The Grudge 2

With one movie, writer/director Takashi Shimizu takes his concept for The Grudge, removes any sense of J-horror which made it popular, and makes it wholly American.  Shimizu (The Grudge, Ju-On:  The Grudge) even leaves open the possibility for sequels, this time in America.  The Grudge 2 is more or less the same movie as The Grudge, with less story, more loud noise, and of course, the same lanky, pallid Japanese woman with long hair, and the pale boy that screeches like a cat.  And it has never been more boring.  Each successive adaptation of an Asian horror movie has been a little worse, and The Grudge 2 is by far the worst of the bunch.  It's about time to move on to something else.

The Grudge 2 takes place shortly after the first.  Karen Davis (Sarah Michelle Gellar, The Grudge, Scooby-Doo 2) is in the hospital after her attempt to burn down Kayako's (Takako Fuji, The Grudge, Ju-On:  The Grudge) house in order to stop the curse.  The police think that she killed her boyfriend.  Karen's sister Aubrey (Amber Tamblyn, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The Ring) travels to Japan to bring Karen home.  Instead, Kayako continues her swath of death, killing Karen and bringing Aubrey and others into the curse.

Shimizu and screenwriter Steven Susco juxtapose Aubrey's story with that of three students at an International High School in Japan, as well as an American family in Chicago experiencing weird things in their apartment.  Are they all connected?  Does it really matter?  Logic has never been the strong suit of the Grudge movies.  For instance - it's obvious that the goings on in America are connected, it's just a matter of waiting out the film to see how.  But how is it that typically, Kayako kills people, but in Chicago, the family is committing heinous acts against each other?  It's great for filmmakers because the concept is tenuous at best, and simply allows for a random people who come in contact with a house to see things and die.

There are no real scares in The Grudge 2.  All that disappeared with the first one.  There are only so many times one can see Kayako before it looks like she's just doing a bad vogue in the dark.  The same goes for Toshio (Yuya Ozeki, The Grudge, Ju-On:  The Grudge).  It's creepy seeing the blue kid with his eyes wide open a few times.  Too many times, and it gets boring.  To compensate, Shimizu makes the audience jump by ratcheting up the music until it is unbearably loud.  The movie is not scary - the music is too loud.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 31 minutes, Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, disturbing images/terror/violence, and some sensuality .

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