Hong Kong Cinema

Ju-on: The Grudge 2

The Grudge 2 (Two)
  • Made: 2003
  • Aka: Ju-on: The Grudge Two
  • Format: DVD
  • Region: PAL Reg 2 (2 Disc)
  • Release Date: 9 Oct 2006
  • Company: Contender - Premier Asia
  • Length: 88 mins
  • Picture: 16:9 anamorphic widescreen
  • Sound: DD5.1, DTS, DD2.0
  • Language: Japanese w/English subtitles, English dubbed
  • Extras: Commentary, making of and behind the scenes featurettes, deleted scenes, interviews and trailers
  • Classification: 15


Shimizu Takashi


Noriko Sakai, Chiharu Niyama, Yui Ichikawa, Shingo Katsurayama, Takako Fuji, Uchiyama Zeeko, Yuya Ozeki

Ju-on: The Grudge 2 - Shimizu Takashi is the creator of the Grudge series of films that first appeared in 2000 with the original straight-to-video Ju-on: The Curse, quickly followed by a sequel in the same year. He remade the first as a bigger-budget theatrical release in 2003 that was just as swiftly followed by its sequel Ju-on: The Grudge 2. Adding to the Grudge offspring is the Sam Raimi produced 2004 American remake and its own sequel due out later this year, with Shimizu again at the reigns for both movies, and a third Japanese theatrical movie is planned. Lest you should think that he merely recycles one idea, Shimizu also directed the bizarre vampire/art movie Marebito (starring oddball director Shinya Tsukamoto) and psychological horror flick Reincarnation, which were both recently released by Tartan on DVD.


The ghosts of pants wearing pale-faced Toshio and his disturbingly flexible mother Kayako continue to terrorise and kill off the unfortunate souls who find themselves somehow mixed up with the haunted house at the centre of the Grudge. After her husband kills both her and her son, they remain as malevolent spirits who seem to hold a grudge against everyone alive. After the events of the first film, the house has become notorious as the epicentre for a number of unexplained deaths

This time around a TV special in the "Most Haunted" vein is being filmed based on the story of the house and Toshio and Kayako's demise, but all of those involved find themselves suffering less than pleasant experiences, including a famous horror actress, a TV presenter, their boyfriends, the director and the hair and make-up girl. And then at the end it gets nasty...


The Grudge was one of the more impressive additions to the modern day Japanese horror phenomenon that, with the success of the Ring, spearheaded the popularity of contemporary Japanese cinema in the West. Whilst most horror films tend to stick to certain rules, meaning the people involved are only affected if they: watch the cursed video/visit Camp Crystal Lake/have pre-marital sex at Halloween etc., The Grudge bucks the trend by making everyone a possible victim. Whilst the haunted house is central to the curse of the Grudge, you only have to hear about it to be affected, an idea which helps make the films all the more sinister, as there is literally nowhere to hide.

As with the first feature, the Grudge 2 is made up of different chapters telling the experiences of the different characters involved, but in this sequel Shimizu plays with time and space making for a disconcerting watch that only adds to the unease. Seeing as the ghosts mostly decide to kill people off in the most freaky ways possible, it makes for entertaining if uncomfortable viewing. More camp in tone than the Ring, Ju-on 2 is nevertheless effectively disturbing and creates a sustained tension throughout rather than focusing on gory thrills.

The actors convince for the most part, and whilst the occasional plot direction barely makes sense, the fact that the film is about murderous ghosts relegates the impact of this point. The direction is inventive, with Shimizu skilfully creating isolation, dread and menace from everyday (for Japan) locations. But as a horror film, is it scary? As I said before, it doesn't rely on bloody spectacle as much as some in the horror genre, but there is still a focus on the set-piece, and the film is more likely to make your skin crawl than to actually give you sleepless nights. But what it delivers it does so with style, treating you to more freakiness than you would care to deal with and undoubtedly making you glad that you don't randomly see pale blue boys in pants.


A two-disc extravaganza from Premium Asia - the people behind Hong Kong Legends - Ju-on: The Grudge 2 is jammed with features. Besides some trailers and a typically exhaustive Bey Logan commentary (he seems to know all about every actor, location and obscure cultural reference), the bulk of the extras can be found on the second disc. Trailers, snippets of the Japanese premiere and Korean and Taiwanese campaigns are joined by "Kayako onstage", an odd live action performance before a screening, under the Promotional Gallery banner.

Then we have the meat of the extras grouped together as "The Curse Continues"; a 20 minute making-of consisting of on-set footage and actors discussing their characters, the director and the acting process; a 23 minute behind-the-scenes featurette examining the preparation of three of the more horrific scenes; a 17 minute interview with Shimizu Takashi mostly talking about working with the actors; and four deleted scenes running at 9 minutes. That in itself is a generous helping, but on top of these we have an extra entitled "House of Horrors" which involves negotiating your way around the unpleasant rooms of the haunted house, looking for hidden extras which include an interview with Shimizu about the US remake, more behind-the-scenes footage, links to a PC/Mac based Grudge 2 game and a text-based history of the Grudge films.

The picture quality is just as good as any other recent Premier Asia release, and the soundtrack admirably supplies all the chills necessary. It has to be said, though, that the English dub has an unfortunate UK TV soap quality to it and I have to recommend watching the film in Japanese, possibly saving the dub for repeat viewings, accompanied by some sort of booze.


A thoroughly decent Japanese horror film that doesn't fall into the usual sequel traps (despite being the fourth incarnation of six so far) Ju-on 2 is made all the more desirable by the nice fat package it comes with. Whilst not as soberly serious or genuinely frightening as films like the Ring, it nevertheless has the ability to freak you out with ease.

It's probably handy if you're a horror fan though.