This is another one of those films that I was a little surprised wasn’t R. I totally would have guessed that it was the whole time so I’ll give it some props for restraining itself. Unfortunately, that wasn’t nearly enough to turn this into a good film and it’s just as terrible as you would expect. It makes all of the usual horror film mistakes and you will question why this film even exists.
Burning the house in film 1 didn’t really accomplish anything since the Grudge is basically all powerful. Aubrey heads over to the hospital to visit the protagonist from the first film and in this way she gets to say her final goodbyes before the Grudge catches up to them. A reporter by the name of Eason shows up to let Aubrey know what is happening and then they basically acknowledge that they’re also doomed. In another plot, a girl named Allison is thrown into a closet by her classmates and that is where she comes into contact with the Grudge. It quickly takes care of her classmates along with the principal and then finishes off Allison at the end of the film. The third plot involves a little kid who makes the big mistake of getting in the Grudge’s way and is knocked off. The Grudge: 3 Everyone else: 0
To ensure that you don’t really know what is happening, the film’s 3 plots all happen simultaneously although there is around a 2 year gap between two plots and the third is actually a direct sequel, but the film doesn’t let you know that until the very end. It’s not as if it matters all that much though since the Grudge gets everyone in the end. You watch most horror films with the general understanding that the heroes are doomed. Even if they win, they will die in the twist ending or be corrupted. That’s not fine and I dislike just about all horror films, but this one takes it to the extreme as everyone and their families are also taken out. If you even know anyone who knows the Grudge then you’re doomed.
See, it can exert an evil aura which turns people evil. It mind controls one person into murdering someone else and then does the same thing for a bunch of other people. Some victims it decides to let live for a few months or even years in some cases so they can meet other people and expand its sphere of influence. Keep in mind that this is just for fun though as it can just go and destroy someone whenever it wants too. One character was able to live for months only for the Grudge to appear from inside of her sweater and take her to the underworld. It could do so at any time, but just wanted to prolong the whole thing.
It’s rather depressing if you think about it. I haven’t seen the film in a while so I probably can’t even remember how bad it was, but I remember enough for it to get a fairly low score as it is. There is animal violence thanks to the flashback as a cat is murdered. I believe that there is the generic shower scene or at least I do remember one of the characters being in a locker room when the Grudge pays a visit. The film tries to convince you that the Grudge is super scary by having the main characters panic a lot to the point where they can’t control themselves. They’re tormented each and every day and you know there is no escape so it’s pretty dark.
The film has no end to its grit either as the whole film is just really dark. The Grudge forces a family to be destroyed by one of its own and repeats the process twice. It takes out the main character of the first film in a very dramatic way and the list goes on and on. I think the mind control ability is also what really pushes the concept here since I at least like for the main characters to have their free will. If they can’t fight the Grudge and are also forced to be its lackeys….then that’s just pretty sad. The first film was pretty terrible as well, but this one is even worse. It’s not as if there’s much of a difference when you’re this low, but it shows how you can always continue to get worse and worse. It’s tempting to give this film a 0, but it never gets skeevy the way that most 0 films get. A little more animal violence or general violence would have certainly helped get it there though.
If there’s anything positive to say about the film, it’s that the special effects can be pretty good. The Grudge is certainly pretty menacing even if it is a little overpowered. If you ask me, the Grudge should certainly be stronger than the heroes since that’s kind of the point, but I’d like to see them fight back a bit. If not, then I’d like to see the Grudge beat them with cool looking attacks or something instead of always using dozens upon dozens of jump scares and cheesy reality warping abilities. It can basically do anything and that’s a little too much power for any villain.
One last compliment I can give the film is that it can be interesting. Some scenes are just not fun to watch of course, but there are others that can keep you engaged. The good visuals mixed in with the strong villain will ensure that you aren’t bored. The futility of everything will eventually catch up to you though and we can use the classic car crash example. You can’t look away, but at the same time it’s not as if you want to watch it. It’ll hold your attention, but it’s still a bad event. It’s the same with this movie, it’s interesting enough and will keep your attention, but the whole time you will be constantly reminded that it’s a pretty bad film.
Overall, The Grudge 2 is one of those films that you should avoid at all costs. Horror films try their best, but to this day there has only been one good horror film not counting certain subsections like Scooby Doo. The main problem is that horror films rely on all of the wrong tropes that hurt a normal film so when you blend them together it’s clear that the film is not going to do well. Some of these horror films are at least interesting to watch and I guess that’s a start, but what’s the point if the film isn’t going to be good in the end? You should just go and watch something a little more cheerful like Madoka Rebellion or Charlie Brown instead. At least those films will leave you with a sense of fulfillment.