you dont already know about the relationship
between The Grudge and the Ju-On series, this
is the fourth film in the series, and the second (Japanese) theatrical
should by now be already familiar with writer / director Takashi
Shimizu's style of storytelling within this series. If you have
never seen a Ju-on film before, you will not want
to start with this one, and the following review may contain spoilers
for those who have not seen The Grudge.
The Grudge 2 (called simply Ju-on 2 on the American
DVD release cover) opens with pregnant horror actress Kyoko and
her boyfriend as they drive down a deserted street at night. When
their car suddenly hits a cat, we know little Toshio isn't far
away and, indeed, he winds up actually beneath the steering wheel
only moments later, causing them to crash. Kyoko begins bleeding
heavily from beneath her dress, and we share her grief over the
loss of her unborn child.
wait a moment - it becomes quickly apparent that our little blue
wraith seems to have done something to Kyoko. Suddenly, she's
with child again, and the little bugger has a helluva a kick,
one you can see from across the room. What is growing inside her,
and why does it cause seemingly random schoolgirls to scream?
in the other Japanese films in the series, several vignettes make
up Ju-on 2 as we follow different characters throughout a disjointed
timeline. Eventually, all of the stories will makes sense together
as we begin to make the connections between characters, and several
of them are creepy as hell in their own right. Tomoka
(the second story) and Megumi (the third) are strong
standouts and, although the next couple of stories begin to jump
time and space far too often to make sense, the epilogue presents
a pretty cool take on Kayako (the woman who bears the grudge throughout
all of the Ju-on and Grudge films). In
fact, the final scene did something the other films haven't managed
to do: It actually made me long for another installment.
picture is sharp and clear, although this sequel seems to suffer
from the same problem as the second Grudge film: it shows Kayako
out of the shadows, making her far less scary (especially when
her blue pancake makeup is so brightly lit). Nevertheless, she's
still one pretty badass vengeful chick, and Ju-on 2 makes
this misstep far less often than its American counterpart (which
shares no major plot points with this film).
Ju-on 2 is a terrific end to the Japanese series, and one
that completists (or those who are just into the mythology behind
the films) will want to check out.
Offers a fresh new spin on Kayako. Some very cool story elements...
Cons: ...become a bit forced together by the film's end.
Review Rating: 7 out of 10 safe birth amulets
that don't really do their jobs.