The Grudge 2 has good effects to create the horror being used.

Suggestion: The Grudge 2 is only going to be one to try, it just doesn’t have the full effects of the original. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Basement footsteps.

Worst Part: Too many stories going on.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Has one.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $20 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

Tagline: What Was Once Trapped, Will Now Be Unleashed

 

Overall: Solid but just not effective enough horror.

Ratingcard

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Grudge (2004)

casting card

Plot: An American nurse living and working in Tokyo is exposed to a mysterious supernatural curse, one that locks a person in a powerful rage before claiming their life and spreading to another victim.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid American Remake

 

Story: The Grudge starts with a mysterious suicide before taking us to the house with the curse in where our young American student Karen (Gellar) gets a chance to do her first solo care work. When she gets a visit from a random child in the house we see how the family ended up in the house before learning what is going on inside the house.

We watch how Karen has to try to get to the bottom of everything going on within house trying to put the ghost to rest once and for all.

The Grudge enters into one of my favourite style of horror with a ghost haunting with a backstory needing to be solved. Having seen the original, it all feels rather random just to have Americans in the Asian roles but still set in Japan which does takes away certain parts of the film. My big issue is that Karen doesn’t seem to know any Japanese and you would have thought having a job there they would make sure you can get past the very basic language barrier. If we are just looking at the horror side of the story we do get great scare moments that all tie together by the end of the film.

 

Actor Review

 

Sarah Michelle Gellar: Karen is the American care student who gets her first assignment which ends up entering her into the world of a cursed house and a vengeful spirit. She must research the truth to try and finally put the spirit to rest and end the killing. Sarah is solid in the leading role but like always it is hard to see her in a scared role after Buffy.

Jason Behr: Doug is the boyfriend of Karen who tries to help her settle in the area while pretty much doing nothing else in this film other than be the dumb partner of lead. Jason does what he can for the poorly written character.

William Mapother: Matthew is one half of the couple that moved into the house and has to deal with the sudden impact of the haunting. William is solid but only a small supporting character.

Clea DuVall: Jennifer is the other half of the couple that gets haunted first inside the house where we see the terrifying truth behind the ghost boy. Clea is solid but again only a small supporting role.

Support Cast: The Grudge has a supporting cast where we only see in a couple of scenes filling in the story going on during the hauntings.

Director Review: Takashi ShimizuTakashi does bring his style of horror into the American styles which does work nicely throughout.

 

Horror: The Grudge still has the creepy side to the story the original has with the scare coming thick and fast.

Mystery: The Grudge does give us a mystery to solve about why the ghosts are killing the people.

Thriller: The Grudge keeps us on edge during the whole film as we wait to see what will happen next.

Settings: The Grudge keeps the settings in similar location as the original which all works keep the creep factor stay strong.
Special Effects
: The Grudge has great effects to create the scares going on through the film.

Suggestion: The Grudge is one I would be suggesting to all horror fans out there. (Horror Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Jaws missing.

Worst Part: That noise.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: One Missed Call, The Ring

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $10 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

Tagline: Do you have a grudge?

 

Overall: Good horror remake that is filled with scares.

Ratingcard