Sequels win and lose at box office

Hannah Misner

“The Grudge 2” strategically opened on Friday the 13th and just barely snagged the No. 1 spot from “The Departed.” As the only horror film opening on Oct. 13, this seemed like an easy victory. The Japanese horror remake grossed $20.8 million in its opening week, failing to fill the shoes of the original “Grudge,” which grossed $39.1 million in its first week. “The Grudge” was a gold mine for Sony Pictures after it earned one of the biggest opening weekends ever for a horror film.

“The Grudge” series’ appeal comes from the two films’ tween-friendly PG-13 rating. The series features the familiar face of Sarah Michelle Gellar, who appeared in “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” “Scream 2” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” The film fed off the success of another highly popular Japanese horror flick “The Ring,” which also fell extremely short with its sequel attempt. Gellar signed on again for the sequel, along with Japanese director Takashi Shimizu. The second installment is a continuation of the same mysterious curse in Japan that cruelly afflicts all who cross its path. The curse, which fills its victims with rage before moving on, infects a group of seemingly unrelated people. However, as the curse grows, the victims discover a common ground in their connection with the supernatural force.

“The Grudge 2” also suffered worse ratings than the original, which is typical for sequels in general and especially for horror sequels. Yahoo! Movies cumulated a “C” average for the film from both critics and users. The original “Grudge” was only slightly better with a “B-” average. The trailers inundating TV sets everywhere showcase the same kind of cheap thrills offered by the first, not to mention that indescribable, scratchy sound that accompanies the curse. The trailers are detached, piecing together the scariest scenes and trying to focus on its similarity to the original, not its storyline. The “Grudge” is simply back for more. However, moviegoers and critics want something more than a return; they want some substance.