The Grudge 2 Review
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[The Grudge 2]
Plot:In Tokyo, a young woman (Tamblyn) is exposed to the same mysterious curse that afflicted her sister (Gellar). The supernatural force, which fills a person with rage before spreading to its next victim, brings together a group of previously unrelated people who attempt to unlock its secret to save their lives.
Sarah Michelle Gellar,
My Thoughts:Great sequel.
Review:I have to admit, going into "The Grudge 2" my morale wasn't very high. The first "Grudge" was just terrible, and while I can deal with and accept a horror film that doesn't splatter blood all over the place in it's every waking moment...the scares "The Grudge" tried to pull off failed on every level. Now here comes the sequel, and my first reaction was "Oh Boy more torture". But with the addition of some actually interesting characters, and way better planned out and plotted scare scenes, this film worked out quite well. Picking up right where "The Grudge" left off, "The Grudge 2" starts off with two separate sub-stories, similar to the first movie. One of the sub-stories finds three Tokyo school girls entering the infamous cursed house. While the scenes that follow each sub-story don't seem to do much but set the tone for the movie, Stephen Susco and Takashi Shimizu use both stories to set up a major league interlocking subplot and plot twist later on which I won't reveal here. Moving on...Sarah Michelle Gellar's character it is confirmed did survive her encounter with the grudge at the end of the first film. She's now confined to a hospital bed at one of Tokyo's medical centers. No indication is given if this is due to her injuries or her mental status, but it is suggested that the fire she set at the house which is confirmed to have killed Doug (her boyfriend) at the end of "The Grudge", coupled with the story she gave the authorities has led them to believe she's a danger to herself and others. Thus they've kept her confined to the hospital under the watch of two security guards. Amber Tamblyn (Karen's sister Aubrey) comes into the picture when her and Karen's mother has become sick and bed-ridden due to hearing about what happened to Karen. Thus Aubrey is sent to Tokyo via her mom to bring Karen home. Of course the grudge curse is still attached to Karen, as the tagline from the first film goes, "once it sees you you can never escape". Tamblyn's character does get to converse with her sister for the first time in awhile...(there's a subplot revealed before this scene where a previous arguement between the two put them on non-speaking terms for a few years)...upon which Karen lays the story about the house and the curse on her before the grudge itself shows up to finally claim Karen in one of the films most suspensful scenes. Karen not to be taken without a fight, manages to escape her restraints and make a bee-line for the roof where she ends up coming face to face with the grudge...an encounter which she does not survive, but she sure as hell get's a great death. What makes "The Grudge 2" work is obvious from the on-set. Of course we know the boy, the cat, and of course the woman have a habit of showing up in the oddest places, but in "The Grudge 2" Shimizu really makes their appearances scary. Not comical or obvious as with the first film. While watching this movie, you can never really tell where the grudge in one of it's many forms will show up. There's also a change within the grudge itself. Whereas in the first movie, it made a few appearances here and there snatching up a few unlucky victims, in the sequel it seems to be much more vicious, persistent, and calculating. It pursues it's victims with a very swift and unrelenting haunt before finally snatching them away into the abyss. Which is why I liked this film so much. It didn't wait for people to come to it, the grudge came to most of it's victims on it's own accord, making sure to pass itself along to new people so it can claim more victims. The characters in this installment are also much deeper development wise. We get Edison Chen as Eason, a reporter who Aubrey meets at the hospital, and who is also trying to get to the bottom of the infamous houses secrets, a girl who along with two of her friends are being haunted by the grudge, a family who is on the verge of an encounter with the evil spirit, and Karen's sister Aubrey who is torn between getting to the bottom of her sister's demise and holding feelings of resentment towards her mother who always favored her older sister Karen over her. Alot of subplots and stories are at play within the film which further strengthen those scenes where the grudge shows up and thus they don't feel as empty and lacking. Aubrey and Eason team up to get to the bottom of the curse which has now been connected to a mysterious book found in the house. This book is the same book we see the psycho dad going through during flashbacks in the first film. This is where "The Grudge 2" hits it's first negative, as the subplot involving the book is very dark and twisted and sinister but when Tamblyn's character becomes entangled into that subplot alot of the scenes that follow play out like the Rachel/Sissy Spacek scenes in "The Ring 2". And the new character introduced into the film via the book subplot reveals a new chapter of the story involving the grudge's motives that is very similar to Samara's motives in both "Ring" movies. Another issue on the negative side of things were a few of the death scenes. One in particular involving a japanese girl looked really silly, and when Edison Chen's character comes up against the grudge his lack of common sense is shockingly annoying as it does not fit in with the purpose of his character in the film at all. Luckily "The Grudge 2" more than makes up for that with a fantastic third act, where all of the subplots and side-stories connect very well and help the movie finish up in very chilling and intense fashion. There's even a scene late in the third act involving Tamblyn's character at the infamous cursed house which is very surprising for a number of reasons, one of which being who shows up at the house to "greet" her.
"The Grudge 2" does pack more scares, and better thrills than it's predecessor, but it's much stronger and thicker story filled with nice twists, turns, and intertwining subplots is what really makes it shine brightly.
Positives:Much better story this time around, scares scenes are set up much better than before. Great acting by a majority of the cast. Lost of twists, turns, and surprises throughout which kept things interesting.
Negatives:Some of the films new secrets borrow too much from "The Ring" and "The Ring 2".
Overall:Worth seeing this weekend.
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