The next two episodes of Ju-on are pivotal episodes: "Kayako," which wraps up the storyline with Kobayashi, the teacher, and Toshio, the student whom he visited and reveals the origins of the curse, and "Kyoko," a psychic character who goes and visits her realtor brother, who is selling the house previously occupied by the Saeki (Toshio and Kayako) and Murakami (Kanna and Tsuyoshi) families. The final two episodes of Ju-on 1 are repeated in Ju-0n 2 with a slight expansion of the "Kyoko" episode and different credit sequence. The transition between the two films is seamless, and since there is no real narrative arc, this is how I believe that both are arguably one film. The details of the "Kayako" episode should remain hidden, because it is one of the most satisfying in terms of story revelation and creepy visuals. I'm a fairly jaded viewer and have lived in some violent, crime-ridden cities, but I don't remember my heart pounding as quickly as the first time that I saw the "Kayako" episode.
In "Kyoko," Kyoko goes to visit her brother, Tatsuya, presumably a recent widow, at his office. He's purchased a house to sell but is unable to do so, because of the recent deaths and disappearances which have taken place there. Tatsuya asks Kyoko to visit the home with him and give her opinion. It's really a well-located and quiet home, and if it's haunted or something, then maybe Kyoko could help him. The two visit the home, and Kyoko immediately encounters the ghostly spectre in the house (very creepy). She tells her brother not to sell the home to anyone who might be sensitive to the evil that resides in the home. Kyoko believes that distilled liquor can reflect one's sensitivity to the paranormal (an in-joke on "spirits"), and anyone that drinks the liquor and it tastes sour, should not reside in the home. Tatsuya takes a drink and he's okay. Kyoko has later learned that her brother has sold the house to a couple, the Kitadas. Kyoko passes the house once more, and the woman standing at the window is the new owner, but she looks eerily like Kayako.Tatsuya asks Kyoko to come and see her nephew, Tatysuya's son, Nobuyuki, who he says is acting strange. Tatsuya and Nobuyuki have moved into a new apartment, and it is the same apartment where Kobayashi and his pregnant wife resided in the very first episode. In the "Kayako" episode some extremely violent events took place in that apartment, and the evil which visited the apartment on that night, still very much lingers. Kyoko visits Nobuyuki who's scared out his wits. Kyoko and Nobuyuki see a vision from the recent past within the apartment closet and it traumatizes the two, never to be the same again.
The "Tatsuya" episode follows, as Ms. Kitada walks out to her mailbox in her new home and receives a package from a courier. Inside, someone(thing) delivered a freaky-looking portrait done by Toshio and Kayako's diary. Ms. Kitada's eyes glaze over as if she's been possessed. She goes into the home, and her husband, over breakfast, complains about the eggs. Before her husband can even take a bite, Ms. Kitada kills him with her skillet, as quickly as she can sit and enjoy her own breakfast. Out in the countryside at Tatsuya's childhood home, Nobuyuki stares blankly out at the fields. There is no emotion in his face, and Tatsuya's sister rocks back and forth holding a baby doll. Her complexion has changed as Kyoko is much paler and her eyes have grown darker. Kyoko's father believes his daughter is possessed and tells Tatsuya to go remove the evil in his apartment or Tatsuya will eventually die, also. Before Tatsuya can go back to Tokyo, he receives a call from his secretary, telling him that Kyoko is waiting in his office. Tatsuya knows that that is impossible, and finally convinced that something truly evil might be happening, he decides to visit the Kitadas and see how they're getting along.
Ms. Kitada is affable and amiable and offers Tatsuya a cup of coffee upon his visit. Nothing seems amiss to Tatsuya until he sees Toshio's drawing on a table and Kayako's diary. Ms. Kitada draws her head down and covers her face with her hair. She says that the picture was drawn by her boy and that is her diary that Tatsuya is holding. Under a low hum in the soundtrack, Ms. Kitada confronts Tatsuya, showing him a literal and figuratively new face. The final three episodes are "Kamio," a police officer investigating the deaths and disappearances, "Nobuyuki," the final survivor of the original events, and "Saori," an unseen character, presumably a teenager who has broken into the cursed house, who will encounter the curse anew (shot with one still shot). The final three episodes draw the curse and the film to a conclusion, which is, in some ways, exhaustive and mysterious. Like a chain letter, the curse has affected many disparate and connected people, all of whom, save a few, are innocent victims. Hence, the curse: the resentful dead who hate the living.Shimizu really takes a cue from quiet horror maestros, Hideo Nakata and Kiyoshi Kurosawa. As opposed to the visceral, torture-laden horror era, Shimizu examines an unidentifiable evil, which exists solely in the supernatural. However, Shimizu is able to make it extremely natural, as if it was just another current of electricity flowing through a home or a small gust of wind blowing through the park. The use of still shots in medium close-ups of the action makes the creepy goings on appear like the opposite side of the mirror of a Rockwell painting. Shimizu really captured a vibe that few have been able to capture. If you have made it this far in reading, I say thank you and give a belated warning: seeing Ju-on: The Curse 1 & 2 for the first time, well after its later incarnations, might take the sting out of a viewing. However, keeping in mind that Ju-on is fueled on imagination and talent, then it might possibly disturb a few of the willing, alone in their home on a dark, quiet night.