Driving down the highway with her husband, actress Kyoko screams in terror when she sees the ghost of Toshio crouched at her feet. Her cry causes them to swerve and crash which leaves her husband in a coma and causes Kyoko to lose her baby. The doctor later tells her that she is still pregnant much to her surprise and horror. This film continues with the non-linear, chaptered story of the haunted house of the first film. This time round the principle characters are Kyoko, a young school-girl Tomoka and a reporter Megumi.

If you enjoyed the first film, this is more of the same. A larger budget is evident from the opening scenes and the drama expands to new locations and story-lines. The repertoire of the ghosts is also more diverse from the first film with a number of interesting new appearances and deaths. The non-linearity also deepens the mystery with one of the deaths in particular warping the time-line to provide an extra eeriness. Again the direction is great, with use of light and shadow, inter-cutting and camera movement to keep the audience guessing whether what they’re seeing is real or a nightmare, or even whether it has happened or is going to happen. The ending is gruesome though the film again relies more on building characters and establishing the mythology rather than out and out gore.

While this is nothing new in the franchise, with the story being continuous and no major revelations about the characters or really much relation to the first film it’s still an interesting watch. The innovative ways in which the characters are terrorized by the spirits and the number of characters ensure that you always have something to look forward to. An atmospheric drama featuring perhaps two of the most memorable spirits in film.

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