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JU-ON 2 (TV Movie - Shimizu Takashi 2000)



Genre: Supernatural Horror

review in one breath

The following review is full of "spoilers", though I doubt these will reduce the chill factor of seeing the movie. At the time of writing this, the TV movie version of Juon 2 is currently unavailable in a dubbed or subtitled version (at least in the U.S.) and so this review serves more as an explanation of the story rather than as a teaser aimed at getting you to go out and see the movie. Word has it that remake rights for Juon 2 have already been secured by an American production company (as has Juon) and so the day may soon come when Hollywood will have its own version of the following story (no doubt greatly modified, though).

Ju-On (2000 - Made for television)
Ju-On 2 (2000 - Made for television)
Ju-On (2002 - Theatrical release)
Ju-On 2 (2003 - Theatrical release)

The "grudge" to which the film title refers is explained with an opening paragraph which appears in all the Juon films:

JU-ON: a curse born of a grudge held by someone who dies in the grip of powerful anger. It gathers in the places frequented by that person in life, working its spell on those who come into contact with it and thus creating itself anew.

In other words, this "grudge" is something like a demonic virus which infects all it touches, and them moves onto all those who come into contact with the new hosts, etc. Though originating in a particular house, we find, especially in Juon 2 that it has no geographic boundaries but may follow individuals as far as they care to flee.

Like all other versions of the Juon stories, the film consists of six intertwining episodes named after the primary victim of the vignette. The episodes, though not chronologically sequential, are proximate enough in time to each other and each revolves around a separate main character who in some way knows or is related to the characters of the other episodes. Though the episodes may jump back and forth in time, they allow the audience to follow the curse as it spreads in different directions bringing about a variety of creepy consequences.

The following are some pretty detailed descriptions of the six episodes and definitely constitute "spoilers".

1. Kayoko

Note: This episode is a verbatim reaccount of portions of episode 1 and the entire episode 5 of the TV movie version of Juon. This retelling provides enough background information for audience members unfamiliar with Juon (TV movie version) so that the subsequent story remains meaningful.

[From Episode 1 ("Toshio") of Juon 1] After a long day of teaching elementary students, Shunsuke Kobayashii describes to his wife the unexplained absence of one of his students, Toshio Saeki. As they discuss Toshio's mother, Kayoko, who the wife knew in high school, she recalls that Kayoko gave her the creeps. ("Kimotchii warui.") Kobayashii decides to visit Toshio's home the following day to see if everything is alright. The following day at the Saeki home, Kobayashii finds Toshio home alone, bruised and battered.

[From Episode 5 ("Kayoko") of Juon 1] As he waits at length for Toshio's parents to return, he stares out Saeki's living room window. In the background we see Toshio glaring at Kobayashii's back, mouth wide open, screaming like a cat. He is on the phone now with his wife informing her that Toshio is sleeping soundly on the couch while they still wait for his parents to return home. As he looks around the living room, Kobayashii finds a photograph torn into pieces. Rearranging the pieces like a puzzle, he reconstructs the photo which he now sees is of the Saeki family. The face of Toshio's mother has been ripped out of the picture and is still missing. Kobayashi hears a cat's cry coming from the hallway, and he follows the sound into the bathroom from which he initially found Toshio peering outside. After gazing out of the window for a few seconds, Kobayashii turns back in and looks into the tub. In a flash he has a vision of his hands terribly bloodied and the body of a pulverized black cat in the tub. In a moment's time the vision is gone and he quickly returns to the living room to find Toshio gone.

Looking through the house for Toshio, Kobayashi makes his way upstairs and hears the muffled voice of Toshio talking to someone. As he approaches the rear bedroom, Kobayashi thinks he can hear the voice of a woman and believes it to be Toshio's mom, Kayoko. Inside the room, however, he finds Toshio all alone, drawing furiously. Toshio is drawing cats, LOTS of cats. When Kobayashi asks who he was talking to, Toshio says nothing, but then looks toward the door as they both hear a woman's voice call "Kobayashi-kun". Kobayashi follows the voice into the hallway where the door to another bedroom suddenly opens. Entering the bedroom, he finds a desk littered with papers. A pile of torn photos are there, as is a notebook journal. Opening the journal, he realizes that it is Kayoko's journal, and in it she has recorded her infatuated obsession with Toshio's teacher, Kobayashi. In just a few seconds' time, Kobayashi has read enough to categorize Kayoko as a crazed stalker, but it is not until he finds a photo of himself with the face scratched out that he disgustedly throws the journal back onto the desk. As he makes his way out of the bedroom, he hears the sound of flies buzzing from the closet. From his vantage he is able to see up into the closet and through an opening in the ceiling to the attic. Perched slightly inside the attic, he sees the lifeless corpse of Kayoko.

Kobayashi runs from the room and retreives Toshio, carrying him down the stairs. As they are exiting the house, Kobayashi remembers he left his briefcase in the living room, sets Toshio down, and runs in to get it. While returning to the front door with briefcase in hand, his cell phone rings, so he stops (!) and answers the phone. On the other end is the deranged voice of Toshio's father, Takeo Saeki. "This is the teacher, right? Have you met Kayoko yet?" Takeo asks ominously. We see that Takeo is calling from an extremely bloodied phone booth and is clearly experiencing a psychotic break.

In his hand he holds what is apparently a fully developed fetus which he looks at and laughingly exclaims to Kobayashii that it is a girl. He then informs Kobayashii that he has visited Kobayashii's wife and that the fetus is his own (i.e., Kobayashii's) soon-to-be-born child. Hearing this, Kobayashi drops to the floor as Toshio picks up the dropped phone and begins to talk to "mother". Kobayashi stares at Toshio as the boy replies into the phone "I understand." and then stands with mouth wide open emitting a very strange sighing noise. Suddenly they hear a large thud from the upstairs bedroom, followed by a rustling slither of something coming down the stairs. In the time it takes them both to look toward the stairs, the slithering sound has gotten much louder, and there perched on the stairs is a crawling, bloodied Kayoko. As he scrambles to get out of the house, Kobayashii hurriedly backs up against the front door and in a panic opens it. Hearing a noise above him, he looks up to find Kayoko's head floating in the opening of the door peering down at him. Her face suddenly descends to within inches of his face as we hear her again call "Kobayashi-kun".

Takeo has by now placed the extracted fetus in a backpack and exited the blood-smeared phone booth. As he stumbles down the street he swings the bag, smashing it against any object within striking distance. It is clear that he is seething with hatred. As his steps become more and more unstable, he finally stumbles into a pile of garbage bags which softens his fall. He suddenly rears off the bags and backs away as if scared. Moving toward him across the darkened street, one garbage bag writhes and expands, until a woman's hand tears through and slowly reaches toward the now terrified Takeo.

2. Kyoko

Note: This episode is an expansion of portions of episode 6 (the last episode) of Juon. In the original episode no harm has yet come to Kyoko and Tatsuya. In this version of the episode the curse accomplishes its outcome and moves onto other family members. The original version is so interspersed within this newer expansion that I will leave it up to the reader to check out my review of the original episode 6 of Juon to figure out the differences.

The young and pretty Kyoko Suzuki is visiting her brother Tatsuya at his real estate office. While they talk, he tells her that he recently was put in charge of a rather unpromising property at which the entire family of previous owners was found dead. Despite this creepiness, Tatsuya must go look at the property before listing it and insists that Kyoko come along. As they approach the house located on a quiet street, Kyoko immediately has bad vibes. She tells Tatsuya that more people than simply the previous family members have died here, though she can't explain any further. Tatsuya shrugs this off, wondering what in the h*ll Kyoko is talking about. Hearing a strange noise, Kyoko walks up the stairs and sees the ghostly shape of a white-dressed woman in the hallway. The woman bends over with back facing Kyoko until Kyoko can look directly into her eyes. This doesn't seem to phase Kyoko (if she can indeed see what we are seeing) and she climbs the remaining stairs and enters the bedroom against which she saw the woman leaning. Once inside the room, the sense of darkness is overpowering (no kidding!) and Kyoko demands that Tatsuya bring her some rice wine ("Seishu"). While he goes back down to look for sake, she hears a noise coming from the attic above the room.

When Tatsuya returns with the wine, Kyoko gulps a mouthful and nearly gags, spitting it out the window. She then explains that those sensitive or weak to the power of evil spirits will similarly be unable to imbibe the Saeki Sake and makes Tatsuya promise that he will make any potential buyers drink a little the wine before ever entering the house. She also strongly requests that Tetsuya not sell the house to anyone. With this, she promptly excuses herself and flees from the house, while Tatsuya remains behind gladly gulping the sake (with no ill effect).

(In what would have to be) several days later, at a large urban apartment we are introduced to Nobu Suzuki, Tatsuya's junior high-aged son. Nobu is sitting watching television in a room filled with unpacked moving boxes. Apparently he and his father have very recently moved to the apartment. Nobu is watching a rather violent show in which a young girl is being pursued by a knife-wielding attacker. As the show progresses, the television signal intermittently and then increasingly disappears until only a snowy static remains. And yet Nobu now seems drawn to the screen and peers ever more closely at the screen until he suddenly sees something that makes him rear back in terror. As he backs away from the screen in a panic, he senses something behind him, and as he slowly turns to look, we see a dark hand reaching up toward him from the floor. The entire scene then turns to a snowy static.

Elsewhere, Kyoko is talking with her brother Tatsuya on the phone. He tells her that he was able to sell the house. Kyoko sounds quite surprised and upset at this and hurries to the house to see for herself. As she approaches the house, she sees a young man walk out. From within the house she can see a young woman dressed in a white dress staring despondently out the window. As the young woman slowly turns to stare directly at Kyoko, fear overtakes her as if she realizes the woman is possessed. As the woman in the window turns from the window and disappears from view, Kyoko's fear subsides and she studies the house intently before leaving. She calls her office (I didn't catch her line of work, but it seems to be related to investigation) and inquires on the property, requesting that Sato-kun, an office helper run the property's file to her. Sato soon shows up with the file and informs her that it hasn't been updated in over a year since the death of someone in the house. Opening the file Kyoko finds photos of the house's latest victims, a mother and daughter and a missing son, which the audience will recognize as Noriko, Kanna and Tsuyoshi Murakami of Episodes 2 and 4 of Juon. There is also a report on Saeki, who murdered his wife in the same home and whose son Toshio is missing and presumed dead. She recalls seeing mail addressed to the Saeki family while visiting the property with her brother earlier. There are other reports which Kyoko does not recognize the relevance of, which have to do with other addresses and other murderous crimes.

Kyoko heads back to Tatsuya's Real Estate office to inform him of the contents of the file, but finds that he is out. Asking for his new address, she leaves the file with an office worker and sets out to check up on Nobu, her nephew. Approaching the large apartment building to which Nobu and Tatsuya have just moved, Kyoko passes a phone booth which gives her a serious case of the creeps. We recognize that this is the phone booth of Episode 1 from which Saeki had called Kobayashii after killing Kobayashii's wife and before both met their demise. She enters the building and locates the apartment, which still has the previous owner's name on the door, "Kobayashii". Inside the darkened apartment, Kyoko finds Nobu passed out on the floor in front of a static filled TV. There is suddenly a knock on the door from a concerned neighbor who swears she had recently heard the scream of a woman and the cry of an infant. Pushing the concerned neighbor out the door, Kyoko reassures her there is no child in the apartment.

Back at his office Tatsuya has returned and is looking through the file left by Kyoko. He is interested to learn the history of the house but dread covers his face as he looks at the reports associated with the murderer Saeki. There he finds a picture of his new apartment building and learns that Saeki's last victim, Mrs Kobayashii, resided in the very apartment to which he has moved. (!)

Meanwhile, in the apartment, Kyoko has returned from the front door to find Nobu shaking badly. A strange light is emanating from the other room and she opens the door, only to be terrified with a static-filled image of Saeki disemboweling a young woman on the floor. The scene looks as if it is a grainy video image but Saeki suddenly turns and sees Kyoko and Nobu sitting there horror-stricken. At the sight, Kyoko faints onto the floor as Saeki approaches.

3. Tatsuya

Back at THE house, the new owners are settling in. Mrs. Kitano, whom Kyoko had earlier seen in the front window, is out at the mailbox getting the morning newspaper. As she lingers there, the mail delivery man arrives with a package addressed to the house. Opening the package she finds a child's drawing and a hand-written journal. The audience will recognize that it is Toshio's drawing and Kayoko's journal from Episode 1. It has apparently come from the police as returned items used in a previous investigation. As Mrs Kitano stares at the journal, her eyes widen and a dull expression comes over her face. Back in the kitchen, her husband is sitting at the table in his pajamas complaining about the coffee (she didn't buy Blue Mountain!). After serving him his eggs from the large iron skillet, she swings with full force and pounds him in the head with a resounding clank. As he lies jerking on the floor like a fish out of water, she calmly sits down and begins to butter her toast.

The scene shifts to a very rural setting. Tatsuya has taken his sister Kyoko and son Nobu to stay at his parents home. Something dreadful seemed to have happened to Kyoko and Nobu no longer communicates with his father. Nobu and his grandmother sit in the hallway, looking into the room where Kyoko now sits disshevelled and dazed, looking as if possessed. Though Tatsuya's mother insists she should be taken to the hospital, both Tatsuya and his father agree that this is no ordinary illness. They question Tatsuya regarding the events that led up to Kyoko's dementia and it is clear that he understands the source to be the haunted room of the apartment building. The father recollects that Kyoko had always been spiritually sensitive. He then urges Tatsuya to go back to the house to do something lest its evil follow them even here. "This is not simply Kyoko's problem", the father insists, as if he understands already the virus-like logic of the evil curse. Tatsuya takes this to heart and starts to head back to the city. As he steps out the door, he receives a call on his cell phone from his office. He informs them that he needs to stop by the Kitano house before returning. The office girl then asks what she should tell his sister Kyoko who is at the office waiting. To this Tatsuya can only exclaim "What are you saying?" and promptly hangs up in fear. We see that it is indeed a Kyoko-like figure waiting in his office. As the office girl tells Kyoko that Tatsuya will be delayed, Kyoko acknowledges and then disappears from sight.

At the Kitano house, Tatsuya is welcomed in by Mrs Kitano. When asked where Mr Kitano is, she explains that he had left early this morning. While admiring the newly decorated rooms, Tastuya finds the drawing by Toshio, with the name "Saeki" scribbled on it. As he asks about the drawing, we see Mrs Kitano's head bow lowly until it lays limp off her neck. She explains that the drawing is from the child of the house and that the child hates the new decoration. As he looks at her he notices the creepy bent neck as she repeats that her husband had left early that morning.

Back the the Suzuki parents' home, the mother is sitting in the hallway looking into the room where Kyoko is sitting. Now the mother is laughing hysterically, repeating "Kyoko is smiling!". It is clear that the mother is slowly going insane. In the next room, the father is growing worried about his wife when he suddenly hears a cat cry from behind the shoji screen. Opening up the paper sliding doors, he sees the white face of a child peering up through the floor, screaming like a cat. In a panic he falls back and attempts to flee the room. Along the sill of the wall we can see that all the ancestral pictures now appear to be of a woman with long black hair dressed in white. As he reaches the hallway, he sees that his wife is now on her knees with her head caught in the opening of the door leading into Kyoko's room. She laughs wildly until she slumps backward onto the floor in silence. Inside the room we see a very pale, dark eyed Kyoko slowly rocking a doll back and forth.

Back at the Kitano's home, Tatsuya is getting freaked out to the point of excusing himself when he suddenly sees the journal. As he picks it up, Mrs Kitano says slowly "That is my journal" and stands to her feet, her head still limply swinging from her neck. He is scared by her appearance. His cell phone suddenly rings and upon answering it hears only the cry of a cat. From behind the lurching woman Tatsuya can see a small white boy seated on the couch screaming into a phone. As he screams in terror, he stumbles, falling back against the wall onto the floor. She approaches and kneels, crawling toward him on all four until her face is in his lap. She then slowly moves up until their eyes are only inches apart. Her face has changed to that of Kayoko Saeki.

It is night at the Suzuki home and through the glass we can see that the father and mother lie dead on the floor with terror-stricken expressions on their face. Nobu is sitting in Kyoko's room watching her ever-violently rocking the doll back and forth. The house is filled with the sound of her long hair beating against the straw floor as she hysterically rocks back and forth. Nobu walks down the hall, looking at his grandparents' bodies, and then sits in the entrance way looking out at the dark night.

4. Kanao

Two police officers arrive at the home of a former coworker, Yoshikawa. The elder cop, Kanao Yuuzu is accompanied by a younger apprentice Izuka. They are there to check up on Yoshikawa who had succumbed to a strange mental breakdown while working on a case. When Mrs Yoshikawa answers the door, she adamantly denies that her husband is home and hurriedly asks them to leave. As they circle around back they see Yoshikawa sitting in the sun on his back proch. He is disheveled and talking to himself. When he sees the two standing there, he cries out in terror. His screams are that of a child. His wife tends to the terrified man and begs the police to leave.

As Nobu is walking back from school, the two police sit in their car watching. They are recalling how only one month ago Nobu's father and mother had committed suicide and that he had lived in the same apartment in which Kobayashii's wife had been killed. Kobayashii himself was found dead in the Saeki house, after which the entire Murakami family was either killed, committed suicide or went missing. "Only this boy has emerged without incident". It seems that Yoshikawa had been working on the previous murders when he lost his mind. "He saw a strange photograph before going crazy" Kanao tells Izuka.

Back at the station, Yuzu finds the photograph which Yoshikawa saw last. It is a photo of Mrs Kitano as she stands in her living room window looking out. "Who does she look like?" It becomes clear that Mrs Kitano looks strikingly like Kayoko Saeki in the picture. Kanao then defiantly burns the picture in an attempt to destroy any harmful effect the photo might hold. As the photo burns in the hallway ashtray, Kanao re-enters the evidence room, leaving Izuka out in the hall.

At the Yoshikawa home, the disturbed Mr Yoshikawa sits huddled in his bedroom staring up at the ceiling. His wife enters and tries to get him to settle down, but then she herself senses something in the room. Looking up at the celilng she sees the huge face of Kayoko peering down, eyes moving wildly back and forth. She screams and huddles in the corner alongside her husband.

In the station hallway, Izuka is reviewing the Saeki file when a young woman cadet glances at the picture of Kayoko and exclaims that the woman was just here. Izuka is incredulous and asks if the cadet is not mistaken. When she claims she is sure, he informs her that she has been dead several years. "Then who did I see?". Suddenly Kanao screams from the other room and comes running out hysterically into the hallway. He cannot speak intelligibly, but can only point at the room and stammer. They sit him down and then both proceed into the office to check things out. From Kanao's seat in the hall, he can sense her presence and looking down toward the floor suddenly sees Kayoko's head emerge from between his legs.

5. Nobuya

It is torrentially raining and the school day has ended. Still in the classroom, however, are five students assigned to clean the room. One of the students is Nobu Suzuki. He stands alone in the classroom peering out the window into the rain. In the middle of the school yard he sees the lone figure of Kayoko standing in the downpour. Before he can react she is suddenly pounding on the second floor window and thrusts the window open. She slithers into the room and across the floor to Nobu. The room is now dark and his classmates are nowhere to be found. He runs out of the room and down the hall, but the quickly slithering Kayoko is not far behind. He descends a flight of stairs but as he rounds the corner, Kayoko's head eerily peers out and begins pursuit. Now he is being pursued by two slithering Kayokos. The last remaining door he can escape through is locked and he drops the the floor in terror as the two Kayokos approach. The scene changes and Nobu sits slumped on the floor of a classroom with Kayoko sitting next to him. Through the windows we can see that the sky has turned pitch black. Clammering and clawing against the windows as if they want to get in are 100 Kayokos. Nobu's face has turned death white and his eyes gaze wide open. Outside in the schoolyard, a myriad of other Kayokos stand in the rain creepily swaying back and forth, croaking loudly into the air.

6. Saori

From outside the Saeki/Murakami/Kitano house, we can see that the entire property is boarded up and abandoned. We can hear, however, the laughing voices of high school girls and watch as one of the upstairs windows is opened in the room that would have been Kayoko's. They have apparently snuck into the house. We listen from outside as the giggling girls locate a bottle of sake in the room. One girl, Saori, opens it and takes a gulp, only to cough violently and spit it out, exclaiming that it isn't sake. We then hear the sound of glass breaking, a deep, loud croaking, and the cry of a cat.

The End?

cultural interest violence sex strangeness
Genuine creepy sequel to a genuine creepy prequel. This is definintely one which will make its way to the US. The most graphic scene involves Takeo Saeki in the phone booth. Other than that no real gore Good luck, lover boy! Although for a minute there it looked like creepy Mrs Kitano was going down on Tatsuya! This is definitely one to see if you have the chance. There will certainly be some creepiness headed your way!


So many questions still left unanswered from the first installment....

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