REVIEW: SADAKO VS KAYAKO

CAST

Mizuki Yamamoto (The Kirishima Thing)
Tina Tamashiro (Chasuke’s Journey)
Satsukawa Aimi (Gaki Rock)
Misato Tanaka  (Ishikawa Goemon)
Masahiro Kômoto (Memories of Matsuko)
Masanobu Andô (Warriors of The Rainbow)
Runa Endo (Kagekiha Opera)
Elly Nanami (Kamen Rider Drive)
Rintaro Shibamoto (Galileo)

A social worker visits the residence of an elderly woman, only to find her strangled by an electric cord. The nearby video player suddenly plays the footage of the infamous cursed videotape. As the social worker watches, Sadako Yamamura manifests behind her. The social worker is also ultimately found dead after her throat is slit by a knife.The video player is later sold at a shop and eventually bought by university students Yuri Kurahashi and Natsumi Ueno, who want to use it to burn a copy of Natsumi’s parents’ wedding tape onto a DVD. When they find the cursed videotape inside the player, a curious Yuri plays it. Yuri is then distracted by her phone, so she ends up not watching the footage – only a horrified Natsumi does. Meanwhile, a part-time worker in the shop where the two students bought the video player informs the owners of the shop that she had watched the cursed videotape. The part-timer worker walks upstairs and suddenly falls off the upper level to her death. The girls return to the shop where they bought the video player, only to learn about the recent deaths related to the cursed videotape.Desperate, the girls go to Morishige, their professor and an author on urban legends. Morishige is obsessed with the idea of meeting Sadako – when Yuri gives him the tape, he becomes ecstatic and immediately watches it, although the girls are less than thrilled, as Natsumi only has one day to live. Morishige takes the girls to an exorcist in the hopes that she can save Natsumi. However, Sadako possesses Natsumi and forces Morishige, the exorcist and her two assistants to kill themselves for interfering. In her dying breath, the exorcist tells the girls that a man with psychic powers, Keizo Tokiwa, is on his way to help them.When a despondent Natsumi blames Yuri for her condition, Yuri watches the tape, hoping that this will pass the curse on to her and Natsumi will be spared. However, Keizo arrives, accompanied by a blind psychic girl, Tamao, who tells Yuri that she has just unnecessarily cursed herself. The only way to permanently expunge it is to pit Sadako against another vengeful spirit so both obliterate each other. As Yuri hears that Natsumi has uploaded the cursed tape onto the Internet, Natsumi tries to commit suicide to escape her imminent death. Whilst Yuri rushes to save Natsumi, Sadako appears before Natsumi and kills her via hanging. Keizo and Tamao target Kayako Saeki to be the rival spirit.Meanwhile, high school student Suzuka Takagi starts having dreams of the haunted Saeki house after moving in nearby with her family. She later runs into Keizo and Tamao, who states that the house beckons to Suzuka. Keizo warns her not to enter or she will be killed. After Suzuka leaves, a group of bullies arrive and force a schoolboy to enter the Saeki house. However, Kayako and Toshio violently drag all of them to their demise, including the schoolboy. That night, Suzuka thinks she sees someone inside the Saeki house, and goes inside herself. She sees Toshio and her screams prompt her parents to rush in, but Kayako and Toshio kill them both. Keizo saves Suzuka, although she is already cursed. Yuri and Suzuka team up for Keizo’s plan: Together, they enter the Saeki house, so that Suzuka can watch the cursed videotape inside and Yuri can see Kayako, thus becoming afflicted with both curses. Keizo hopes this will make Sadako and Kayako fight over the girls. Toshio gets trapped in the television, Sadako and Kayako appear and engage in a violent confrontation between each other, though neither entity seems to gain any advantage. Keizo yells for the girls to flee, the plan having failed.Keizo reveals his last resort: one of the girls has to lure both ghosts into the well so they can be sealed inside. Yuri chooses to sacrifice herself, jumping into the well as Sadako and Kayako rush toward her, colliding into a contorting mass of flesh and hair. Keizo is instantly bisected as a result of the collision whilst the mass enters the well and possesses Yuri. Suzuka seals the well and seemingly imprisons the mass for good. This last resort does not work either: Yuri, who has Sadako’s appearance, crawls out, emitting Kayako’s death rattle; both Sadako and Kayako’s curses have combined, and become a single entity – Sayako. Sayako approaches a screaming Suzuka while Toshio appears behind Tamao. Their fates are left unknown.In a post-credits scene, Sayako is shown in the videotape footage, now croaking and body contorting as she moves toward the screen.It’s a weird experience and while it’s not really necessary to have seen all the other movies that came before this, a little bit of knowledge will help you enjoy this a bit more. It does seem a bit muddled and you may lose track of certain things, what with this combining “myths” and all. But just the fact they did this is great. It’s really a fun movie overall.

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REVIEW: THE GRUDGE 3

 

CAST

Matthew Knight (Cheaper By The Dozen 2)
Shawnee Smith (Anger Managment)
Marina Sirtis (Star Trek: TNG)
Johanna Braddy  (Easy A)
Beau Mirchoff (Scary Movie 4)
Gil McKinney (Jeepers Creepers 2)
Aiko Horiuchi  (Rabbit Fever)

Jake, the only survivor from the second movie, is under the care of Dr. Sullivan in an asylum. He is locked in his room following several escape attempts and is attacked by Kayako. The attack is seen on security cameras, although Kayako cannot be seen, and Jake is dead by the time Dr. Sullivan arrives with a security officer. News of the incident reaches a young woman in Tokyo, Naoko, who is the sister of Kayako. Believing that her sister is responsible, she travels to Chicago.

The apartment building where Jake lived is under renovation. Of the few residents who remain, some glimpse Toshio. One is drowned by Takeo Saeki and is never again seen. Dr. Sullivan, while investigating Jake’s death, speaks with residents and finds that others have seen the little boy of whom Jake spoke.

Naoko moves in as attacks continue against the residents and anyone associated with them. She tells the landlord’s family that the curse now resides in the apartment and tries to convince them to participate in an exorcism. The landlord’s sister, Lisa, refuses to cooperate but reconsiders when she realizes that her brother, Max, is possessed by the spirit of Takeo Saeki, the evil husband of Kayako and the source of the curse. Naoko warns that the ceremony must not be interrupted and tells Rose that she must drink Kayako’s blood. Lisa disallows this. Takeo, as Max, realizes what Naoko is attempting and attacks and kills her. Lisa is chased by Kayako until, just as Kayako is about to kill Lisa, Rose drinks Kayako’s blood which causes her curse to disappear.

Max returns to his senses and sobs over what he has done, but Naoko’s murder has begun a new curse. Her ghost attacks and kills him. The film ends with Kayako shown to be in possession of Rose.

This movie went straight to DVD instead of on cinema release which normally tells you that the movie is considered too bad for general release. However Grudge 3 is not that bad. you like the first 2 Grudge films you’ll like this, the story isn’t as interesting as the first two and kind of repetitive but the scares surprisingly still get you completely on the edge of your seat even when you know they are coming.

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 Tatum (Sueprgirl TV)
Ryo Ishibashi (Blue Tiger)

In 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.

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.

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.

Two 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.

Several 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.

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.

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)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.