Friday, April 15, 2011

Ju-on: The Curse 2 (2000)
JAPAN --- horror
Dir: Takashi Shimizu
Following up on the horror hit Ju-on, the sequel keeps in the same vein as the original, but IMHO with added character development and scope. In fact, the first twenty minutes or so is essentially the end of part one. Also a television production, this film showcases the horrific events of the past and shows that those events has an infectious and exponential affect for all those unfortunate enough to be involved with the haunted house. The film opens with a segment titled "Kayako", which is basically an extended scene from the previous entry. We see the teacher, Kobayashi, visiting student Toshio and confronting the Onryō ghost of Kayako. This is almost indentical to the scene in the first movie. Though it embellishes a little more on Kayako's obsession of Kobayashi and serves as a good frightening refresher for the returning audience and passersby, it's skippable for those who've seen the first film. Kyoko Again this segment is an extended scene from its predecessor. Brother and sister, Tatsuya and Kyoko, visit the now haunted residence of Toshio and Kayako. Kyoko is psychic, so her real estate brother wants confirmation on the house. She does confirm it's haunted. In the middle of the segment, we get a new character; a boy named Nobuyuki, who we later learn is Kyoko's nephew. Kyoko begins a personal investigation into the house, and discovers the previous owner's mysterious deaths. When she goes to see her brother on it, she discovers his son has been attacked by the malevolent spirit. We soon learn the spirit has also moved into Kobayashi's old apartment, now belonging to Kyoko's brother.

The next part, titled "Tatsuya", introduces the unfortunate new residents of the cursed home. The mother gets a package in the mail which appears to be the manic writings of Kayako and Toshio's crayon art. When this woman gets in the house, it's apparent the package somehow possessed her with Kayako's spirit. Serving breakfast for her husband, she bludgeons him upside the skull with a frying pan, sits down, and eats breakfast without conscience. Next we see Kyoko's brother, Tatsuya, in a country house with his son. They are with Tatsuya's parents, and we see that Kyoko is with them, but seemingly appears to be possessed herself. He confers with his parents over his guilt of causing her apparent possession, as their father reveals, he too has psychic insight, and that Tatsuya must do something about the house before he is also possessed. He goes to the house to check on the new residents, and finds the horrifying revelation, they've been supernaturally evicted. At the parents house, the spirit appears to have found them as well.


The next episode we witness two police detectives Kamio and Lizuka visiting the household of former detective Yoshikawa, who has clearly become a distubed individual. Kamio and Yoshikawa were on the original case with the family murders. They next follow a boy we recognize as Nobuyuki, as Kamio discusses the case or cases of the strange murders of Kayako and Kobayashi as well as the disappearance of Toshio and some other people. Back at the station, Kamio shows Lizuka before and after photographs of Kitada, and points at that she actually seemed to become Kayako. Kamio tells Lizuka he's off the case. Back at Yoshikawa's house, we see him on the floor and his wife sees Kayako's face on the ceiling. Next at the police station, Lizuka is told by one of the officers he has a visitor. He points out a photo of Kayako to the officer as she tells him that's she's the visitor, but soon Kamio comes running out of his office and has become the next victim.
"Nobuyuki" is the next segment, which involves the real estate agent's son. He is in school with his classmates who make fun of him for being strange. He's been staring out the window, but we see he's actually staring at the ghost of Kayako. Very soon, we see her go to the school window and get in, as her Onryō spirit torments Nobuyuki. A creepy little finale, if not a little bit over the top.


Back to the haunted house, with a 'For Sale' sign posted outside. This scene is audio only, with a still shot on the house, as we hear two girls who apparently have snuck into the property. This final episode ties into the next film; the theatrical "Ju-On: The Grudge".