Tuesday, October 31, 2006
The Grudge 2
One of the year’s most anticipated movies, for me, has been The Grudge 2. The Grudge (2004) was a remake of a Japanese horror movie, Ju-on: The Grudge (2003). Remakes, at best, can be ill-advised, and at worst, a really dumb stupid idiotic idea, but in this case the remake was ‘remade’ by the original Japanese director (Takashi Shimizu), and the result was one of the most chilling movies I’ve ever seen.
It was the awesome use of sound that was chiefly responsible for conveying terror in The Grudge. When I walked out of the cinema after watching that first movie, I had that ghastly ‘creaking’ sound stuck in my head, and over many subsequent weeks the sound remained there. It made me feel sick and disturbed, but I loved it!
The idea behind The Grudge is borrowed from ancient Japanese mythology, and can be summed up thus - “when somebody dies in the grip of intense rage, a curse is left behind”. In this case the curse was borne of a double murder/suicide in a suburban family home. (It still amazes me how the filmmakers managed to turn such a normal, plain-looking house into such a creepy location.)
Anyway, the first Grudge was excellent and I’ve watched it many times, so when I heard there was going to be a sequel, you can bet I was hyped for it.
Only one character from the original makes it into the sequel – Sarah Michelle Geller’s character. Everybody else is new. The movie begins when two mean schoolgirls take a third schoolgirl (who they take great pleasure in making fun of) to the original Grudge house, which was not quite successully burnt down by 'Buffy'. When the two play a cruel trick on the third by making her stand in The Closet and close her eyes, that’s where the frights and blue faces and long black hair and everything else get started.
You know ‘jump scenes’ in movies, where you know there is a big scare coming, but not exactly when - the director is laughing his ass off as he aims to shred your nerves, and make you jump out of your seat and straight up through the roof? In most horror movies there may be a dozen of those, tops. Well, in The Grudge 2, almost the entire movie is made up of those jump scenes. And in the theatre where I saw it, they really had the sound cranked up, so these were rather effective.
That ‘creaking’ sound is back again, of course, but this time, along with the original sound, there are some new variations. The audio department really had some fun with this one. Ha! Ha! Hats off to them! They did a superb job!
This sequel has been mercilessly trashed by critics, from what I gather, and I could see why. The story seems to take a back seat, and what takes over are scenes every five minutes where either the scary small blue boy peeks out from under a table (or from behind a door), or the scary tall thin blue woman with long black hair pops out of somebody’s collar (or their coffee cup) - either option accompanied by a bowel-loosening one million decibel creaking sound blasting out of the theatre speakers, absolutely guaranteed to make you achieve lift-off from your theatre seat.
Be that as it may, I enjoyed the movie, although not quite as much as the original. (By that I mean the American original – the Japanese is the original original, and shamefully enough, I still have not seen that one. ... *falls on sword*)