Directed by: Takashi Shimizu
Premise: This sequel to the 2004 film has three narratives. Aubrey (Amber Tamblyn) travels to Japan to discover what happened to her sister (Sarah Michelle Gellar), the protagonist of the first film, while Lacy (Sarah Roemer), an American high school student studying abroad in Japan gets intertwined in the mystery of the house. Meanwhile, a Chicago family is stricken by the Japan-born curse.
What Works: The Grudge 2 has a narrative that is very ambitious and for the most part the film succeeds in merging them, cutting between the stories in ways that leave satisfying cliffhangers and allow the resolution of one narrative to affect and inform the others.
What Doesn’t: While the film’s arrangement of the narrative is admirable, The Grudge 2 ends up cutting each one short and cannot build much in the way of character. As a result there is no dramatic weight to the jeopardy that the characters find themselves in. The scares are repeats of the scenes in the first film, particularly the shower sequence, but they are done with even less atmosphere and to a less frightening effect. It is a wonder that a sequel was made to The Grudge at all, as it was an inferior film that was riddled with imitation and cliché. The pale, longhaired, wet Asian ghost was interesting and frightening when first seen in The Ring (or more properly, in The Ring’s Japanese predecessor Ringu), but by now this horror icon has outstayed its welcome to become a bore.
Bottom Line: Although an improvement over the original film The Grudge 2 is not very scary and more confusing than engaging.
Episode: #114 (October 29, 2006)