More Antipathy Than A Grudge This Time Around
by Josh Green
October 14, 2006
Those pale ghosts are back to bother some more people in The Grudge 2 opening this weekend. Unfortunately for them, they have run out of new and original ideas to kill those innocent teens that sneak around their house. The only originality comes from director Takashi Shimizu trying to escape the horribly conventional screenplay.
Shimizu does an excellent job of capturing his dark fairytale world of The Grudge on the screen, and that should come as no surprise considering this is his fourth film in the series. Takashi seems to take a more emotional approach for Grudge 2, something the first film didn't seem to really express. This unfortunately doesn't work as well as it should because even though there was more focus on the characters' thoughts and feelings, the scares were bland.
I can't express my hatred for the typical jump scares that occur in every PG-13 horror movie; however, the first film was filled with them, which actually made that film scary. The Grudge 2 has plenty of them, almost stolen exactly from its predecessor. Under the covers, in the shower, the audience has seen this before. The theme of the film, domestic violence, is also the same as the original but is bashed on our head so much that we forget what's scary about it.
It isn't until the last 20 minutes of the film that Shimizu seems to step away from the money powered studio plot and do what he wants, which is what the whole movie should have been. We are taken into the disturbing American version of what happened to Kayako (played by Takako Fuji) and her son Toshio (Ohga Tanaka) in the first film.
As a sort of side note, I had a really interesting experience leaving the theater full of 13-year-old teens and hearing them discuss the film on the way out. In almost the exact scene-by-scene relevance to the plot, The Grudge 2 mimicked The Grudge in editing. Something that I felt made the film interesting to navigate through, even though it was still unoriginal. The teens in the theater seemed to express their dislike of it on the way out. I heard some saying, "it was too confusing and nothing came together." Now, I thought that this was really interesting. The exact target audience, for who this film was created for, didn't get the movie. Ironic?
Even with heartfelt directing and its creepy atmosphere, The Grudge 2 offers nothing new to the franchise. I'm almost positive that Grudge 2 will be number one at the box office this weekend, but regardless, if you are looking for real scares, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning is probably playing right next door.