(Sarah Michelle Gellar, Amber Tamblyn, et al / DVD / PG-13 / (2006) 2007 / Columbia Pictures)
Overview: Set within two years after the first film and between two countries. Karen's sister, Audrey, been affected by the supernatural curse, and trying to find the origin of it in order to find a way to free herself. But what has this quest got to do with the families who are living in Chicago, a photojournalist from Hong Kong,and the three schoolgirls from Tokyo's International High School?
DVD Verdict: OK, come on now Hollywood(land), please now ... just leave well enough alone and stop this terribly embarassing trend of taking perfectly good and genuinely creepy Japanese horror films and watering them down into insipid and insulting wastes of celluloid!
Honestly, 'Grudge 2' was a really, really bad film. I kind of liked the first 'Grudge' remake although some of the original creepy scenes were replaced with less creepier scenes or left out altogether(the bathroom scene in the Japanese original was replaced with the stairwell scene, the night watchman scene and the TV scene at the house were completely left out, etc.), but 'Grudge 2' took it one step further and did their own thing and it wasn't good. How many times do we have to watch a girl in a dark creepy house hear a frightening noise, investigate it, see a ghost and then continue to wander around the house as if nothing happens? Not scary. How many times do we have to hear a character over explain what is happening as if we weren't paying attention to the movie ourselves? Not scary. How many times do we have sit through a scene of sudden loud noises meant to scare us? Not scary. How many times do we have to watch a ghost chase down its victim only to find that when the victim turns around the ghost is gone? Not scary. Not suspenseful. Not original ... any more.
OK, for those that don't know here is what goes down. Sarah Michelle Gellar returns (in a distinctly supporting role) as an American woman traumatized by her experiences with a haunted house in Tokyo; younger sister Amber Tamblyn flies over to help out. This particular storyline doesn't have much meat on it; the murder house is still there, and people who go inside have a disconcerting habit of dropping dead. Fortunately, two other plots thread into the basic one: a group of American schoolgirls in Tokyo become intrigued by the legend of the house, and some Chicago apartment dwellers are unsettled by domestic anxiety and the weird sounds coming from next door. (This storyline, featuring Jennifer Beals, gives the film its extremely satisfying opening sequence.) As usual with these movies, sequences come to us in non-chronological order, and it's up to us to piece it together. Or not as the case may be!
The only interesting scenes in 'Grudge 2' are the opening sequence and the closing sequence. The ghost in the sweatshirt scene was pretty original. Outside of that, there are little to no scares, no suspense and nothing original. The only disorienting aspect of this movie was the story being told out of order and what was the point of the dying mom in the bed? Yikes! I can write a better horror movie than this!
Hollywood(land), I beg you please stop the insanity. Leave well enough alone. Hire some writers to come up with some fresh, cliche free, less-is-more scary movies and leave the J-horror alone. Clearly the scares are lost in translation. In the Special Features, the 'East Meets West' Featurette is actually quite interesting, although the one entitled 'Grudge 2: Storyline Development' Featurette seems a little off the mark for truth. As it simply wasn't ... 'developed,' that is! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
East Meets West Featurette
Grudge 2: Storyline Development Featurette
"Ready When You Are, Mr. Shimizu" Featurette
Cast & Crew Reel Change Montage