HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: THE GRUDGE 2

CAST

Sarah Michelle Gellar (Ringer)
Amber Tamblyn (Two and A Half Men)
Arielle Kebbel (The Vampire Diaries)
Edison Chen (The Dark Knight)
Sarah Roemer (Disturbia)
Matthew Knight (Cheaper By The Dozen 2)
Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies)
Jennifer Beals (Lie To Me)
Christopher Cousins (Stargate Sg.1)
Jenna Dewan (Sueprgirl TV)
Ryo Ishibashi (Blue Tiger)
Shaun Sipos (Krypton)
Joanna Cassidy (Blade Runner)

Grudge 2In Japanese society, it is said a curse is created when a person dies in the grip of a powerful rage or sorrow. Those who encounter the evil supernatural force are consumed by it, the curse is born repeatedly and spreads. The original victims of the curse, the Saeki family, haunt their Tokyo suburban house as ghosts and kill anyone who enters. Housewife Kayako Saeki was murdered by her husband Takeo after he discovered she loved another man, their son Toshio and pet cat Mar also being murdered, before Takeo was hanged by Kayako’s ghost. In the first film, American social worker Karen Davis tried to burn the house down to stop the curse, but failed, finding herself hospitalised and haunted by Kayako. The film’s chronology is told in a non-linear fashion, taking place in 2004 and 2006 respectively.
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Karen’s younger sister Aubrey is summoned by their bed-ridden mother who informs Aubrey of Karen’s situation and sends her to Tokyo to retrieve her. In Japan, Aubrey struggles to communicate with the hospital staff but a journalist named Eason aids her. Aubrey briefly speaks with Karen, who quickly panics, and has to be restrained. Karen later escapes her restraints and flees through the hospital stalked by Kayako, until she makes it to the roof which Kayako throws her off in front of Aubrey and Eason. Eason explains the curse to Aubrey, revealing he rescued Karen from the house fire, and has been investigating the Saeki murders and surrounding events. The two go to the house to retrieve Kayako’s diary, but Toshio drags Aubrey inside to curse her.
MV5BNTc1N2Y5YWItOGRkOS00YTIxLWI1ODEtZmE2OWU3ODZjZmZkXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTg3MTc4ODY@._V1_Eason takes the diary to an associate, who explains Kayako’s mother Mrs. Kawamata was an itako who exorcised evil spirits from visitors and fed them to her daughter. Aubrey and Eason plan to visit Mrs. Kawamata the next day, but at night, Eason develops photographs he took of the Saeki house, but Kayako emerges from a photo and murders him. Aubrey discovers his body in the morning and travels alone to Mrs. Kawamata’s remote rural home. Kayako’s mother warns her the curse is irreversible, and is suddenly killed by her daughter. Aubrey ventures to the house, following an image of Karen inside but encounters Takeo’s ghost who plays out the night he discovered his wife’s disloyalty, and snaps Aubrey’s neck.
Grudge 2Two years later, school girls Allison Flemming, Vanessa, and Miyuki, break into the house on a dare but Allison is locked in the closet and encounters Aubrey’s ghost but the girls escape. After Miyuki and Vanessa are consumed by the curse, Allison speaks with school counsellor Ms. Dale about the curse, but Dale denies its existence, revealing she went to the house and is actually a ghost herself. Allison is haunted by the ghosts of her friends, and she eventually flees back to Chicago, where she stays with her parents.
Grudge 2Several months on, the Kimbles move into an apartment block in Chicago. The young son Jake is disturbed by a strange presence in the building brought about by a hooded stranger who covers windows with newspaper. Jake’s father Bill and stepmother Trish are influenced by the curse, Bill accusing his wife of having an affair but she bludgeons him with a frying pan. Jake and his sister Lacey return from school, but Jake finds his family are all dead. He runs into the hooded person, revealed to be Allison, who explains the curse followed her. Kayako appears in Allison’s hood, finally taking her, and then emerges to attack Jake.MV5BYzMzN2IyYWEtZTEzMi00NzQ3LWE1YzktMTkwOWVhZTYyMjE0XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDgyODgxNjE@._V1_Takashi Shimizu did a great job directing this sequel, which grabs the audience’s attention with bone-chilling scenes and with moments that make you jump. Like the first movie, this sequel has disturbing and creepy images that will stick in your mind after the movie is over. The mysterious yet dramatic atmosphere of the movie created an eerie feeling of the ongoing horror and the built-up suspense, which are contributed by the cast members’ dramatic acting. Overall, this is a movie with the right balance of horror and drama, but doesn’t surpass its original.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: THE GRUDGE

CAST

Sarah Michelle Gellar (Ringer)
Jason Behr (Roswell)
William Mapother (Powers)
Clea DuVall (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
KaDee Strickland (American Gangster)
Grace Zabriskie (Armageddon)
Bill Pullman (Independence Day)
Ted Raimi (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Ryo Ishibashi (Blue Tiger)

MV5BMjAyNTM0Njg1NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDE2ODcyMw@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,989_AL_The Grudge describes a curse that is born when someone dies in the grip of a powerful rage or extreme sorrow. The curse is an entity created where the person died. Those who encounter this evil supernatural force die; and the curse is reborn repeatedly, passed from victim to victim in an endless, growing chain of horror. The following events are explained in their actual order; the original film is presented in a non-linear narrative.
MV5BMjE1Mzc5ODAzMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjI0ODcyMw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1404,1000_AL_The Saeki family lived happily in suburban Tokyo, but housewife Kayako Saeki fell in love with her college professor, Peter Kirk, obsessively writing about him in her diary. However, her husband Takeo discovered the diary. Believing Kayako was having an affair, he became mentally disturbed and murdered his wife by pushing her off the stairs, snapping her neck to a 90 degree angle and crushing her throat. He then drowned his young son Toshio – who witnessed the act – in the bathtub to cover his tracks, along with the pet cat, Mar. Takeo hid the bodies in the attic and closet, before Kayako’s ghost murdered him by hanging him with her hair in Toshio’s bedroom. Peter came to the Saeki house to speak to Kayako after receiving a letter from her, only to find her corpse. Shocked, he fled the house, killing himself the next day by falling over the balcony of his building complex in front of his wife. The Saeki family rose again as ghosts due to their rage and sorrow, notably Kayako, who appears as an onryō ghost, leaving the curse on the house.
MV5BMjI2ODc1MjUxNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzA2ODcyMw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1467,1000_AL_The present timeline starts a few years later with the Williams family moving in from America. While husband Matt is thrilled with the house, his wife Jennifer and dementia-ridden mother Emma feel uncomfortable. Jennifer is quickly consumed by the curse. Matt returns home to find the house trashed, Emma upset, and his wife dying. Matt and Jennifer are killed by Toshio. Yoko, a careworker, arrives at the house the next day to find Emma alone, and encounters Kayako, who attacks her. Concerned about Yoko’s disappearance, her employer Alex sends another careworker, Karen Davis, to take over the care for Emma. At the house, Karen is shocked when she finds a seemingly alive Toshio and Mar in the closet, contacting Alex for help.
MV5BMTQ0MjU5OTA1NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzk0ODcyMw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1734,1000_AL_Alex finds Emma dead in the house and Karen in a state of shock after her first encounter with Kayako, and summons the police, including Detective Nakagawa. Nakagawa and his partner Igarashi explore the house, finding the bodies of Matt and Jennifer in the attic along with a human’s lower jaw. Matt’s sister Susan disappears after being followed and attacked by Kayako, and Alex is killed when visited by a Kayako-possessed Yoko missing her lower jaw. Karen begins to be haunted by Kayako herself, informing her boyfriend Doug of the situation. She researches the origins of the house, eventually confronting Nakagawa, who explains three of his colleagues investigating the Saeki deaths all were consumed by the curse. That night, Nakagawa goes to the house and tries to burn it down, but is killed by Takeo.
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Karen races to the house upon learning Doug has ventured there to look for her, experiencing a vision in which she sees Peter visiting the house and finding Kayako’s corpse. Karen finds Doug paralyzed by fear, and attempts to flee the house with him, only to witness Kayako as she drags herself down the stairs and crawls on Doug, causing him to die of fright. Karen spots the petrol and manages to ignite it with Doug’s lighter just as Kayako is about to kill her. Karen is whisked to a hospital, but learns the house survived the fire. Visiting Doug’s body, Karen realizes she is still haunted by Kayako, who appears behind her as the camera circles to reveal her wide staring eye.MV5BMTY4ODkzNzcxNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzU0ODcyMw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1235,1000_AL_Ju-On already ranks as one of the scariest movies ever made, and The Grudge is a worthy attempt which has some pluses and minuses over the original. The story is certainly easier to follow and more is explained, although it refuses to be told in a linear fashion. This adds to the uneasiness we feel while watching it, but is less confusing than the previous version.

REVIEW: WAR

CAST
Jet Li (The Mummy 3)
Jason Statham (Spy)
John Lone (The Shadow)
Devon Aoki (Sin City)
Luis Guzmán (Traffic)
Saul Rubinek (Memory Run)
Ryo Ishibashi (The Grudge)
Sung Kang (Fast & Furious)
Nadine Velazquez (My Name Is Earl)
Andrea Roth (Ringer)
Kane Kosugi (Ninja Sentai Kakuranger)
Terry Chen (Bates Motel)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
John Novak (Wishmaster 3)
Peter Shinkoda (Masked Rider)
Kenneth Choi (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
Aaron Pearl (Stargate SG.1)
During a shootout against Chinese Triads at a San Francisco dock warehouse, FBI agents John Crawford (Jason Statham) and Tom Lone (Terry Chen) stumble across the notorious assassin Rogue (Jet Li), a former CIA assassin who now works for the Japanese Yakuza. Rogue ambushes Crawford and is about to execute him when Lone appears and shoots Rogue in the face, causing him to fall into the water. Rogue’s body was never found and he is presumed dead. However, Rogue survives and retaliates against Lone, his wife and his daughter. He kills them, burns down the house, and leaves their three corpses in the ashes of their home.
Three years later, Rogue re-appears, working under Chinese Triad boss Li Chang (John Lone). Rogue is assisting Chang against Chang’s arch-enemy and Rogue’s former employer, the leader of the Japanese Yakuza, Shiro Yanagawa (Ryo Ishibashi). Rogue first attacks a club run by the Yakuza by killing the gangsters and later on the runners in order to recover a pair of antique gold horses, family heirlooms of Chang. However, Rogue is secretly setting the Yakuza and the Triads against each other, in order to push the two factions toward all-out war.
Now the head agent of the FBI’s Asian Crime Task Force, Crawford is determined to hunt Rogue down and exact revenge for Lone’s death. Crawford’s obsessive pursuit of Rogue has taken a toll on his personal life causing him to be estranged from his family. Crawford comes close to catching Rogue in the wake of Rogue’s various killing sprees against the Triads and Yakuza, but Rogue always manages to stay one step ahead.
Ultimately, Rogue’s actions have gained the trust of both Chang and Yanagawa. Rogue succeeds in betraying Chang, but spares Chang’s wife and child, turning on the Yakuza. With Chang dead, Yanagawa is finally ready to come to America, where he intends to take over and expand Yakuza business operations. However, he is confronted by Crawford and the FBI; Crawford presents Yanagawa with proof that Rogue has betrayed him and spared Chang’s family, but Yanagawa refuses to assist Crawford in locating Rogue.
Later, Rogue delivers the horses to Yanagawa personally. Knowing of Rogue’s betrayal, Yanagawa captures Rogue and demands the location of Chang’s family. Rogue turns the tables on Yanagawa’s men and kills them all, and engages in a sword fight against Yanagawa himself. Yanagawa discovers that Rogue is actually FBI agent Tom Lone (who, after undergoing plastic surgery, changed his voice to obtain a Japanese accent); and killed the real Rogue, assuming the assassin’s identity. Rogue/Lone reveals that his actions have all been designed to bring him face-to-face with Yanagawa, so he could kill the man who ordered the death of his family. Yanagawa reveals that Crawford was in his pocket that whole time and responsible for leaking Tom Lone’s identity and home address to the real Rogue. Angered, Rogue/Lone disarms and decapitates Yanagawa.
Meanwhile, Chang’s wife receives a package from Rogue/Lone, containing one of the two golden horses that belongs to Chang’s family and a message reading, “Make a new life”. Yanagawa’s daughter also receives a package with the same message and inside the box is her father’s head. Rogue/Lone then calls Crawford as he is packing up his office, asking him to meet him at the dock warehouse where they last made their investigation. Before going to the warehouse, Crawford enlists the help of Goi (Sung Kang), an FBI sniper that aided Crawford throughout the investigation. At the warehouse, Crawford and Rogue/Lone battle each other in an intense hand-to-hand fight in which Rogue/Lone reveals who he really is to Crawford. When Rogue/Lone reveals his true identity, a devastated Crawford reveals that it was true that he was working for Yanagawa at the time but had no idea that Rogue was still alive. He was then blackmailed and gave Yanagawa Lone’s address thinking that Yanagawa’s men were only going there to “rough him up a bit”. Ever since, Crawford was angry at himself and wanted revenge against Rogue and everyone else involved in what he thought was his partner’s death.
However, Crawford begs Lone for forgiveness, but Lone denies him, coldly replying “Tom Lone is dead, my name is Rogue”. As Rogue takes out a gun to shoot Crawford, Goi takes aim at him. Crawford jumps in Goi’s line of fire, and allowing Rogue the opportunity to shoot him in the back, killing him. The next day, Rogue/Lone later drives out of town to start a new life.
Very good movie overall and I would definitely recommend it for those who are and aren’t familiar with past roles of Statham and Li.