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  Grudge 2, The Hate Spreads
Year: 2006
Director: Takashi Shimizu
Stars: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Amber Tamblyn, Arielle Kebbel, Takako Fuji, Edison Chen, Sarah Roemer, Matthew Knight, Misako Uno, Teresa Palmer, Ohga Tanaka, Yuya Ozeki, Jennifer Beals, Christopher Cousins, Zen Kajihara, Takashi Matsuyama, Joanna Cassidy
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: There's a longstanding rumour about this old, burned out house in the middle of Tokyo that it is cursed, and anyone who enters there does so at their own risk of being subjected to supernatural torment from beyond the grave as the spirits of those who died in the building cannot help but spread their dire ill-fortune to anyone who comes into contact with them. It's generally regarded as an urban myth, which is why these two schoolgirls, Vanessa (Teresa Palmer) and Miyuki (Misako Uno) coax outcast classmate Allison (Arielle Kebbel) into the place to spook her...

Which will be the biggest mistake of their young lives, naturally in this, yet another instalment in the Ju-on: The Grudge series which had begun with a straight to video feature in Japan, then rode the wave of J-horror popularity to see its creator and usual director Takashi Shimizu make something of his own personal industry of these films. But this, the second co-production with Hollywood after The Grudge was brought out, proved to be the point where he finally moved on as all he had to do with the third one was an executive producer credit as he felt he wanted to expand his interests into other areas of film.

Which should really make his send-off from the franchise which made his name, no matter how much it owed to contemporaries such as Ringu, something special rather than a joke whose retelling was wearing thin. There are still those who saw this at an impressionable age who will tell you it was as strong an entry in the series as one of the purely Japanese originals, but the truth was Shimizu was running out of ideas, as no matter how often the contemplation the curse could conceivably spread throughout the world like a virus, the possibility of the films doing the same was subject to the law of diminishing returns. Which boiled down to, been there, done that, seen it all before.

With an international cast as the previous film had enjoyed, geographically things moved further afield to take in locations in the United States as the various plot strands are intertwined. This left The Grudge 2 resembling one of those British Amicus horror anthologies of the sixties and seventies except with the themed stories more carefully integrated together: the motif of the ruined house remained, but aside from that the connection between the characters did not tie up until the end, which saw them meet their respective fates thanks to the apparitions of the murdered woman Kayako (Takako Fuji) and her son Toshio, usually involving some kind of long, black hair and a noise that sounds like someone with bronchitis trying to speak.

Sarah Michelle Gellar returned from before for one sequence where her estranged sister Aubrey (Amber Tamblyn) journeyed to Tokyo to meet her in hospital after the events of the last movie (so maybe you really needed to see that before embarking on this, though perhaps it was not crucial). She meets a sticky end, leaving Aubrey to pick up the baton of investigating the curse, which is a curse in itself as the more you tried to find out about it, the more you were trapped in its web; indeed, just bumping into someone who was afflicted seemed to do the trick. Filling out the cast were disgraced Hong Kong star Edison Chen as Aubrey's confidante, and Jennifer Beals as a mother who starts feeling the dubious effects of living next door to a bunch of accursed souls, among other up and coming starlets for whom appearing in a horror movie was a rites of passage. The main drawback was that very little moved on to any significant degree, with both eyes on the potential of making money out of fresh instalments, so this was strictly for fans. Music by Christopher Young.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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Takashi Shimizu  (1972 - )

Japanese writer/director and the man behind the hugely successful Ju-on films. Ju-on and Ju-on 2 were made for TV, while 2003's Ju-on: The Grudge was a bigger budget feature film, which Shimizu sequalised the same year. In 2004 directed a Hollywood version of the story, as the Sam Raimi-produced The Grudge, which he followed with The Grudge 2 before finally opting for alternative tales.

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