The Grudge 2 Takashi Shimizu

Another day, another remake. Wait, this isn’t a remake? It’s an original sequel to a remake. For a second there I was worried. Instead of having a go at Shimizu’s Ju-on: The Grudge 2, Hollywood (that’s big shot producer Sam Raimi and company) felt it would benefit the thick, dim-witted North American audience to continue the arc that began with Sarah Michelle Gellar’s character in The Grudge. Karen (Gellar) is now locked up in a hospital, off her rocker after being saved from the evil house that curses those who cross its threshold. Her sister, Aubrey (Joan of Arcadia’s Amber Tamblyn), is sent to retrieve Karen but ends up embroiled in helping a journalist uncover the house’s secret. Yadda, yadda, yadda, people get cursed, out comes the terrible threesome — the hair-smothering, bone-crackling pubescent girl, the toddler boy who can’t keep his mouth shut and that darn black cat — and the citizens of Japan are royally fucked. Actually, make that the citizens of the world, for the curse travels to Chicago to seek world domination, which apparently involves jumping from troubled character to troubled character in the most annoying and attention deficit manner possible. Yes, after watching The Grudge 2, I wish it were a remake of the original’s sequel. At least with that one Shimizu’s script had an extremely creepy storyline that still gives me the shivers on occasion. It wasn’t exactly a masterpiece but this American sequel is far from its level — so far in fact that I feel confused by how unaffected I was by its constant attempts to scare me. Should I be really be laughing at how Gellar runs away screaming from such a sluggishly inept ghost? Am I too jaded to feel Tamblyn’s horror when she repeatedly makes that "face”? Why did I think the follow-up to a mediocre remake would somehow make up for its lousy predecessor? The Grudge 2 certainly leaves me with just that: a big, fat grudge for killing the subgenre of cursed abodes. Consider the haunted house officially not scary from this point on. Thankfully the commentary gods spared me and just left an abundance of cutting room floor footage to sort through. Some is deemed "extra footage too scary for theatres” but other than a character spewing the biggest hairball you’ll ever see, it hardly lives up to its hefty tag. Plus: featurettes. (Sony)