Movies You Aught Not Watch is Nick Rogers’ weekly, alphabetical look back at the 52 worst films of 2000 to 2009.
As with many horror films, The Grudge 2 required proper viewing conditions for heebie-jeebies to take hold. Given this 2006 sequel’s boring specters — a meowing boy, a girl in need of Ricola — those conditions demanded confinement in a coalmine’s sooty depths with bats nipping at your face.
For his fourth go-round with the material — two Japanese films, two cruddy Americanizations — director Takashi Shimizu seemed only to specialize in a series of teasing near-upskirt shots of numerous nubile actresses.
Excepting Arielle Kebbel, porn dreamers fresh off the bus could sell this dialogue and these scenarios better than any performer here — even Sarah Michelle Gellar, returning to cash her check before checking out of this moribund sequel. That leaves tracking the shower drain-clogging spirit to her sister (Amber Tamblyn, approaching the role with all the trembling tentativeness of a Jane Austen role).
Shimizu telegraphs the scares to the point of numbness. Peek under a table? There’s the boy! The room a bit too quiet, is it? It’s the girl! All that’s frightening in the Zeroes’ worst ghost story is the food fed to the actors — whose pained facial expressions suggest an epidemic of farty indigestion.
This Grudge sludge represented the point, too, when the parade of herky-jerky, stringy-haired Cousin It ghouls stopped sitting well with audiences. (The first Ring remake was the only good one anyway.)
Not all the Clairol in the world could repair the frayed split ends left of the Japanese-horror genre after The Grudge 2 got through with it.