Director: Kôji Shiraishi
Cast: Mizuki Yamamoto, Tina Tamashiro, Aimi Satsukawa
Advance warning: this review will indeed be loaded with spoilers.
After catching an early screening, I swore I wasn’t going to review this film. A close friend of mine, however, implored me to put together a breakdown of the flick because, as he noted, “people deserve to know the movie isn’t what the title implies.”
And it’s not. There really is no “versus” here, to speak of. Even worse, the story is so convoluted it’s more likely to put you to sleep than give you any kind of chills.
I’ve seen a few people declare the film a comedy/horror. If that’s the case, the movie also fails there. A few chuckles in two hours doesn’t really constitute comedy, in my mind.
But, let me just break the film down real briefly for you, before I massacre the movie and have nowhere else to go with this “review.”
Two girls find that old tape (it’s changed a lot) that supposedly curses you to die within days of watching. One watches and Sadako makes an appearance. The girl obviously becomes concerned with her fate and the next thing we know she and her pal are on the hunt for an answer to surviving the curse of Sadako. Meanwhile a totally unrelated family move into a house positioned directly next door to the home in which Kayako and her creepy kid haunt an empty home. Goofiness ensues for two hours and the lives of the family in the new home and the two girls on the run from Sadako come together inexplicably. A weird “medicine man” (for lack of a better term) is eventually brought into the fold to help save the lives of these cursed individuals. He decides that the only way to ensure the young cursed ladies survive is to essentially overlap their curses: the girls cursed by Sadako must enter the house in which Kayako still lurks while the girl who’s moved into the home next to Kayako’s place must watch the cursed video inside that same home, so that the two evil bitches will be inspired to “fight” over their potential victims.
The plan fails. Sadako and Kayako succeed in claiming their victims, and after about 30 seconds of screen time in which Sadako and Kayako wrap each other up in long hair, the flick ends. Seriously. There is no battle (outside of a seconds long “tussle”), and the idea that these two ghostly presences will fight over their prey is complete rubbish. They do merge together for a few seconds, which is slightly interesting, but it makes no sense… like the rest of the movie.
And speaking of the movie, the whole thing is extremely disjointed. It’s basically a Ring movie with a short Grudge flick attached in completely random spots. None of it comes together in successful fashion. Even worse, all the wonderful dread that can be found in a number of Ringu and Ju-On films is completely AWOL. The big “death” scenes are laughable, but it’s all unintentional laughs. The moments of the movie that are intended to be frightening are the funniest of the flick, and they really aren’t supposed to be. They’re not even all that funny, either.
There isn’t much in the way of impressive visuals, and none of the dark sequences are remotely near frightening.
But there are two good things that come out of this film. First, the reminder that another big monster crossover flick, Freddy vs. Jason, was infinitely better than most of us realized upon arrival, as both Freddy and Jason actually go to war in a lengthy and rewarding battle sequence. And two, the reminder that another big monster crossover, Alien vs. Predator was also a lot more successful than most initially realized; these beasts also spend plenty of time massacring each other.
Those crossovers were self-aware films that never took themselves too seriously, until it came time for the titular monsters to engage in battle, and then they went completely nutso to successful effect. Sadako vs. Kayako never understands that fans might actually want to see the film live up to its title. In fact, I actually have no idea why this film was made, other than to pull an enormous and terrible prank on viewers.
If false advertisement is what you live for, then watch this movie. If you’re genuinely interested in seeing Sadako and Kayako do battle… well, wait another lifetime for someone to attempt to remake the picture successfully, with the intent of bringing these characters together for battle. That’s not why they’re joined for this film. This is a blatant cash grab that does little other than backfire.