With Karen (Gellar) a hospitalised murder suspect in Tokyo after previous events, her sister Aubrey (Tamblyn) flies to her bedside and promptly visits the haunted house with journalist Eason (Chen) to get cursed. Meanwhile in Chicago a happy family fly of
Writer-director Takashi Shimuzi’s sequel to the American remake of his own Ju-on/Grudge saga is actually his seventh Grudge film. How he manages to stay awake directing them at this stage is his problem. But it’s beginning to feel like everyone watching these flicks is under an inescapable curse. If you’ve seen any of them, Grudge 2 is a repetitive blur of interchangeable characters who get their doom on and hallucinate scenes of the family massacre that kicked the whole thing off. They see dead people and die, some faster than others. Just as nitwit girls in ‘70s horrors would tremulously ask the house / words, “Who’s there?”, people here keep being told if they go into //that// house they’ll die, so their immediate response is, “I have to go there!”
Sarah Michelle Gellar checks out of this quickly so she could go off to another horror movie, bless, but the baffling extended cameo prize goes to Jennifer Beals. In the obligatory post-Scream pre-credits snuff sequence Beals brains her bellyaching husband with the breakfast skillet (ripped off from Six Feet Under, much?). Then later we see her moving in all smoochy with him, because hey! We’re going back and forth in time as well as space. This is the new twist on the premise. Torching the Tokyo crib didn’t get rid of that little dead kid with the panda eye make-up and the dead cat. No, the curse born of death in the grip of rage is like an infectious virus, so one of the victim girlies can carry it to America. Well okaaaay then.
Shimuzi’s American producers (who include Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert) have obviously given him and his Yankee scripter the Hollywood Horror check list, and he ticks off the items carefully. Girl appears in a cheerleader outfit for no apparent reason – check. Girl gets menaced in the shower, check. Girl in bed //thinks// it’s her boyfriend with her under the covers, only for him to appear in the bathroom, check. Person gets chased up to the roof (because that’s always the smartest place to run) only to plunge off it, check. There’s even the optional extra exorcist, although she has to see dead people and die. But the most frightening thing is that, at the ‘end’, you realise this can, and will, go on and on....
Despite some nifty Japanese style tricks and ghostly illusions this isnt scary. Its muddled, same-old mayhem, just with a more international cast going crazy.