Friday, March 19, 2004

.:Movie Review:.

As per usual, Spoilers Ahead!!!

Ju-On: The Grudge 2
Kayako! Kayako talaga!

For the fans of the Ring, Sadako is the epitome of fright and sheer terror. However, it is arguable that Sadako simply pales in comparison when set beside Kayako, the ruthless ghost with a vengeance in Ju-On, who happens to be doing scare duty with her son, Toshio. This blue-skinned duo have many ways of killing their victims, all of whom are scared to death, literally. Such is the revenge from beyond the grave of those who die with hatred in their hearts. Such is the power of the grudge.

Admittedly, the film only has little continuity from the first one. They only mention the murder of Kayako, but don’t dwell much on the victims of the grudge in the first film. As usual, the film is not in chronological order, but intersperses scenes so that when you view it as a whole, you see all the scenes of the film fall into place with one another. For instance, when this guy sees his girlfriend crying in fear then realizes she’s no longer there, later, the girlfriend will see her boyfriend hanging in their apartment, his feet hitting a wall because he was being pushed around by Toshio. The girlfriend is in the precise position her boyfriend “saw” her in, and the sound of his feet hitting the wall was the sound they kept on hearing in their room the past few nights. It was a foreshadowing of sorts, and an interspersing of one whole story from different points of view. Anyone who somehow gets in contact with the house where Kayako died would also die, sooner or later.

As far as scares, The Grudge 2 is chock full of frightening scenes. Whereas The Ring relied on a very terrifying climax, the whole of Ju-On 2 is filled with scary scenes, as each segment of the film usually ends with the death of the person whose point of view is being taken up. People would probably never look at wigs, ceilings, photocopying machines, or extremely long hair in the same way again, as all these things were used to scare the Hades out of the viewers. The Grudge 2 does not fail to deliver on memorable moments of horror (Although the character names do escape me at the moment.). Also note how Kyoko, the lead character in the film, was pregnant, and yet after what she though was a miscarriage, was still pregnant, only to give birth to a daughter, who was already the reincarnation of Kayako, as at the end of the film, Kyoko’s daughter pushed her down an overpass stairway, and when she was giving birth, Kayako crawled out of her womb to pretty much annihilate all the medical staff in the delivery room.

Props also go to their excellent juxtaposition of scenes, as well as their innovative scary moments. The wig was a nice touch, moving on its own, and then turning into Kayako. Hanging the guy at their apartment was also splendid, as Toshio playing with his carcass later on was really creepy. I’d hate to be classmates with that kid, even without his blue body paint. The photocopier was pretty innovative, though. Each time the photocopier runs on its own, you see an image that gets clearer and clearer, until it finally becomes Kayako.

This film was so scary that people were really shrieking in the theater everytime something remotely scary comes up. However, it leaves a lot of gaps in the storyline unanswered, especially since they still have yet to make sense of why Kayako does what she does, and what can be done for her to stop. It seems that she’s just this killing ghost that nobody can really deal with, so what’s the point? She’s a problem with no solution in sight. Allowing room for some closure with her would’ve been better, because while it was scary for the most part, the result was boring: nobody could stop Kayako, nobody even had an idea how to, and that was that. Kayako wins. As if nobody could predict that. After being scared out of your wits, you end up asking yourself, “What’s the point of this?” Frankly, the movie seems incapable of answering such a question.

Overall, this movie is enjoyable, but its predicatibility when you’re already desensitized to scary scenes will really take away a lot from the experience. At the same time, as a sequel, it did nothing to improve upon the first film in terms of developing any characters, especially the knowledge people would have about Kayako and Toshio. There simply was none, which makes this not much of a sequel, in truth.

Marcelle’s Evaluation: A-

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