Monday, July 4, 2011

Ju-on: The Grudge 2 [2003]

NOTE: Apologies for the late post, it's been kinda busy around here lately.

So you feel like these posts about Ju-on are dragging on a little? Too many? Seen enough? WELL THAT'S HOW I FEEL ABOUT THIS SERIES. How about that for some recursive emotion. Don't worry though! This one was actually really good! Let me say that again.
Good for you Shimizu, pulling out a good one after 3 iterations already. For those of you expecting a steady downward drop in quality leading up to The Grudge [2004], well, he sure played you didn't he? trololololol

After Ju-on, Ju-on 2 and Ju-on: The Grudge we finally meet a brand new cast of characters and a new premise. A pregnant actress happens to be unlucky enough to run across (or run over hehe) the curse and ends up losing her child (or does she?!).
Meanwhile, a reality TV show has taken an interest in the Saeki house and sends a cast and crew to investigate. This can only end well. \(ºヮº)/
So the host of the show, Tomoka, has been hearing odd thumping noises coming from her wall. One day she comes home to find her boyfriend standing in an odd corner, although he's rather high off the floor...
Here I'd like to point out a really cool thing that would only happen in an ASIAN movie. She realizes he isn't home because his shoes aren't by the door.

As usual the six chapters of this movie run in a non-linear order. At first I was confused because the curse seemed to be going after Tomoka before she'd come in contact with it. Mah b... (^_^;;)7

Shimizu introduces a new time-travel element into the curse which I don't really care for. It works but I can't say I like it. That odd thumping noise I mentioned? It's caused by feet hitting the wall. And that scratching... You'll see what I mean.

This film has a slower pace, much like Ju-on, and I think returning to that really helped elevate this film for Shimizu.

One by one the cast and crew of the documentary show fall victim to the curse. Most of the crew die off-screen, we only hear about it from one of the main characters. I have to say that while this film had a good batch of scares, it IS beginning to drag a little. At this point the nuance of the curse itself is starting to fade. If you approached this film without watching any of the others I'd say with confidence that you will like it very much. As for me, the mystery element wherein the characters trace the house's story back to the Saeki murder? Seen it multiple times. Kayako coming for each one? Seen that too. And there's one really bad CGI effect (you'll know which one I'm talking about when you see it) doesn't help. One of my favorite Shimizu techniques is when he doesn't show us the monster in motion, instead we hear the sound of the corpse dragging itself across the floor, falling through the hole into the closet while the camera tracks its movement through the ceiling, behind the door...

The conclusion to this movie reveals a very interesting turn of events for the future of the grudge. I hope Shimizu's all grudged out at this point because I think leaving things here is perfect. LEAVE WELL ENOUGH ALONE DAMN IT. DAMN IT!

 Verdict: An enjoyable film and a definite jump in horror quality after Ju-on 2. I'd say it beat out Ju-on: The Grudge by just a little bit but lost to Ju-on by a good margin. Keep in mind that The Grudge hadn't come out yet so we'll leave that out but suffice it to say that Shimizu does not maintain the upward momentum in movie quality.

Lastly, once again I'd like to turn your attention to the lack of jump scares around here. Always a good thing. Let's hope everyone learned their lesson this time and no one goes near that damn house again! (ಠ︿ಠ)