Me I love a monster mash up however as I discussed in my Lake Placid vs Anaconda review often horror cross overs don’t work adding two amazing movies together and equaling a negative amount of entertainment. This is not the case with Sadako vs. Kayako.
The special ingredients it seems is insanity as the movie based on the legends and ghosts from both the Ju-on/Grudge and Ring series of horror films flies along from the start almost as if you were watching two separate sequels simultaneously.
On one hand we have Sadako’s tale of VHS vengeance which has evolved into a ghost story told amongst school kids and university students and of particular interest to professor Morishige (Masahiro Komoto) who teaches a class in urban legends.
Morishige is convinced of all the legends Sadako’s could be true so when two of his students Yuri Kurahashi (Mizuki Yamamoto) and Natsumi Ueno (Aimi Satsukawa) stumble across the actual tape in an old VHS player they have purchased he leaps at the chance to experience it himself.
Meanwhile high school student Suzuka Takagi (Tina Tamashiro) who has recently moved nearby the house where the original Kayako Saeki appeared begins to dream of being inside the creepy cursed building where the grudge began. When walking home one day she sees three boys challenging another to enter the creepy building and after more terrible nightmares she goes to find the youths entering Kayako’s doomed domain unaware of the cursed consequences.
With Suzuka now a target of Kayako and Yuri and Natsumi in Sadako’s sights it takes the arrival of kick ass psychic demon hunter Keizo (Masanobu Ando) and his young blind paranormal companion Tamao (Mai Kikuchi) to concoct a plan so crazy it just might just work bringing both girl ghosts together in attempt to rid the world of both of them once and for all.
With a brilliant set up infused along the way with some truly terrifying moments recreating the best jumps from both The Ring and The Grudge Sadako vs. Kayako is all out horror entertainment reminding its audience why these two film series and their central supernatural killers with their instantly recognizable long black hair and disjointed limbs have become such iconic characters.
Written and directed by Kôji Shiraishi who does an excellent job there is no end of chilling set pieces and extreme gore and the urban legend idea reminiscent of Candyman is an excellent mutation to the mythos of the movies. The film starts quit seriously building tension and terror till the arrival of the cartoonish yet wonderful Keizo and Tamao who usher in the more fun filled third act.
Descending into more ridiculous territory as it goes Sadako vs. Kayako explodes into its final act delivering on the specter slamming spectacle we have been billed all along. Sadly however it falls short in the last few moments on perfection by become a bit too greedy to keep up both franchises.
By far one of the best if not the best horror cross over, Sadako vs. Kayako provides plenty of shocks frightfully forcing you to remember how scary the original movies were while also expanding on both legends and finally giving the viewer the J-Horror monster brawl they were crawling out of their TV to see.
SADAKO VS KAYAKO will be released exclusively on SHUDDER on 26 January 2017