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"The Grudge 2"

Directed by Takashi Shimizu.
Written by Stephen Susco.  Based on the film "Ju-On" by Takashi Shimizu.
Starring Amber Tamblyn, Edison Chen, and Sarah Michelle Gellar.
Release Year:  2006
Review Date:  10/28/06


Look, even though I didn't really want to see "The Grudge 2", I just KNEW there would be some comedy on behalf of the reappearance of Catboy, the little boy from the first film that only made meow sounds whenever he opened his mouth.  You just can't beat that kind of fun!!!

The first American version of "The Grudge", directed by Japanese series creator Takashi Shimizu, was mostly dogshit.  In that one, a cursed house in Tokyo needed a new caretaker for its owner, and when none of the locals would take the job, in stepped an American named Karen Davis (Sarah Michelle Gellar), who by entering the house became one of the accursed thanks to the bad history of the home--Dad went crazy and snapped the neck of his eight-year-old daughter, then went on to drown his young son in the bathtub AND crush the family cat.  (Road rage, or something, I'm not sure what.)  This made the two kids ghosts, but not just your run-of-the-mill ghosts but angry, killer ghosts, somehow capable of being everywhere all the time and becoming solid zombies that could just touch you and kill you, whether you had been inside the house or not.  I didn't get it, but the kills were funny.

Naturally, Karen survived the first movie...JUST long enough to die in the opening of "The Grudge 2", after she is hospitalized after trying to burn the cursed house to the ground.  Her sister, Aubrey (Amber Tamblyn), comes to Tokyo from Pasadena to visit Karen, just in time to watch her fall from the top of the hospital.  Pissed that she had flown all that way to watch her sister get tossed from the roof, Amber conducts her own investigation into the killings with the help of a journalist (Edison Chen)...meanwhile, in Chicago, more people are dying, and it looks like the same two ghosts are doing all of the work...

Look, "The Grudge 2" is a bad movie; there's no way to get around that.  But, by giving us a couple of decent scares thanks to Catboy and his sister, Dry Mouth Girl (her sound effect will help you see what I mean), this movie did do a decent job of keeping my attention because I howled every time somebody was about to get touched by one of our two ghosts.  And, because Shimizu apparently thinks that his victims should stare helplessly as one of the ghosts is about to touch them, it's even better comedy to watch as someone sees a ghost coming, they stand there all scared like, and ten seconds later, they have been touched to death.

That's right--touched to death.

The acting is awful; one of the side characters, a Japanese schoolgirl who speaks decent English, is so bad I couldn't believe that she was in the film.  Were there no decent actresses available to play this part?  At least the flick moves fast; it is shot well and the freaky special effects do create a good atmosphere for scares.

But, as I was the only person in the theater when this movie played on a Saturday afternoon, I'm guessing you will have to see this on home video if you are going to catch it.  Blah.

Rating:  Rental


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09