Warning: Minor spoilers ahead!
When Grudge 1 first came out, I wasn't really interested in watching it. The idea of a spooky ghost trapped in a house wasn't really groundbreaking, and while Sarah Michelle Gellar was okay as a protagonist, she wasn't exactly great either. I gave this movie a pass until the Grudge 2 came out, and that looked more interesting. So of course, I had to watch the first movie to understand the second.
First of all, the Grudge series is a remake of the Japanese version (Okay, seriously, are most of my reviews going to be based on remakes?). Usually each movie is split between two or three parts. One part revolves around someone directly linked to the plot, and the second revolves around a group of innocents who are somehow linked to the plot later on.
Anyway, in this series a woman named Kayako falls in love with an American professor. Her husband, Takeo, doesn't take this bit of news too well and kills her, their son, Toshio, their family cat, their goldfish (it's not in the movie but I bet that happened too!) and finally killing himself. Kayako, Toshio and occasionally Takeo come back as spirits and enact their revenge by...killing people who had nothing to do with this chain of events.
Yeah, that makes sense.
It should be noted that Kayako is supposedly the one doing all the killing, while Toshio usually watches the victims. Seriously, do not believe that bullcrap. The kid is a little bastard. If Takeo hadn't killed him, he would have grown up to be a serial killer.
For the most part, they can only make the last noises they heard when they died. In Kayako's case, it was the sound of her screaming while her neck snapped, and Toshio heard the sound of the cat dying. And you know what? I'm glad it was those sounds. Could you imagine what would have happened if Toshio was watching t.v. and the last thing he heard was the Looney Tunes theme? Anyway, onto the movies:
The Grudge 1:
Most of the movie is spent establishing what I just explained above. As I said earlier, this for me is an ‘okay' movie. Not bad, but there's not a lot of surprise or suspense either. In a nutshell, Buffy goes to a house, realizes there are ghosts in it, and destroys the wallpaper somewhat. Turns out this is a bad idea.
Stars: 3 out of 5
The Grudge 2:
Here's a quick synopsis for the Grudge 2-Buffy is in a mental institution for redecorating Kayoka's house. Amber, Buffy's sister, is sent to help her. I won't really spoil what happens next (despite it being in the movie trailer), but suffice to say haters of Buffy the Vampire Slayer will have a reason to tune in to this movie.
I liked the Grudge 2 more for two reasons. One was that the main character (Amber) actually had some depth, and also because there were some genuine freaky moments in this movie, the photo lab being the best.
Unfortunately the flaws of the actual series are really highlighted in this movie. Supposedly Kayako is released from the house because of the fire, and she's now free to go anywhere. Or is she? She follows one of her victims to America, and terrifies a family who were never in Kayako's house to begin with. So what, did she also kill all the people who shared the same flight as the victim? Also, why do the victims of Kayako always have to be alone for them to die? Is Kayako really worried about multiple people seeing her at this point?
There's also one aspect of this series that is really, really annoying-you can't win against Kayako. Not even her grandmother, an expert on dispelling evil spirits, can do anything about her. All you can do is either run or plan to be in a group of people for the rest of your life.
I have to admit that the scene I most liked was the ending, when Kayako's actual human form looks down at one of her latest victims, perhaps wondering what she's doing. Why is she killing people again? I guess because she's evil, and as we all know, evil people have no conflicting morals or judgment. They're souless bastards.
Stars: 3 1/5 out of 5.
But wait! We're not done yet. You see, there's one more movie in this series, and it's worth so much attention, it gets a separate post.
Seriously though, if a terrible curse was created every time someone died a horrible death, we would have a serious pandemic on our hands people.