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Two Horror Sequels from Sony

Decoys 2: Alien Seduction (March 11/07)

Although the original Decoys was a fairly decent little Canadian horror flick, its sequel is nothing short of an irredeemable mess that ultimately has little in common with its predecessor. This time around, the story follows a group of horny friends (led by Tyler Johnston's Sam Compton) as they put together a competition to see who can sleep with the most co-eds - little suspecting that their campus has been overrun by man-hungry aliens bent on reproduction. Of course, their presence hardly comes as a surprise to Luke Callahan (Corey Sevier, reprising his role from the original) - who, despite his best efforts, just can't seem to convince anyone that there are tentacle-sprouting monsters running around town. Screenwriter Miguel Tejada-Flores' emphasis on the American Pie-esque shenanigans of the central characters becomes tiresome almost immediately, and there's just no overlooking the feeling that the film's more horrific elements have been grudgingly thrown in as an afterthought. The uniformly amateurish cast - Tobin's Bell's expectedly entertaining (yet strangely pointless) cameo appearance notwithstanding - only exacerbates the film's various problems, as even the most forgiving viewer will find it exceedingly difficult to actively root for any of these people (something that's true even of Sevier's character, given that he clearly died at the end of the original). That the movie ends with the promise of another sequel is undoubtedly the final straw, as it's impossible not to feel a twinge of irritation at the filmmakers' eagerness to crank out further installments of this increasingly incompetent series.

out of

The Grudge 2 (March 10/07)

Though infused with a few genuinely creepy sequences and an intriguing sense of style, The Grudge 2 is nothing more than a needless rehash of its predecessor - one that ultimately has exceedingly little to offer in terms of compelling characters or a plot worth following. Director Takashi Shimizu - working from Stephen Susco's screenplay - has infused the proceedings with an extraordinarily deliberate pace that often borders on oppressive, ensuring that even the most die-hard fan of the first installment will find little worth embracing here. That Susco has populated his script with characters that are superficially developed and uniformly uninteresting certainly doesn't help matters, as there's never a point at which the viewer has anything even resembling a rooting interest in their survival. And although there are several tense moments spread throughout the film's ridiculously overlong running time, Susco's refusal to explain the modus operandi of the series' ethereal villain - does she suffocate her victims with her hair? Or does she transport them to some Poltergeist-esque alternate dimension? - becomes increasingly problematic and flat-out frustrating. The preponderance of such deficiencies essentially renders the film's few positive attributes moot, and there's simply no overlooking the feeling that The Grudge 2 is nothing short of a colossal waste of time (a well made waste of time, admittedly, but a waste of time nonetheless).

out of

About the DVDs: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents both DVDs with anamorphically-enhanced transfers, and although Decoys 2: Alien Seduction is as bare bones as they come, The Grudge 2 comes equipped with several behind-the-scenes featurettes and several deleted scenes.
© David Nusair