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Sarah Michelle Gellar - "Ju-On 2" Movie - Monstersandcritics.com Review

Wednesday 25 October 2006, by Webmaster

“Ju-On: The curse of one who died enraged. It lurks in the places that person was alive. Those who encounter it die and a new curse is born.”

Timed to coincide with the Americanized version, Grudge 2, hitting theaters, Lionsgates brings the original Japanese sequel to DVD.

Japanese director Takashi Shimizu made two popular direct-to-video films based on the same storyline in 2000. They proved so popular that he was able to make two Japanese theatrical sequels, Ju-On: The Grudge and Ju-On 2: The Grudge 2. A third Japanese theatrical sequel, Ju-On: The Grudge 3, is possibly in production.

In 2004, America came calling and a American version of the Grudge was commissioned and starred Sarah Michelle Gellar and it proved so popular (made a lot of money at the box office) that a sequel was put into production and recently opened in theaters. All Japanese and American films have been directed by Shimizu.

Ju-On 2 starts off sometime after the events of the first film. Japanese horror actress Kyoko (Norika Sakai) is pregnant. Unfortunately, she’s in a car accident and loses the baby and her boyfriend is badly injured and in a coma. She signs up to appear as a guest on a horror show that tours haunted locations. They happen to be shooting this episode in the house that was in the first Ju-On and is haunted by Kayako (Takako Fuji) who was murdered in the house.

Her son Toshio (Yuya Ozeki) is also a ghost and appears in the most inopportune places, such as in Kyoko’s car at the beginning of the film that caused the wreck that killed her baby and injured her boyfriend. In the course of the film, Kyoko finds out that she is again pregnant but this baby may be from the spirit world.

Ju-On 2 is not told in a linear manner (such as the first film) and is somewhat episodic. The film is divided into chapters that are titled for the characters that they are following and not all of those characters are in the “current timeline.” They’re not in the distant past, but their stories seem to intersect. For example, one characters demise is already seen but they appear earlier in another character’s story and we know that they’re heading for a fatal ending. Its a girl! It’s a girl!

This could be particularly confusing for those that aren’t paying attention. The film is also in the original Japanese with burnt-in English subtitles (so they can’t be turned off) so those that dislike subtitles may want to stay away. I didn’t think that Ju-On 2 was a bad movie, but it really just felt like a remake/re-imaging of the original than a continuation. It really doesn’t cover too much new ground (but does have different characters save for the ghosts) but does offering some interesting twists.

Some people may be tired of the typical J-Horror (aka Japanese Horror) trappings, such as the ghost boy and spider girl, but I’ll have to admit to being creeped out by one of them. The ghost boy didn’t do it for me, but when that spider girl starts staring and making that creaking/croaking noise it gets to me still - though the killer toupee was a bit much. Shimizu does have a horror birth scene that is pretty harrowing.

Ju-On 2 is presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) and is enhanced for 16x9 televisions. Sadly there are no special features.

Ju-On 2 continues the creepy pedigree, but I’m not sure that the story progressed. It seemed to be more of the same, but was still good in my opinion.

Ju-On 2 is now available at Amazon. As of yet, there is not a release date for the UK. Visit the DVD database for more information.SaraSara""