A movie directed by Eli Roth
Woopak never learns…
Being a fan of Takashi Shimizu's "JU-ON: The Grudge" and "JU-ON: The Grudge 2", but never really liked their American remakes, I still thought I'd check out this 2nd "Americanized" sequel since I was bored and curious. Shimizu directed the first two remakes of "Ju-On", "The Grudge 3" has a different director at the helm in the person of Toby Wilkins (Splinter). Loosely based on "Ju-On", the film does adapt the established formulas set by the first two, with a different cast and shot in Bulgaria, released by Sam Raimi's Ghost House pictures. Well, I decided to check this out since the director is the guy who gave us "Splinter" which I somewhat liked. So how does "The Grudge 3" rate? Well, it is different but also very run-of-the-mill--it is a direct to dvd popcorn snooze.
The story takes off after the events of "The Grudge 2" as Jake (Matthew Knight) is the sole survivor from those events that took his family. Jake is certain that something bad will happen in the Chicago apartment where he used to live; he tries to warn his doctor (Shawnee Smith) but she never believes his warnings. That is, until Jake is broken into two. Now, Doctor Sullivan decides to look into Jake's unexplained violent death, and goes to his former apartment building. But it seems like strange things have already began to occur as people have started dying. Max (Gil McKinney), the building's super lives with his two sisters; Lisa (Johanna Braddy) and an asthma-stricken Rose (Jadie Hobson) may already be in danger. Naoko (Emi Ikehata) is a young woman from Japan, who may be able to end this curse…but at what price?
I liked "Splinter" which is the main reason why I gave this "made for dvd" movie a look. Wilkins does display competency in generating thrills in that film, and in "The Grudge 3", his finest moment would have to be a "Mister Potato-head" very creepy approach. Forget crawl spaces that looked spooky, Mr. Potato head is one creepy gimmick. Other than this, the film is pretty routine and I thought Wilkins tried to inject some nice compositions to an otherwise simple screenplay. I guess the best way to approach this film is to look at it from other direct to dvd sequels such as "Rest Stop 2" and "Wrong Turn 2", which this film is superior. Heck, this film is even better than "The Haunting of Molly Hartley" which saw its release in theaters. Let's make up a phrase; it is so routine, but it is fabulously routine (?).
The screenplay by Brad Keene is totally disconnected from the events of "The Grudge 2" although it is linked. Jake played by Knight and Doctor Sullivan (Smith) would be expected to be the film's main characters, but the film takes its focus on Max's family. There are some pleasantly creepy moments as we witness the "Yurei" (long-haired vengeful ghost) do the familiar scary movements and the sound of a ‘clicking' and 'vibrating' throat which is an ominous sign of things to come. The timing of the scares are good, although a bit too familiar. It was curious that this time around, the cinematography is brightly lit most of the time, and doesn't have that gloomy dimly lit areas, although the make up effects of our ghosts go from good to pretty darned cheap.
I suppose the cast is pretty competent. Johanna Braddy is so charming as the lead actress, and she is quite easy in the eyes. She does show some potential as an actress despite the weaknesses of the script. Now, I don't mean to go overboard, but she is full of character (as your girl next door) that she managed to get some sympathy from me. Her supporting cast is quite decent, I liked Hobson and McKinney was acceptable. Too bad Ikehata was underused, she should've gotten more screen time. I was disappointed that the ceremony wasn't fully fleshed out, I would have enjoyed a little more groundwork.
Overall, "The Grudge 3" isn't amazing nor would it be worth as anything more than a rental. At least it wasn't as annoying as I feared it would be. There are some freaky images that may interest fans of the franchise, and for the non-veteran horror fan it can be a diversion. The script is boring and very routine, but its energy is pretty pleasant. I suppose mediocrity can be passable when compared to some real BAD movies. Better than "The Grudge 2", dare I say?
Rent it [2 Stars]
Video/Audio: 1.85 ratio anamorphic widescreen. The picture is incredibly clean and sharp. The transfer is pretty darned good. The 5.1 Dolby Digital track is clear and powerful.
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A movie directed by Eli Roth
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