The Grudge 2 Directed by Takashi Shimizu
Columbia, in release
The second Grudge movie is worlds better than The Ring 2, but it would seem that the trend toward American remakes of Japanese horror movies about pissed-off demon girls with long, stringy hair has run its course. In Tokyo, Aubrey (Amber Tamblyn) has arrived from the U.S. to rescue her older sister (Sarah Michelle Gellar, in a brief cameo), who was terrorized in the first film by the angry ghost of a murdered woman and child. Ignoring some very sensible advice, Aubrey enters the dead people's creepy house. Meanwhile, in Chicago, a young boy (Matthew Knight, superb) begins to suspect that there's something evil lurking in the apartment next door. Generating gore-free unease through sound effects and scary faces is the specialty of director Takashi Shimizu, who helmed the original series (known in Japan as Ju-On). He creates some unsettling moments here, particularly a well-staged scene involving a body under the sheets and a man in a shower, but the evil ghost itself is a predictable, one-trick pony. The finale, in which the separate stories come together in America, isn't an ending at all, but a setup, it's clear, for a third film, which looks to be something along the lines of The Grudge Takes Manhattan.