June 20, 2007

THE GRUDGE 2 (2006) America 2 - Grudge 6

THE GRUDGE 2
(2006, US)

For Grudge fans who haven’t seen the Japanese Grudges…

Region 2 PAL DVD (Universal)

Just out on DVD in the UK is Takashi Shimizu’s sixth Grudge film, as he directs the sequel to the American Grudge. The story as usual is oblique, certainly for Hollywood fare, with parallel stories taking place in the US and Japan simultaneously. While there are many new characters, you really have to see
The Grudge (2004) first to understand who everyone is, but I’m thankful there wasn’t too much of the-story-so-far exposition and tons of flashbacks to bring newcomers up to speed.

It’s good to see Sarah Michelle Gellar back again too, as her sister travels to Japan to find out what happened to her after the events of the first film.

The cursed house as a stagebound set still doesn’t creep me out as much as the actual house used in the Japanese films. The set-piece scares are still mostly restaged from the Japanese films. Is he finally running out of
Ju-on ideas?

So, having seen all the Japanese films, the pleasures here are not the familiar scares, but the high calibre of acting, and the new characters. Interesting to see Edison Chen (Initial D - The Movie, Infernal Affairs) in an American movie. His acting isn’t fantastic, but he’s certainly easy on the eye. A pity no Japanese actors could get a break as well.

Also, American schoolgirls in Japanese schoolgirl outfits just don’t look quite right…

I enjoyed the DVD extras more, seeing the actors getting to grips with life in Japan in the making-of documentary, and the story of the producers' sculpting the sequel while staying faithful to
the series.

Hopefully soon, Shimizu will be allowed to develop some of his original ideas in the west. But I hope he gives up making his American films 'shock-heavy', and stick with his original Japanese 'creepy' approach - they make for much better films. His Rinne (2005, aka Reincarnation) is fantastic and evidence that he makes great horror films, whatever language you speak.

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2 comments:

  1. This isn't the sixth installment of the The Grudge franchise. It's the second. Just because a film from one series remade a film from another doesn't mean they should both be lumped together this stupidly even though they don't even fit in the same universe/continuity/timeline and only share the ghost characters. Same thing with the Alien franchise and Alien vs Predator and Prometheus films. It's so annoying. They're separate!

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  2. Seeing as they're from the same writer/director, featuring some of the original actors and especially the original 'ghosts', these could be seen as a part of the Japanese continuum.

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