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The Grudge 2

It Canít Be Reasoned With, It Canít Be Bargained With, and It Absolutely Will Not Stop

Woe to those foolish enough to incur the wrath of the "grudge". Unfortunately in The Grudge 2 just about everyone seems to find a way to cross paths with it. The creepy little boy, the weird cat, and the herky-jerky mother are back for yet another round of vengeance and this time around theyíre really pissed.

While one need not be acquainted with the first film (The Grudge) to hop on board the sequel, it doesnít hurt. Sarah Michelle Gellar played Karen Davis in the original and said film ended with Karen attempting to burn down the house where a woman was murdered by her husband. After he murdered his wife, but before he hung himself, the husband drowned his son and took care of the family cat while he was at it. Hey, everybody has bad days now and then.

Karen learned the hard way that when something really crappy happens to someone in a place, a grudge is spawned and anyone who comes into contact with the place where it happened is likely going to suffer a pretty unpleasant fate, i.e. an unfortunate and usually violent demise.

This time around, Karenís sister, Aubrey Davis (Amber Tamblyn) is called to Japan (where the original film took place) to check in on her sister who was hospitalized as a result of her harrowing experiences in the original film. In short order, Karen is offed and Aubrey finds herself a target of the grudge.

The Grudge 2 actually has a few narrative threads it follows. One involves Aubrey trying to decipher the mystery of the grudge with a reporter. The other involves a high school student in Japan, Allison (Arielle Kebbel) who gets exposed to the grudge. Lastly, is the storyline that involves a family in Chicago. The three storylines begin to converge in the latter stages of the film clarifying somewhat how the affected people are connected, albeit in an awkward fashion.

The problem is the individual storylines really arenít all that compelling. There are few moments of real high tension in any of the threads. Most of the scares are telegraphed well in advance and thusly, are rarely really scary.

The body count is higher, but the increased number of corpses doesnít help in any substantive way. The Grudge 2 leads you to believe youíll learn more about the woman who embodies the grudge and you do learn a little, but the information you do learn is effectively meaningless and not gratifying.

Adding insult to injury are pretty lackluster performances from all the cast members. Amber Tamblynís Aubrey is a virtual non-entity. We learn next to nothing about her aside from the fact that she was estranged from her sister (Karen). Itís not really clear what her motivations are as the film progresses.

None of the other characters are particularly compelling either. This is not entirely the fault of the cast as it seems none of the characters were written with any real depth or complexity. When they start dropping like flies, it simply feels empty rather than terrifying or shocking.

The Grudge 2 is far from a roller coaster thrill ride; rather it is more like a vaguely frightening carousel. If you like your horror films watered down, bland, and painfully predictable, this one is a must see. Otherwise, The Grudge 2 is a definite pass.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars