Sadako vs. Kayako

(Warning: don’t watch the trailer if you plan on seeing this movie)

Sadako vs. Kayako is a Japanese horror movie available on Shudder, a streaming service that specializes in horror cinema. Shudder costs $4.99 per month to subscribe, and if you are a horror fan it’s a good deal. However, I would think twice about subscribing for this movie.

The idea of Sadako vs. Kayako is simple: have the evil spirits of the Ring and Grudge franchises battle it out. I followed the plot without seeing either Ringu or Ju-On: The Grudge, but the Kayako story confused me because at first I didn’t realize there were two spirits in the house.

A few words about the ghouls in question. When you watch a cursed videotape Sadako will appear and kill you two days later. Kayako and Kid Ghost live in a deserted house, and you will die if you step foot inside. Thus, Sadako and Kayako are based on similar memes ā€“ if you do X you will die ā€“ which turns out to be important.

The plot: college students Natsumi and Yuri buy a used VCR to transfer old video footage to DVD format. There’s already a tape in the VCR. Natsumi watches it while Yuri is texting. Afterwards, Natsumi gets the obligatory call from Sadako on her cell phone. Through a chain of events too complicated to go into, the girls meet Spiritual Medium Kyozo, who seems to be the rock star of mediums.

The Kayako story is much less complex and feels shoehorned into the plot. Four schoolboys enter Kayako’s house and none return in one of the movie’s better sequences. Suzuka, another student, enters the murder house despite repeated warnings. Maybe she’s suicidal? Who knows? There are a lot of characters in Sadako vs. Kayako, and most of them do stupid things. Spiritual Medium Kyozo’s master plan makes no sense. Someone even transfers the Sadako video to DVD and then uploads it to the Internet. Why? Yeah, that’s a good question.

And then there’s the title. Anyone who’s seen one of the many Godzilla sequels knows what Sadako vs. Kayako means. The monsters battle it out! Unfortunately, the fight scenes are dull and the movie isn’t scary. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that Sadako vs. Kayako might be a comedy.

Recommended for series completists only. I am not sure if fans of either The Grudge or Ring franchises will like this movie.

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