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Movie Review

The Grudge 2

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence and disturbing images

Reviewed by: Robert A. Kouba

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens, Adults
Drama, Horror, Mystery, Thriller, Sequel
1 hr. 35 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
October 13, 2006 (wide—3,000 theaters)
Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures
Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures
Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures
Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures
Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures
Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures
Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures
Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures
Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures

See review of: The Grudge (2004)

What does the Bible say about…

Familiar spirits




Featuring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Amber Tamblyn, Arielle Kebbel, Teresa Palmer, Jennifer Beals
Director: Takashi Shimizu
Producer: Doug Davison, Roy Lee, Joe Drake
Distributor: Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures

“What Was Once Trapped, Will Now Be Unleashed”

There is a theme prevalent in Japanese culture that if a person dies in a circumstance, with extreme emotion, then something is left behind. This metaphysical stain affects all those it comes in contact with. On our shores, this phenomenon was introduced into the mainstream as “The Grudge.”

The Grudge” leaves off with the hospitalization of Karen Davis (Sarah Michelle Gellar), after she tried to burn down the house responsible for claiming many lives. Actually, it is not the house itself, but rather the ghosts spawned from a family’s dying in a violent rage three years earlier. Karen decides to burn the place down, after she sees her boyfriend die in front of her. She is unsuccessful (have to hand it to the Tokyo Fire Brigade) and arrives at the hospital relatively unscathed.

“The Grudge 2” continues the story as Karen’s sister, Aubrey (Amber Tamblyn) is drafted by their mom to bring Karen back from Tokyo. Reluctantly, Aubrey takes the assignment. However, Karen dies shortly after Aubrey gets to Tokyo, and Aubrey decides to investigate the mysterious house that is the root of her sister’s death. With a journalist in tow, Aubrey vows to not return home until she finds out what caused her sister’s death.

Although this is straightforward, the film actually comes across quite disjointed. Screenwriter Stephen Susco, who used two interwoven stories to tell the first Grudge, now tries to use three interlaced stories in different time periods. Along with the tale of two sisters, the film also follows a couple of Tokyo schoolgirls who play a prank on another girl by locking her inside one of the house’s closets. All become “infected” with the curse. Finally, the film begins and ends with a story about a newly formed family that starts to notice and experience weird things in their apartment building when a stranger inhabits the apartment next door.

So what works in “The Grudge 2”? Well, I have to say that director Takashi Shimizu has a great grasp of what works visually, and the sound is superb. The film doesn’t have as much gore as the first (which was tame by American standards), and instead relies on the startling appearances of its open-mouthed apparitions. I also like that through sound and expression, the director evokes feelings that something is wrong, through basic actions like drinking of milk. Of course, the repeated regurgitation of said milk back into the jug is where things get disturbing. There are also only three or so swear words, and one use of the Lord’s name in vain. However, this is not to say that the material here is for all ages.

Besides the pale apparitions that emanate strange noises, the film also has more visceral moments. The film begins with a wife, seemingly tired of her husband’s complaining, pouring a skillet of bacon grease on his head, whacking him with the skillet, and then calmly finishing breakfast over his dead body. The original killing of the house’s tenants is seen, which includes three murders and a suicide. A couple’s conversation is brought to an unforeseen end when a body crashes to the pavement beside them. The PG-13, rather than R-rating, comes from the director’s careful approach to the material. The actual, onscreen violence is perpetuated by the viewer’s imagination, by cutting from the scene or altering an angle when things would get nasty. However, what you imagine might be worse than what would normally be seen.

Along with metaphysical mayhem and physical violence, a few other scenes raise a caution flag. One of the schoolgirls, with a somewhat dubious reputation, begins a night of promiscuity with her boyfriend, only to be interrupted before anything starts. Another scene shows the inside of a girl’s locker room with several shots of girls in their underwear. Still another in the same sequence shows a girl urinating down her legs because she is so frightened. Japanese exorcism and spiritual cleansing is also explored. It should be worth noting that this film is deeply rooted in eastern mysticism and folklore riddled with tales of spirits and demons. The actual belief system is not the focus of the film, but rather the basis.

Overall, I would not recommend the picture. The content, while not a “slasher” film, is scary in its own right, and the objectionable content would overwhelm young, impressionable viewers. Beyond that, the script and the acting really only served to get from scare to scare. And while I appreciate the style of the direction, the cheesy plot, along with massive amounts of coincidence inserted into a convoluted story, do not make for a good film. I am fine with “suspension of disbelief,” as long as it doesn’t break the continuity of the film or affect the pacing. Unfortunately, continuity, pacing, and in the end, myself, were all victims of this shoddy sequel.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—This movie, even though it is indeed a horror movie, is a well made one. There is little bad language, and barely any sexual content. There is a scene where a Japanese girl plans on sleeping with her boyfriend, but they don’t even get naked/get in bed, before they are interrupted. This movie is full of good scares and is sure to be a hit with the teens! Concerned parents, don’t be afraid to let your children (as long as they are 13+) see it, because there is nothing corrupted or twisted in this movie. It’s just a plain old ghost story!
My Ratings: Average / 4
—Andrew, age 35
Negative—I did not see the movie, but our 11 year old son went to see it with some friends. The older ones in charge did him a disservice by letting him watch this film; they were supposed to see a pre-approved “PG” movie. Suffice it to say that “The Grudge 2” really messed up his mind. The startling scenes and the sad deaths overwhelmed him to the point he has had nightmares and can’t concentrate in school, sharing with us that he feels “cold” in his heart ever since seeing the movie. I would definitely NOT recommend this movie for young children. Because of the heavy emphasis on eastern mysticism, I would not recommend it for Bible believers period! Deadly curses, demonic spirits and evil plots are tools of Satan. Stay away.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 2
—David F., age 54
Negative—Absolutely the worst movie I’ve seen all year. I own the first one, and I still couldn’t really follow the plot. Everyone in the theater started booing the movie about halfway through. It was really, really pitiful. And not scary a bit. I think I jumped maybe once.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 1
—Dana, age 21
Comments from young people
Positive—I went and saw this with 6 of my other friends opening night, and for my opinion I didn’t think it was that great. I loved the first one a lot and could not wait for this one, but now that I have seen it was kind of a big disappointment. It had a lot of scary scream in your seat parts, but, mostly, all the scary things you see in the commercials on TV is all you see in the movie.

They could have done a lot better with the sequel. It only had 2 words that I caught, hell and p***ed. that’s all!!! One part where there are girls in the school locker room in there bra and underwear and that’s it. It was fun when I went with my friends, cause we screamed and laughed and had a good time, so if your looking for a good movie to watch with your friends then go watch it have fun and enjoy it.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Heather Usher, age 16
Positive—This movie was an amazingly good sequel. Although it is a scary movie, that does not mean it was bad. Unlike most horrors, this movie contained little swearing and nudity. There was a scene in a girls locker room, but no nudity was shown. I had a good time watching this movie; we all laughed and screamed and had a great time. The “twist” at the end of this movie was amazingly well written, and everything fitted together perfectly. I advise this movie to anyone who likes horrors/thrillers without the objectionable content most movies have.
My Ratings: Average / 4½
—James, age 14
Positive—…a really cool movie. It was a bit scary at times, but I think was not offensive for Christians. …it is not over the top in scariness…
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4½
—Amy, age 14
Positive—This is definitely one of the best horror movies I’ve seen in a long time! My dad 2 friends and I went to see it together, and screamed our heads off! Not offensive at all. In one scene, a girl is going to go into a hotel for obvious reasons of sex, but nothing ever happens between the two. I do not however. recommend this movie for children under 12 that are scared easily. This movie did not say G.D. one time!!! You do not see this much in movies today. The only use of God’s name inappropriately is in the form of oh my G*d. Great movie that I recommend for strong believers.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4½
—Alex Durden, age 13