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Ju-On 2

Lionsgate Home Entertainment // R // October 10, 2006
List Price: $26.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Michael Zupan | posted November 1, 2006 | E-mail the Author
The Movie

Ju-on was another in the line of Japanese horror flicks that didn't quite provide a plot filled with complexity, but it did deliver the scares with terrifying atmosphere and very effective 'boo' scares. Throw in a dash of a pretty basic story that has just enough content in it to push along the scary scenes and a pinch of a skewed timeline Tarantino style, and you have yourself a pretty good film that's borderline unique if it wasn't for its lack of originality.

Regardless, the formula has worked. Ju-On brought the ghosts with it to the dinner table and provided an unsettling meal. Film companies have twisted an old saying to their advantage, with the motto that if at first you do succeed, try and try again! So without any surprise there had been a sequel that was appropriately titled Ju-On 2.

Horror film actress Kyoko gets into a terrible car accident under some paranormal circumstances. She had been pregnant and lost her child due to the crash, yet finds that she has virtually been unharmed. It's not long before she starts to realize that she's pregnant yet again. She feels that something is inside of her, so she goes to the doctor and her suspicions are deemed accurate. She is indeed, pregnant yet again.

Meanwhile, she's been on the job for a horror project that takes place in the infamous house of 'the curse', where a family had been slain by the father years ago. The legend goes that anybody who has had anything to do with the house has died or gone missing. It's a perfect opportunity to suck up the ratings from a public that would surely eat up something filmed at such a location. Everyone involved begins to think maybe it wasn't the best idea once members of their own crew end up disappearing or dying themselves.

Yet again we find ourselves in a situation where we're watching another ghost story that doesn't sound like it's got anything original behind it. With how much has been done in this field, it's hard to use a simple ghost story without anything interesting backing it, and have it be a success. The creators of the well known Ringu have struck it lucky with a ghost story yet again with Ju-On, so why push their luck? Looking at the premise of the story it certainly seems that there may not be a way to take some idea so bland and turn it into an effective piece of film.

Color me shocked as I found Ju-On 2 to be pretty creepy and hitting the proper sweet tooth I had for some ghostly scares this Halloween. We're thrown this story in the same sort of Tarantino fashion that kept viewers puzzled for the first Ju-On, and to a certain extent this works for the second time around. It's pretty clear what's going on though, even with the timeline that's thrown into a meat grinder. I may as well be quite blunt when it comes to speaking about the surprises in this film, being that there aren't many. It's predictable and we're not really left guessing about much after the first half hour of the movie. Because we were given the revelation of how this family of death came to be in the first Ju-On, we're not even treated to any shocking revelations this time around. We get the basic idea of what happened and it's touched upon briefly, but that's what most of the mystery from the original brought to the table. With that aspect missing, there's something certainly missing from this film in content. Being armed with the knowledge already from the first though, it was nice that we didn't get a replay of everything we already knew. Ju-On 2 was obviously constructed to be viewer friendly for those who weren't familiar with the first film. That's the only reason I'm puzzled as to why this aspect had been left out for round two.

I expected the same ole' scares that were used over and over again in the first film and my expectation had not been left short. Even though I had expected the same sort of scares from the gangly crawling dead woman and her son that looks like a Japanese Pillsbury Dough Boy, I was still jumping. Closer to the end of the film I was feeling as though 'enough was enough' and I was getting somewhat immune to the scares. The ending was trying to provide us with something we haven't seen yet with the ghosts of 'the curse', but to me I just found it to be way too predictable and the one part of the movie that didn't work out so well. As I've said, with the same scares coming at us again and again, I was still freaked. Thanks to some pretty nice surround sound and atmosphere, those 'boo' scares still kept coming and providing for a nice experience. It's too bad the ending couldn't have kept 'predictable' something that was scary as well.


Ju-On 2 is given to us by Lions Gate on a 16x9, 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer. The picture itself is clean without any film damage to be seen, but there's grain on this transfer that wouldn't be as much of a distraction if it wasn't for the fact that there are a lot of dark scenes in this film that provide atmosphere. You could see the grain very well in the dark areas, especially since the black level wasn't completely up to par. The black levels aren't bad though. They're not gray and they're still able to be called 'black', it's just a matter of what degree, and in my opinion it needed some work. Overall, a nice transfer that could have used a little extra attention with the grain alone.


The Japanese versions of this franchise are a little more subtle than what the Americanized version has shoved down our throats. This is reflected in the Japanese tracks provided to us in both 5.1 Dobly Digital as well as in 2.0 to some degree. The surround isn't being used every second of the film. You get appropriate sounds from the appropriate channels that provide to the spooky atmosphere of unknown very well. They're being used when they need to be used. You keep the surround going at it for a full hour and a half, and it's no longer a tactic to scare somebody. It's an expectation as there's nothing out of the ordinary to hear. Nice job on the audio for this release. For those hard of hearing or wanting to keep it down, there are English and Spanish subtitles.


Nothing worth mentioning on this DVD! There are some trailers for other Japanese horror films, and chapter selections. With the DVD release around the time of The Grudge 2 hitting theaters, it seems this title was solely part of an advertising campaign and it's a shame this flick didn't get any love.


Ju-On 2 doesn't bring anything new to the table. It's predictable and there's nothing here in content that really furthers any revelations, and you would think that you may want to keep away from this film based on those comments alone. Surprisingly though, Ju-On 2 does exactly what it sets out to do, and that's provide 'boo' scare after 'boo' scare to the point where you can't believe you're still falling for the same old tricks over and over again. There are some great shots and effects here that really make the entire ghost aspect of this flick work incredibly well, and with the chilling atmosphere due to terrific sound and lighting, this is one to definitely check out. I'd say rent this title, and I'm pretty close to being able to say I 'recommend' this title by DVDTalk standards. As predictable and 'expected' everything is here, it all really works well enough for me to be able to say it's one of the most effective Japanese horror movies I've seen yet. Unfortunately as a reviewer I can't give this movie any points for originality or for any real new tricks. The DVD itself doesn't even have what I could call a 'big pile of crap' for extras, as there's nothing there at all except for some trailers. Rent it and check it out, as it's definitely worth a viewing.

-About the Author- Michael Zupan is primarily a film guy, but has a variety of places where you can enjoy his work otherwise. Check for video game op-ed pieces and podcasts, and be sure to check out the sister site, Byte-Size Cinema, linked up top. This writer also contributes significantly to in-print magazines such as Minecraft Explorer and Fortnite Explorer!

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