Following the success of The Ring, the 2000’s saw a boom of American remakes of Asian horror classics. This wave of remakes included The Eye, One Missed Call, The Uninvited, Pulse, Shutter, and of course The Grudge, which along with The Ring were the only two of these remakes to spawn multiple American made sequels.
15 years ago today, The Grudge 2 was released in theaters, and it came and went with not much fanfare or lasting relevance. However, it doesn’t get as much credit as it deserves. As far as horror movies (and sequels) go, it actually went into really interesting and unique directions.
So in honor of its 15th anniversary, we thought The Grudge 2 deserved a reevaluation, specifically of the creative and unique story choices it made that set itself apart from other horror films.
Absurdly Awesome Opening
Right off the bat, the movie opens with a tense scene between a husband and wife. We later learn that they’re dealing with the effects of Kayako’s curse (all the way in Chicago). But the scene itself feels cliche at first, but takes an immediate subversion as the wife pours hot bacon grease on the husband’s head and bludgeons him with the frying pan.
Upon first viewing, I burst into laughter in the theater, which is a testament to how memorable this scene is, as well as the film’s determination to veer off familiar tropes and do it’s own thing. It serves as the perfect opening for the bizarrely creative movie that follows.
Viral Spin on Haunted House
What The Grudge series is really known for is the incredibly haunted house that seems to project a curse onto anyone who enters. This of course being a staple of all haunted house movies, which often prompts audiences to question why the characters don’t simply leave the house.
The first Grudge film already established that once a person has been in the house, they are now cursed, even long after they leave. However, where the sequel really goes into new directions is in how the curse spreads.
For the first time, we see someone enter the house in Tokyo, and go back to Chicago where she brings the curse with her. The neighbors in the same building then become infected by this curse from a house on the other side of the world that they never even set foot in.
It’s an incredibly disturbing idea that’s almost never explored in other movies. Imagine getting cursed because someone you know went to a haunted house and brought it back to you. The way that this movie treats the curse like a contagious virus continues throughout the franchise, but it never felt as frightening or unique as in The Grudge 2.
By no means is it a perfect movie, and the acting and concurrent timelines can be a bit of a distraction. As far as cinematic standards go, the first movie is definitely better. But The Grudge 2 deserves credit for introducing such a fascinating concept that takes the genre to a whole new level!