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The Grudge 2
Iím not too scared of anything rated PG-13
The Grudge 2
"The Grudge 2", Coming This October.
OPENING WEEKEND: $49,000,000
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $133,000,000
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

April 17th, 2006: After the mysterious disappearance of Karen Davis (Sarah Michelle Gellar), Aubrey Davis (Amber Tamblyn) travels to Tokyo, Japan in search of her missing older sister. Soon she crosses paths with a young hotshot journalist named Eson (Edison Chen), who has been investigating the ghostly phenomenon known as ďThe Grudge.Ē The supernatural force possesses its victims, filling them with uncontrollable rage, ultimately killing them before spreading to the next host. Aubrey, along with several other seemingly unrelated individuals, will be brought together by the horrific curse, which will claim more victims once again.

What to Expect: In another example of that bizarre Hollywood relationship with foreign markets, Takashi Shimizu, the director of the four Japanese films in the Grudge series as well as the American remake of one of his own films, steps in to direct The Grudge 2. The sequel will not be based on any of the previous Japanese versions, but will be a brand new continuation of the story. Even more interestingly, Shimizu is simultaneously working on the fifth and possibly final installment in the Japanese Grudge series. To summarize, he basically has the opportunity to make each movie twice, receiving two paychecks in the process. While the series may be ending in Japan, he appears to be poised to continue it in America. Even if the US versions will take on slightly different storylines, I canít imagine him struggling with writerís block for these projects. Working on two fronts, he is a one man Grudge machine.

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The original, American version was marketed with absolute perfection as it drew audiences on its way to a stellar $39 million opening weekend in the fall of 2004. The film went on to gross a total of $110 million in the US, but the sequel was already greenlit following those first three days. Like The Ring before it, The Grudge was another successful remake of a Japanese horror film. The story revolved around Karen Davis (Sarah Michelle Gellar), a foreign exchange student in Tokyo, who stumbled onto a house possessed by vengeful spirits. It was not the most original addition to the horror genre as it shared some of the same elements that made The Ring so popular.

Reportedly, the producers have managed to convince Gellar to appear in the sequel as well, but donít get your hopes up just yet. Her role will be a minor one since her character, Karen, will make a quick cameo only to close her part of the chapter and pass the curse onto the next victim. Her sister Aubrey, played by Amber Tamblyn (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, ďJoan of ArcadiaĒ), will be the focal point in the sequel. Tamblyn actually had a fairly prominent role in The Ring so she comes in having some experience in the genre. The Grudge 2 will have a lot of revelations in store, including a surprising take on how the Grudge is truly transmitted and whether it can actually be stopped. Prior to filming, director Shimizu supposedly met with producers Rob Tapert and Sam Raimi to brainstorm ideas for the flick. The film will adopt the familiar non-linear structure, developing several individual storylines before connecting them together near the end. The shocker is likely to get a PG-13 tag so it will probably not contain the type of blood spilling that many horror fans desire.

Clearly, since the project was greenlit immediately after the huge opening weekend for The Grudge, the primary interest here is to make more money and not necessarily to give the audiences a terrific sequel. Gellarís brief cameo, which undoubtedly will be misused in advertising to suggest she actually has a bigger part, is a perfect example of how the producers will try to lure the crowds back in. The MPAA rating will allow them to do so, but the film will be soft and restrained in the gore department as a result. The PG-13 thrillers have relentlessly taken over the box office and, in the process, audiences have forgotten what unflinching horror really is. Truthfully, real spine-chilling terror can be obtained regardless of the rating, not with what is seen, but with what is unseen. The fear of the unknown is far more potent and long lasting than a fear of goblins and purple ghosts. Films like The Grudge or the upcoming sequel provide easy dependable scares. Instead of creeping up on you they insist on shocking you. Well, you can only get shocked so many times before it becomes an exercise in redundancy. A little more mystery always helps a story. Which leads me to my next point. It sounds like The Grudge 2 will become boggled down with some of those pointless explanations and trivial technicalities, which will only slow the story down. By choosing to reveal the secrets, the filmmakers are more likely to disappoint the audience than to thrill them. Itís like a magician who divulges the intricacies behind his deception. Once you know, you lose interest in the performance.

In Conclusion: With trailers that should prominently feature Sarah Michelle Gellar, The Grudge 2 will go on to have a successful run in the theaters. However, once the mystery is revealed, and the film is exposed to look like nothing more than a mere cheap trick, it will probably fade away. The sequel may prove to be a much tougher act to follow (in a negative sense) if the producers will wish to make a third installment. This feels like a rushed Hollywood effort to cash in on former success and meet release dates. Iím sure there will be a few clever set ups for elaborate death scenes, but The Grudge 2 is likely to disappoint with an unremarkable story and a lack of genuine terror.

Similar Titles: The Grudge, The Ring Two, Dark Water
October 13th, 2006 (wide)
February 6th, 2007 (DVD)

Columbia Pictures

Takashi Shimizu

Amber Tamblyn, Jennifer Beals, Edison Chen, Arielle Kebbel, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Teresa Palmer

Total: 92 vote(s).

Drama, Horror, Suspense

Click here to view site

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, disturbing images/terror/violence, and some sensuality

95 min

English, Japanese





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