Friday, July 20, 2007

Return of the Japanese Ghosts

The Grudge 2

Directed by: Takashi Shimizu
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Amber Tamblyn, Edison Chen, Arielle Kebbel, Jennifer Beals, Teresa Palmer

Good news. Here’s another sequel. Bad news. Here’s another sequel. You could not care less. After braving the shower of sequels this summer you wouldn’t probably even react. And promise, we wouldn’t broach the subject again.
Instead, let’s ask a GK question: “What’s unique about Japanese horror movies?” Not sure? The answer would be, mindless deaths, in most improbable situations. Yeah, sure, death too is an art, especially for the horror junkies who like their pictures of death raw and unadulterated. Here begins the problem for The Grudge 2.
Here’s a Japanese horror film rehashed in Hollywood with the original Japanese director at the helm, who made the original Japanese film Ju-On, which was later remade into English as The Grudge. But this sequel is not the copy of Takashi Shimizu’s Japanese sequel to Ju-On. This one is an original sequel for the English-speaking world, haunted by a family of Japanese ghosts.
It was probably a good idea to try an original sequel (written by Stephen Susco), but the end product looks like ‘been there seen that.’ Remember the 2002 movie The Ring. That was wonderful. The Grudge in 2004 offered a heighten version of the horror mythology of Japan and it was an instant hit (judged by the popularity of its video game version). But the new film offers nothing new.
If for some weird reasons you haven’t seen those aforementioned films, this one is worth a try, it might just be scary for you. But then, if you haven’t seen the original, you might find this movie trifle difficult to understand, with three different stories set in different time zones going on at the same time, all haunted by the ghost of Kayako Saeki, her son, his cat and her husband, who killed them all at the first place.
That story was told in the first film and this one follows the trail of Aubrey Davis (Amber Tamblyn), who arrived at Tokyo to find her sister all going mad (Sarah Michelle Gellar, the only survivor of the first film). After much haunting visuals and creepy soundtracks, Aubrey is dead, so are two of the three school-going girls, who happened to visit the haunted house, till the ghosts decide to visit Chicago and kill an all American family, except for one survivor, Jack. Why? Because The Grudge 3 is already in pipeline.
If you dig horrific deaths in screen, the film is still worth a try, because of its slick production design, and the Japanese imagination — the ghosts look fantastic.

Rating ** ½ (Good, well almost)

No comments:

Post a Comment