This tale flip-flops between two other far less interesting narratives, one involving a Chicago, Illinois apartment complex and the other focusing on three high school girls who stupidly decide to take a stroll through that creepy house we've all been warned to steer clear of. And unless you're totally unobservant, chances are you'll be able to figure out where these stories are headed long before the big reveal is dropped directly in your lap. Don't expect anything to make sense, of course. After all, we are dealing with a Takashi Shimizu picture.
As mentioned, pointless is probably the best way to describe everything that happens in The Grudge 2. The yawning audience watches in heavy-lidded rapture as these paper-thin characters wander around for 100 minutes or so while Kayako and her pasty little boy Toshio lurk menacingly in the background. Like I said, pretty standard stuff by this point.
Due to his increasing size and age, we never really get to see Toshio in action. Instead, we get close-ups of his running feet, fleeting glimpses of him sitting with his knees pulled to his chest, and shots of the ghostly child delivering his patented "cat scream" from the neck up. When your actor is getting too old to play his respective role, perhaps its time to move on to new material. I'm just saying.
That said, Shimizu does a great job of instilling a sense of dread throughout the film, but overall it's really not that scary. Giggling teenage girls may find something to shriek about, mind you, but seasoned horror vets will be less than enthusiastic about the picture's ability to generate genuine terror. The few effective scares arrive towards the end of the picture, giving The Grudge 2 a bottom-heavy feel. This isn't a good thing.
The filmmakers do their best to empty your bladder early on, but it's nothing you haven't seen in countless other like-minded productions. Unfortunately, if you've had the pleasure of experiencing the Japanese version of The Grudge 2, you've already seen most of the gimmicks found here. Screenwriter Stephen Susco - who also penned the first American installment - seems more interested in jacking elements from the film's Japanese counterparts than creating his own spooky thrills. Bad Susco! Bad, bad, bad! Put that USC School of Cinema-Television to good use, you lazy bastard.