The Grudge 2 (2006) - Unrated Director's Cut

Genre(s): Horror / Thriller
Sony || Unrated - 108 minutes - $28.95 || February 6, 2007
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2007-02-12


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Takashi Shimizu
Writer(s): Stephen Susco (written by); Takashi Shimizu (movie: Ju-On: The Grudge)
Cast: Amber Tamblyn, Edison Chen, Arielle Kebbel, Jennifer Beals, Teresa Palmer, Misako Uno, Sarah Roemer, Matthew Knight, Sarah Michelle Gellar


Theatrical Release Date: October 13, 2006


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Tales from the Grudge
  • Holding a Grudge: Kayako & Toshio
  • East meets West
  • The Grudge 2: Storyline Development
  • Ready When You Are, Mr. Shimizu
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Cast and Crew Reel Change Montage
  • Previews


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, French

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

I must admit up front that I was not, along with a good portion of the movie-going public, a fan of The Grudge. However, I decided to try the sequel for the sheer reason of being curious on how this franchise will shape and perhaps having hope that it would get better. Well, I can say that even though the original mightíve been bad, it was at least watch able. The Grudge 2 adds yet another time layer to the plot while also blowing away any kind of rules just so they can extend the franchise and (try to) get away anything imaginable.

The real problem about The Grudge 2, though, is the story isnít entirely bad, but given it was a partnership between Japanese filmmakers and American producers, they compromised so much to make this adaptable toward American audiences that in the end, it makes little sense.

The Grudge 2 finds Aubrey Davis (Tamblyn; TVís Joan of Arcadia) going to Tokyo, at the behest of her bed-ridden mother, to bring her sister, Karen (Gellar; TVís Buffy the Vampire Slayer), home. As you may recall, we last saw Karen as the curse was about to grab her in the hospital. Apparently, even grudges donít get the job done as Karen is still in the hospital under police supervision for burning down the haunted house and killing her boyfriend.

Meanwhile, in two seemingly separate storylines, one has high school outcast Allison (Kebbel; John Tucker Must Die) getting her own nice grudge to deal while the other story takes place in Chicago where somehow the grudge has taken over an apartment complex. Why Chicago? Well, you know what they say: first Chicago, then Florida -- because old people seem to always be grudged for some reason --, then the world!

Like the original, however, this so-called horror-thriller failed to either thrill or scare me. In fact, I found myself laughing during moments that obviously the filmmakers felt was supposed to be serious. I canít say anything bad about Amber Tamblyn or any of the others since the screenplay itself was poor, so in this case, they get a pass.

Director Takashi Shimizu returns to helm this sequel and I do give him some props for providing a better atmosphere than most Americanized -- bastardized -- Japanese remakes (Pulse comes to mind) yet once again, the story, by Stephen Susco (writer of the original), doesnít meld well with that style.

Of course, if you really liked the original Grudge, I presume you will also enjoy the sequel. Myself, I found most of it hard to follow because I knew little about these characters (nor cared about them) and once the reveal is made, it came across more dumb than shocking.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Tales from the Grudge - This is a three-part short film from an up-and-coming director as it expands more on the spread of the curse. Sam Raimi introduces these short films. Somehow these are even more ridiculous than the stuff seen in the feature film. Together they run close to 7 minutes.

Cast and Crew Reel Change Montage (8:00) - Just as it sounds, itís the crew having a little fun with the clapper board set against the ďspookyĒ music from the movie.

Holding a Grudge: Kayako & Toshio (10:00) - The featurette covers casting the parts for the grudge boy and girl, where the director found them and why he wanted them in the movie. Also features comments from the cast and crew talking about the actress playing Kayako and how different she is. The actress talks about where she goes to find the character of Kayako. From what I gathered both the actors who played Kayako and Toshio were used in some fashion for the original Juon Japanese movies. The kid actor who plays Toshio finishes the featurette talking about the Grudge 2 poser (with the ď2Ē in his eye) and not wanting it in his bedroom.

East Meet West (11:57) - Takes off from the beginning, the original, as producers tried to sell the film to studios who were hesitant due to the story. The crew also discusses why Japanese horror movies are now so popular in the West and also why this type of horror is about the thrills and anticipation rather than blood and gore. The most interesting aspect of this featurette are the traditions working on the Japanese set versus one in North America (shrines, respect for the space, etc).

The Grudge 2: Storyline Development (11:20) - This featurette actually helps me understand why the story seemed to confusing at times. The problem was you had American producers having one idea for the story while the Japanese filmmakers had something entirely different in mind. So, compromises had to be made and I think in that, the story became more confusing than it needed to be at times. Iím all for a different take on these Japanese horror remakes, but the two culture are very hard to mesh together.

Ready When You Are, Mr. Shimizu (13:04) - Your basic profile featurette has the cast and crew members talk about the director, his style and how it was working with him. You get a better look at the behind-the-scenes action and how the actors worked with him. Shimizu also talks about he directs the actors, liking to be quiet and let them do the scene and then interject if he wants something different.

Deleted Scenes (12:20) - There are 5 deleted scenes including an alternate ending (and epilogue). The scenes themselves actually wouldíve the movie more confusing (one blends two of the storylines together). The alternate ending is only slightly different. The boy in Chicago (Jake) after seeing Allison in the hallway goes into her parentís apartment to find the two dead and afterward, the grudge chick comes slurtching down the hallway going after Allison where it then fades to black. This is then followed with an epilogue as Mrs. Davis gets a package from Aubrey which includes Karenís clothes and the grudge book. You can guess what happens next...

There are also previews for other Sony movies.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

While the sound wasnít as strong as I wouldíve liked (it did scare my cat, however), the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is more than suitable for the movie. A French 5.1 track is also available.

Grudge 2 is presented in anamorphic widescreen and 1.85 OAR. Everything looks as it probably did in the theater with a darker tone mixed in with, at times, grainy elements for certain scenes.



.::OVERALL::.

The Grudge 2, even without the sub-par screenplay, still a bad movie with little to no entertainment value and one that doesnít offer anything except dark rooms and characters we donít know or care about.

The DVD Sony put together is OK and I give them props for releasing the unrated edition right out of the box, but I do wonder if another isnít around the bend when The Grudge 3 comes out in a couple years. If anything, I wouldíve loved to have heard Sam Raimi (executive producer) record another commentary -- heís done one of the theatrical version of the original and another for Ju-On: The Grudge -- so it was disappointing on that front.