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In 2002, The Ring was released, a remake of the Japanese horror film of the same name, and was a massive hit, opening the floodgates for lots of other soulless J-horror remakes to come firing out, such as the watchable but flawed The Grudge and terrible The Eye. After The Ring made a ton of money, the producers quickly decided to bash out a sequel, although they decided not to follow along the exact same trajectory as the original Japanese sequel. However, there is the hope that it might be good, as the original director of the first two Japanese films, Hideo Nakata, is directing this.
Sadly, he doesn't really help in any way, for this is still a pointless sequel that can't muster the scares or the intrigue to make it a ride worth taking. The film continues where the last film left off, with Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) believing that she and her son have beaten the Ring curse by copying the video and showing it to someone else. However, it is returning with a vengeance, and so she must find another way to escape its horrors. Sadly, it's the viewer who probably wants to escape, because this is a naff sequel that's occasionally unintentionally amusing but mostly just pretty poor.
This film will stick in my mind as being not only directionless, but worse still, utterly boring, and not a touch on Gore Verbinski's solid remake of the original horror classic. Also, the utterly dappy scene involving CGI deer attacking Naomi Watts in her car is probably one of the worst scenes I've viewed in not only 2005, but my entire life.
The Ring Two (2005)
Writer: Ehren Kruger
Dir.: Hideo Nakata
Naomi Watts - Rachel Keller
David Dorfman - Aidan Keller
Simon Baker - Max Rourke
Ryan Merriman - Jake
Elizabeth Perkins - Dr. Emma Temple
Sissy Spacek - Evelyn
After barely surviving their last encounter with Samara, the ghost of a young girl killed by her mother, the Kellers, Rachel and her son Aidan move to a small town to start over.
However, after Samara is once again released she once again turns her focus to Aidan. She tries to possess him and take over his body so that Rachel will become the mother that she has always wanted.
Anyone that tries to help Rachel or Aidan, or stands in Samara's way suffers a horrible death.
Will Rachel be able to stop Samara and save Aidan before it's too late?
This movie is the sequel to the 2002 movie The Ring. It's nowhere near as good as the first one, but it's pretty good. It's still very creepy with a few good scares. These movies are American adaptations of the Japanese movie "Ringu", which is based on the novel of the same name by Koji Suzuki.
Naomi Watts and David Dorfman reprise their roles from the first film and are just as good this time around, their performances are excellent.
There are also a couple of new faces, which were welcome additions such as Simon Baker, Sissy Spacek and Elizabeth Perkins, all of whom gave great performances.
If you enjoyed the first movie, you will most likely enjoy this one as well.
Although less exciting and less effective than the first one, I would still definitely recommend this one.
The Ring Two is the sequal to the first ring, which in itself was a remake of Hideo Nakata's Japanese film, Ringu, in fact Hideo Nakata took over the production for this film, his first American film, to try and give it that something extra that Ringu had over the original. The film follows directly on from the previous film (well,, perhaps a few months/years laters) and the stories of both Rachel and Aidan, her son. The story follows on from Rachel having 'saved' Samaras body from the well, but in doing so has let her free, and shes determined to find her...unfortunatly, Samara gets to Rachels son first.
I actually thought this was better than the first Ring, it wasn;t better than Ringu but certainly better than the first Ring, the American one. Perhaps because it was done by the very same who did Ringu, the best and original. Hideo Nakata took the role on after hearing the story and everyone seemingly wanted to creater of the legend that is Samara to bring her back to life on screen again.
Other than the first 15 minutes (especially the death of the kid) and a particular scene in a bath tub it was much better than the first, the CGI in the noted scenes ruined them for me although can be wavered and not looked into too seriously. The story was better (I know thats a bit odd since I preffered the Japanese Ring) but this story suits American horror much better, apparently it's quite different to Ringu 2. The story involves Aiden, Rachels son more and that makes it creepier, kids seem to make things alot creepier than they really are, especially the first 20 minutes of on screen Aiden were creepy as was 'Samara/Aiden' throughout the ordeal.
The acting was as you'd expect from a hollywood movie, clean, clear and very well acted, David Dorfman was better than expected and a very mature child actor and Naomi Watts was...well, Naomi Watts, not really alot more to expect, other than those 2 main charatcers the surrports were adequate enough not to look out of place in the film.
The film is perhaps creepier for me than the first since I haven't seen Ringu 2, after seeing Ringu and then The Ring It just didn't scare me much, I knew the story and they didn't do it as well as the Japanese, perhaps the same will happen but the other way around if I watch Ringu 2. There are some definatly creepy bits to this film, Aiden taking photos of himself in the mirror especially and when he is possessed most of the time, the film doesn't over run it's stay and quickly gets to the point unlike the first Ring which seems to drag time, I particularly liked the added bits of the previous film, such as the ranch, the mirror and other little bits.
Overall, this film isn't a great horror, it's not exactly reallt scary, slighlty creepy and certainly better than the First Ring for my liking, again I take this as more of a supernatural drama than a horror, although most things these days don't seem to be horrors, I can't remember the last film to truely scare me, thats quite sad as I rather like it, Perhaps the Strangers or The Poughkeepsie Tapes were the most recent ones, both are very scary or creepy.
Following on from the events in the first film, Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) and her son Aidan (David Dorfman) have now moved to a small town in order to start their life over again after the horrific events that occurred to them previously.
Rachel has now got a job at a local newspaper in order to spend more time with her son however when a teenager dies in very extraordinary circumstances, Rachel feels that his death is all too familiar. That's right, Samara's back and this time she's got her claws into Aidan...
I enjoyed the first film although it was rather slow, this film however is terrible. There seems to be nothing redeemable about it.
The director has tried to break away from very simple but effective premise of the first film, that being of course that after you've watched the video tape you'll be dead in exactly seven days. This film has been made more complicated than that. It hardly uses the video aspect of it at all which is what made it stand out from other horror movies. This time it's all about the evil and demonic presence of Samara. As she never got to have a proper childhood she wants to become Aidan in order to have a normal and happy childhood.
The plot is completely contrived, the beauty of the first film was that although it was of course unbelievable it still remained scary, this film however loses all it's credibility in which it obtained from the reception of the first film. I think this was a Japenese horror remake too far.
In order for a sequel to work it needs to have a decent storyline, this film didn't have that at all. I think it would have been wise for the team behind it to wait around for a bit longer and wait for a better screenplay because although this is a remake it doesn't have to follow the original film word for word.
The Ring Two, not only loses all it's previous credibility but it also completely loses it's eerie atmosphere that was present throughout the first film, this film seems to the complete opposite of what the first film was; the first film was scary... this film isn't, the first film was atmospheric... this film isn't, the acting was good in the first film... and yep you guessed it, it's dire in this film! I don't understand what happened because although the first film wasn't exactly magnificent there was still something about it that enabled it to stand out from the crowd, this film will hopefully be forgotten about therefore making it unable to tarnish the good reputation that the first film harbours.
The film actually starts off promisingly, using the same style and format from the previous film. It begins with two teenagers, one of whom has watched the tape, in order for him to survive he must convince his girlfriend to watch it, therefore shifting the impending death onto her (what a nice lad) he tries and unfortunately for him he fails therefore dying a horrible death. Even the camera movements mimic the first film in that you barely get to see the boys face, you see a shot of it which lasts no more than 2 seconds. This keeps the viewers attention and makes them excited about what's to come. The beginning was much more tense than the first film when you discover that the boy's life depends on his girlfriend watching the tape.
I think the downfall of this film is simply because it tried to break away from the sole reason that the first one was so successful, whatever made them do that I have no idea but it completely butchered what could have and what should have been a good follow up movie given the successfulness of the Japenese movie and that the director Hideo Nakata is the same director of the Japenese versions. Why this movie failed so miserably on all levels is simply beyond me.
The film does get going quite quickly, with Rachel discovering that Samara is back very early on in the film, everything from then on just goes downhill. There are moments which are reminiscent of the first film, at one point, Rachel and Aidan get attacked in their car by a group of Deer, this reminded me greatly of the horse scene from the first film. You can tell that in a way they are trying to replicate the first film yet as I said unfortunately they failed disastrously.
There are lots more jumpy moments in this film which I was glad to see, one moment that really made me jump was involving the Deer, there were a few other moments which made me jump but sadly there was nothing memorable.
The acting looks like it's got worse since the first film, Naomi Watts, once again shows her character in a likeable light yet maybe it's just my interpretation but she seemed sort of detached from the whole movie, almost like she didn't want to be there. If the end result is anything to go by I don't blame her! It's her son Aidan's performance that really bothers me, David Dorfman is a very cold character, he really gets on my nerves throughout the film. He's still calling his Mother Rachel even though she asks him to call her Mum. The way he simply ignores everything that everyone says to him becomes very irritating, of course this isn't the actors fault this is down to the script but I just found his performance on a whole to be very disappointing... again!
I wouldn't recommend this film to anyone, it's incredibly slow, has no real plot whatsoever, is very contrived and basically just a complete mess of a film. Even when I thought I had found something redeemable it fell flat. There's just nothing good about this film at all, apart from the fact that it's over and I don't ever have to watch it again!
The DVD is currently available from play.com for £2.99, I wouldn't even pay that to watch it again.
The special features include:
Deleted and alternative scenes
'Rings' short film
'The Haunting Of The Ring Two' featurette
'HBO First Look: The Making Of The Ring Two' featurette
'Samara: From Eye To Icon' featurette
'Imagination In Focus' featurette
A few months after narrowly escaping death by videotape, Rachel Keller and her son, Aiden, are settling down in a new town where Rachel has a job as a crime reporter. Then a death occurs that Rachel suspects may have links to the videotape and Samara, the girl who instigated the previous spate of deaths. When Aiden appears to have been taken over by an evil spirit, Rachel is convinced that Samara is back on their track. Can she and Aiden keep Samara at a distance or are they doomed to die as so many others already have?
I have enjoyed watching Japanese horror for some time now; the recent spate of Hollywood films based on Japanese horror clearly proves a lot of other people feel much the same way. On the whole, though, I have not been impressed by Hollywood remakes and prefer to stick to the originals. However, I did enjoy remake of The Ring, although it wasn't without its faults, and based on that, thought it was worth looking up the second one.
Naomi Watts reappears as Rachel Keller. I am always in two minds about Watts as an actress. I generally think she's quite bland, but I thought her performance in Painted Veil more than made up for it. As Rachel, she is not quite bland - I found her extremely irritating on occasion - but I certainly didn't think she was all that brilliant. I'm not quite sure why I found her irritating - at least some of the time it was because I felt her behaviour wasn't very convincing, but that could have been more to do with the director than her acting. I haven't completely written her off as an actress, but I must admit I wouldn't go out of my way to see any of her other work after this.
David Dorfman, who played Aiden in the original remake, returns in this one. This is quite a difficult role for such a young actor, so it is perhaps not a surprise that at times I found him really unrealistic and, like his mother, incredibly annoying. The part of the film that I most liked was when he was practically catatonic. I am perhaps being unfair, but there are plenty of child actors out there that I think could have done a much better job.
Sissy Spacek appears for a few short minutes as Samara's mother. In a mental institution, she is clearly not supposed to look very well; actually the make-up department did such a good job that I didn't recognise her. Samara appears in two guises; one footage from the original film, played by Daveigh Chase, the other played by Kelly Stables. To be honest though, it could have been anyone - she appears with her black hair all over her face and has no recognisable features. That shouldn't be a problem, but I would have preferred to have a figure to identify with - as it was, she was just a thing that I found hard to either hate or feel sorry for.
I think that most people who watch The Ring Two will have already seen the first film. It is not exactly vital that you have, but I think it really helps. This second film is very much a sequel that presumes you at least vaguely know the story of Samara and the videotape; if you don't, you will probably work it out eventually - if you manage to stay interested. Unlike the first one, which had several layers to it, The Ring Two has very little depth to it, and I found that once it had been proved that Samara was back, I wasn't all that bothered about what happened next. In fact, had Rachel and Aiden pegged it, I would have been quite happy. That is not the sign of a good film.
Another annoying aspect to the film was a child abuse storyline that took over, rather than ran parallel to, the main story. Whereas I could understand why it developed, I didn't think it was at all necessary to the main plot and it just ended up being annoying padding. By the time the ending came, I breathed a sigh of relief because I was really getting bored and wanted it to end.
The film isn't all bad. There are some truly scary moments and some great special effects. I particularly liked the scene where Rachel and Aiden are set upon by killer deer - it was really unexpected and frightening. Shame they couldn't have finished them off really. Other scenes are less believable. The effects were clearly added afterwards, which may sound obvious, but other horror films have been made to much greater effect. In this one, I really noticed the fakeness, not helped by Naomi Watts' and David Dorfman's wooden acting. There is a rating of 15, which is not particularly high for a horror, but I think this is fair enough, because it is more the suspense and the possibility of what might happen that is scary rather than what is actually shown.
If you really liked the first film and want some closure, then it is probably worth watching The Ring Two. If you haven't seen the first one, or didn't like it, don't bother with this one. It is a rather disappointing sequel and although not completely dire, it certainly could have been done so much better. There was so much promise there. Not recommended.
The DVD is available from play.com for £4.99, but I'm sure it will be available from Ebay for much less.
Running time: 110 minutes
Several months after their terrifying encounter with the deadly videotape, Rachel Keller and her son Aidan move to Astoria, a small town in Oregon. Both are trying to put the horrific events of the past behind them, Aidan by retreating into his artwork and Rachel by throwing herself into her new reporting job on a small town newspaper. Things are getting back to normal...
Until Rachel overhears a details of a suspected murder on a police scanner. A young man has been found apparently murdered, with a girl hiding in the basement. The murders not what scares Rachel though. It's the fact that the police keep talking about his face.
Rachel begins to fear the worst, and her suspicions are confirmed when she takes a peek at the victim in the ambulance. She manages to find the whereabouts of the tape, and to burn it.
But, with her main route to her victims cut off, the evil Samara Morgan must find another vehicle to host her supernatural powers. But what - or who - will she choose.
Now, for me sequels are generally a bad thing for horror movies. You see, generally you know most of the stuff you need to know about the evil demon; you know how she operates, and how to get rid of her. It takes a lot of the spontaneity out of the film. For example, the three scream movies. Each much the same, no huge variation in plot, and in fact if you were to show me a scene I couldn't tell you which movie it was from. I watched this with very few expectations, and I'm glad to say I got a pleasant surprise.
So, well done to the maker of Ring Two (which by the way bears no relation whatsoever in plot to the Japanese sequel) for scrapping the video in the first fifteen minutes or so. We no longer know how Samara is going to attack, we only know that she will.
Plotwise, this film isn't as strong as the original, probably because we already know something of samara from the first movie. But it still manages to provide a lot of detail, papering over the cracks in the story that the first movie left, and giving a deeper understanding of Samaras background and where she came from. We learn what makes her strong, what makes her weak, and what she wants most in the world.
As with the first movie there's a lot of emphasis on providing a creepy atmosphere, by use of creepy noises, strange blink and you'll miss it moments, and some familiar images from the first movie popping up. For instance, remember in the first movie when the horse goes mad? Well, in the sequel it's deer. And boy, do they go berserk. The whole film, from beginning to end is filled with a suspenseful energy, and a few genuinely heart stopping moments. However, this was only to be expected, as the director of the original japanese Ringu movies , Hideo Nakata, was drafted in to replace Gore Verbinski for the American sequel.
There's some brilliant camerawork in this film, and some amazing computer imagery. In one scene the laws of physics are reversed, and water defies gravity. It's a scene that has to be seen to appreciate it, but it's beautifully done.
Praise for the make up team also, for transforming the beautiful Kelly Stables into the evil samara. Turning a twenty something into a teen is never easy at the best of times, but turning a stunner into an absolutely terrifying horror...that takes talent. However, bearing in mind that this film is set six months after the events in the first film, it would have been advisable for a little more time to be spent on the makeup of David Dorfman (Aidan) as his face really does show the three years in between films.
The casting was also good. Naomi Watts and David Dorfman reprise their roles from the first movie and play them just as well. But, the best casting in this has to have been Sissy Spacek (from the Carrie movies) as Samara's nutball birthmother. She's great in the role; it's just a shame she had such a small amount of screen time.
One criticism of the film I do have, however, is the part where Rachel capabilities as a mother are thrown into doubt, and a psychologist bans her from seeing Aidan. Shortly afterwards, the psychologist is dead (I won't say how) and Aidan finds his own way home. They have a sick child missing & a dead doctor, & no one bothers to investigate this in any way? It seems that the film directors abandon this potential sub-plot before it gets anywhere, which makes it a pointless and time wasting addition to the movie.
My verdict is this- while the film was not quite so big on the jump scares as the first; and perhaps would be better billed as a supernatural thriller than a horror movie, it still contained plenty of moments that while not terrifying were genuinely freaky. Add to this brilliant artistic direction, memorable moments and some amazing special effects, plus a couple of outstanding actors and you've got a great sequel. Not brilliant, not amazing, but still great. The fact is, I never expect much with sequels so I was pleasantly surprised by this one. Four out of five!
Director: Hideo Nakata
Release Date: March 2005
Stars: Naomi Watts, Simon Baker, David Dorfman, and Sissy Spacek. Kelly Stables as Samara.
Length: 111 minutes
Six months after the events of The Ring, Rachel and Aidan Keller have moved to a new town to try and forget the cursed videotape that previously wrought so much havoc. With a new job in charge of a local newspaper in town, Rachel is finally convinced that she and her son will be able to put the past behind them. How wrong could she be?
When she hears a emergency alert on a police radio frequency monitored by the press office, Rachel at once fears the worst. A local teenager has been found dead in his house. His terrified girlfriend is unable to tell anyone about what has happened, but there are strange reports of water all over the lounge floor and Rachel's suspicions are at once aroused. Scarcely able to control her fears she drives straight round to the police crime scene where the grisly sight of the teenager's body confirms that his fate was sealed by Samara and the cursed videotape.
Desperate to prevent any further innocent deaths, Rachel visits the hospital to see if she can glean any information from the dead boy's girlfriend. When Rachel tells the girl that she knows what she has seen, it finally triggers a reaction and before she is thrown out by concerned police and medics, Rachel manages to persuade the girl to tell her where she can find the tape. Securing the malevolent recording, Rachel drives to a remote location where she rips the tape from its case and destroys everything on a makeshift bonefire. With the tape now completely destroyed, surely the curse is broken and the evil spirit within can do no-one any further harm? If only life were that simple .
If ever the law of diminishing returns was evident in a film sequel, then The Ring 2 must surely be a very strong example. Let's be clear - as far as The Ring / Ringu phenomenon is concerned, then things are pretty complicated as it is. The original Japanese version was called Ring and sometimes called Ringu and this then spawned a sequel called Ringu 2 and a prequel Ring 0. Such was the success of the whole Japanese trilogy that the Americans didn't take long to get in on the act and director Gore Verbinski soon brought The Ring (a remake of Ringu) to cinemas a little over two years ago. Cinema takings were such that a sequel was inevitable and so now we have The Ring 2, a sequel to the remake or a remake of the sequel, according to which way you look at it. To complicate things further, The Ring 2 is directed by Hideo Nakata, the guy behind the original Japanese films. Are you confused yet? Wait until you've watched the films!
The Ring 2 falls apart on so many counts that this review is in danger of running into thousands and thousands of words, so I'll try and be brief.
For a start, The Ring 2 generally feels liks a rehash of the first version. Not line by line, scene by scene, but in overall tone and point (lessness). Much like the first film, our heroine Rachel quickly gets herself and her son into a spot of bother and then has to piece together clues formed from the supernatural conscience of an evil spirit. Imagery plays a significant part in the proceedings - in the first time it was the scattered images on a possessed tape, in the second it is a random scattering of thoughts from a possessed child. In the first film, Rachel had to trace back the roots of the young girl (Samara's) childhood and in The Ring 2 she traces them back a little farther. In both films, the girl's childhood home yields clues and in both films, Rachel is aided by a selfless young male who seems to take on the role of a helpless male, to provide a backdrop to the helpless female. And in both films, Rachel's son Aidan seems to be more significant than he is by the time things have played themselves out. Somehow, without simply trying to tell the same story a second time, this is exactly what Nakata manages to do. Even more bizarrely, despite the fact that the two films have different directors, the direction and cinematography is very similar. It might be six months later, but the season / weather seems to be the same and everything is hazed by a chilled, icy air. Aerial shots are once again a popular tool and the haunting score, drifts along from one scene to the next like a hypnotic chant in the back of your mind.
But a repetitive sequel certainly isn't that rare an event, so what else is wrong with The Ring 2? A big problem seems to be that the film was made up as the director / writer went along. Whilst the original story is fantastic and supernatural, it all made sense to me, and as Rachel solved each clue and things slotted into place, there was a good build up of tension and intrigue. The Ring 2 is very different and has a far more random feel to it. Clearly deciding that possession of the videotape clearly isn't enough of a threat for character who know not to watch it, things move on a little and the spirit of Samara now seems to be able to do roughly as it sees fit. None of it really makes any sense. Samara's relationship with her mother seems to be the most important issue here but that blurred line between the real world and the world within the tape seems to be erased virtually altogether. Fundamentally, the "ring" that formed rather a large part of the first film now seems almost entirely redundant. When you've given the game away in your first film, you're also at something of a loss as to what to do to liven things up in the second. Nakata's solution to this is not to bother trying at all.
Next up are unfortunate film similarities. The Ring 2's greatest nemesis is the legacy of Scary Movie 3, where the original version was so closely mocked and copied and now the events of The Ring 2 seem far more difficult to take seriously. Where Rachel's character was vulnerable but engaging in the first film, in the first film this is far less the case and this time around she's just plain irritating. The same is true of her son Aidan who continues to look lilke Macauley Culkin with arsenic poisoning. Strange how something that worked in one film so quickly becomes a burden for the follow-up. The original cast members (Naomi Watts and David Dorfman) reprise their original roles, but now it seems as though their hearts aren't in it and it is almost certainly time to move on.
For a horror film, The Ring 2 is very low on scares too and probably only just clings on to its 15-certificate on the back of 1 or 2 brief scenes. All the jumps are pretty straightforward, achieved more through sudden increases in music volume rather than genuinely scary events. There are very few memorable moments in the film, aside from a rather strange sequence involving a bunch of deer on the highway and a brief resurgence of the first film's excitement crops up when Samara decides to pursue our heroine. But these moments are very much the exception rather than the rule and if you are expecting a polished, coherent follow-up to the first film, then The Ring 2 is not.
I was very disappointed with The Ring 2, particularly when I enjoyed the first film so much. The Ring 2 is not a patch on its predecessor, but was so intensely anticipated as giving us more of the same that I'm quite sure I'm not alone in my opinions. The Ring 2 is certainly not the worst film I've seen this year but it will certainly vie heavily for the title of Biggest Anticlimax.
Plot: Bad Hair Day girl Samara (Daveigh Chase) returns from her watery grave to wreak more havoc against Naomi Watts, who ends up battling the eeeevil sprog for control over her sons soul. And this time our heroines got more to contend with than just a killer video
Like a scary bathtub and stuff.
Japanese director Hideo Nakata finds himself in an odd and possibly unique predicament for his Hollywood debut: directing the sequel to the American remake of one of his own films To which hes already directed a sequel in his native tongue.
Confusing enough. But whats downright perplexing is Nakatas apparent inability to invest the follow-up to 2002s The Ring with anything more than a glimmer of the arresting visual style and sustained aura of dread that made his original Ringu so phenomenal. You could blame this on Hollywoods tendency to hoover up eclectic and original product from around the world and spit it out in its own image. The list of unassuming foreign classics given a garish Tinseltown makeover is long. But that lets Nakata off the hook. Surely he didnt get this gig just because everyone else was busy that month? Its hard to imagine DreamWorks putting the brakes on someone who pretty much invented this stuff in the first place.
In fact, even though Nakata wasnt their first choice, The Ring Twos producers considered it a major coup when he did sign on and with some justification. After all, J-Horror had already made a remarkable successful transfer from East to West without the maestros involvement. True, the first Ring might not have had half the creative juice of its forebear but, in Gore Verbinskis hands, it was still a cut above standard issue Hollywood horror and stayed gratifyingly close to Nakatas blueprint by favouring subtly accumulated suspense and a think veil of foreboding over eye candy and claret.
But Verbinski lucked out in having an elegantly simple story to tell a cursed video that brings death to whoever sees it unless they can persuade someone else to watch it within seven days. It had accelerating, unforced narrative drive and an ingrained, against-the-clock mystery to solve (where did the tape come from and why is it trying to kill all these people?).
The big mystery here is how Nakata manages not only to do his own film an injustice, but also fashions an wholly unconvincing companion piece to Verbinskis remake. Thats not just perplexing, its weird: Verbinski does Nakata better than Nakata can. Hes also done no favours by the fact that the originals sublime high concept has already been played out. For that, screenwriter Ehren Kruger (who also wrote The Ring) must shoulder some of the blame. Although he commendably resists re-tooling the killer video plot, what he comes up with instead is a dull and familiar tale of demonic possession.
Naomi Watts (no doubt fulfilling a contractual obligation and looking decidedly listless) returns as reporter Rachel Keller, now living in small-town Oregon with her young son Aidan (David Dorfman) and trying to put the upsetting events of the first film behind her. The fresh start turns sour, however, when a local teen dies in horrifically familiar circumstances and another copy of the video nasty surfaces. Yep, Samaras back the eeevil little girl drowned in the well and star of the tape. And after Aidan is afflicted with a baffling case of hypothermia, Rachel enlists the help of a local newspaper editor (Simon Baker) and a disturbed psychiatric patient (a nice cameo from Sissy Spacek) to discover what foul designs her nemesis has on her own son.
Quite why Samara has any designs on him at all is explained via the sort of contrived mumbo-jumbo that is endemic to bad sequels, via motivations that have nothing to do with the original since, if they had, wed at least have had an inkling of them already.
The plot is leakier than a sinking ship, with gaping lapses in logic (how exactly does one murder a nurse in the middle of a busy hospital with no repercussions whatsoever?), outrageous contrivance and a heavy reliance on cheap shocks. The characters, Rachel in particular, are thicker than a whale omelette and while many of Nakatas trademark themes are in evidence natures malevolence, vengeful spirits, dark water his heart isnt. The only obviously personal touch is a scene which riffs on his fear of deer and has stags stalking Rachel and son on a lonely highway. And this proves to be the risible nadir a bad promo for Longleat Safari Park directed by Renny Harlin. The idea is also umcomfortably reminiscent of the horse plunging from the ferry in Verbinskis film, which speaks volumes about the dearth of inspiration that plagues The Ring Two. In fact, this movie is so bad a sequel that had I not bought it at an incredibly low price of £3.99 from DVDMad.com I might have written a letter to Hollywood asking for my money back. Its over honey, says Watts at one point. Shes not coming back. Heres hoping.
I'll be very brief here. What made the first Ring film so sublimely creepy is i am afraid totally missing in this one. It all just seemed a very inferior rehash of its predecessor. For die hards only i'm afraid and i doubt if maybe they will enjoy this . Upon viewing I didn't even get far very far into this before i lost interest altogether and switched off . Sorry but i can't recommend this film at all ....at least not on what i saw anyway. First one though was really great and i recommend that one without reservation , That was really a refreshingly original and captivatingly mesmerizing spookily atmospheric film which somehow sticks in the memory long afterwards . ....Just giving my own personal opinion here on a film i thought very dissapointing after seeing the first one.
Have I mentioned before just how much I think Channel 4 rocks? Well, I should have done because without their excellent commitment to showing some of the more obscure or non-mainstream cinema, terrestrial television would consist of little more than C5's trashy TV movies and the other main station's obsession with nothing other than repeated 'classics' or mainstream Hollywood, Hollywood and more Hollywood! A couple of weeks ago they showed Japanese horror movie 'Ring', which is now easily one of my favourite scary movies(its not really a horror flick in the modern sense of screaming bloody gore but a psychological horror cum ghost story) and followed it the week after with a showing of the sequel which of course I was glued to as well. The unimaginatively titled "Ring 2" continues from the exact point the original movie left off. The link is almost seamless to the point where you could quite easily sit and watch the two back to back as a 4 hour movie should you so wish - although I wouldn't recommend it. The conclusion to Ring was great, it left just the right amount of questions and uncertainties to leave the viewer with both closure and the nagging feeling that it wasn't all over. Ring 2 comes along and attempts to fill in the blanks that Ring deliberately left open for interpretation, attempting to explain the paranormal unexplainable and for the most part it does so in an intriguing fashion although its existence does feel a little unneccessary. As I said, Ring 2 is a direct continuation of the first movie and therefore discussion of the plot in this review is difficult without spoilers because, it builds directly off of events at the end of the first movie. The last thing I want to do is ruin your enjoyment of what I consider to be one of the finest horror movies/ghost stories ever made for anyone who hadn't seen it so I'll keep it very vague... The first Ring movie revolved around an
investigation into a 'cursed' video tape, the watching of which will result in certain death in exactly one week after the viewing date. A reporter began investigating the aparent urban legend when her niece died of unexplained causes exactly one week after watching a strange tape - three of her friends also died in separate incidents at the exact same time. All had watched the tape. No one knew where the tape came from, why it is cursed or how to lift that curse - the final point being the focus of the first movie after the reporter watched it herself, involving her ex-husband Ryuji and child in the investigation after they too watch the tape. Continuing where the last movie left off, Ryuji's girlfriend Mai takes up the investigation, tracking down the survivors from the first movie and attempting to find the source of the tape. The police are now more interested after a string of unexplained deaths confront them, as is a doctor in a mental asylum, one of whom's charges is a surviving witness to a 'curse induced' death with interesting brain patterns due to her own brush with the tape. The main focus of the movie is upon his investigations into his patient and Mai's more personal investigations into what this tape really is... Sorry, if all that left you scratching your head, but if you've seen both movies you'll understand why its almost impossible to discuss the second without ruining the first...everyone else will just have to trust my judgement. I should also make clear that if you HAVEN'T seen the first movie then I suggest you go do so before even considering watching this one. When I said it is a direct continuation I meant it and I feel watching this without having seen the original Ring would be like walking into a movie halfway through and attempting to make sense of it... As is the case with many, if not virtually all sequels, Ring 2 does not match up to its predecessor fully. The main
difference here is the sense of urgency which had you on the edge of your seat throughout the first is gone, replaced instead with a more plodding investigation of the mysteries of the tape. The 'race against time' scenario is hardly original, but Ring utililised it perfectly. Ring 2's impetus for uncovering the mysteries of the tape are have little to do with self-salvation on behalf of the major characters and much to do with general intrigue on their behalf - which lends itself to a much slower storyline and a distinct lack of pace or urgency. This investigation by the two main characters often descends into the realms of pseudo-scientific psycho babble as numerous hypotheses are presented and left unexplored as to the nature of the video and the effect it has on those who encounter it. Some later scenes where attempts are made to exorcise its mental effects involve what looks like an electric chair and a swimming pool border upon being very silly indeed, although director Hideo Nakata manages to make them work - for me at least. What Ring 2 does 'wrong' however, is far outweighed by what it does right. The clinical manner in which the original movie was approached is repeated again here which works so effectively at creating a real world, full of real believable characters, contrasting starkly against the familiar glossy, faceless Hollywood stereotypes screaming around worlds we do not recognise as real. Director Hideo Nikata recognises the old adage that sometimes 'less is more' and avoids expensive special effects, camera trickery and fancy editing on purpose, which makes the moments he does insert supernatural elements into what almost has the feeling of documentary footage all the more effective. Ring 2 may not sustain the creepy atmosphere throughout its entire running length this time, but it certainly has its fair share of very creepy moments, some rivalling the 'television scene' from the first movie. Forget
your Hollywood 'screamers' and lashings of gore because Ring 2 relies upon understatement to unnerve you. Screaming in movies makes you jump(sometimes) but releases you from the director's grip too soon, Ring 2 holds you on the brink of terror and leaves you there as long as possible - much more effective, much more scary. Of course, what really helps is the strong cast of both central and peripheral characters. Mai and Dr. Okazaki were both bit part actors in the first movie and here must take over from the two very stong characters who lead that one. They do so exceptionally well, Mai in particular is very well utilised, cycling through a range of emotions throughout the running length. I was particularly impressed by the way, once more, a child actor is used in such a surprising and refreshing way. Very quiet and peripheral throughout most of the movie he is asked to play pure evil in a later scene and does so superbly. There is none of the biting, screaming and demonic growling which directors often foist upon us, but instead a far more effective set of the darkest, most evil black looks you're likely to see. Very effective indeed and most disturbing coming from such a young subject when so effectively portrayed. What few special effects are used are used in the most subtle ways as opposed to going for a Poltergeist style special effects fest. Some of the ideas would lend themselves to more flashy effects, but in order to retain that grounding in reality, few are actually used - so none of that often ridiculously bad CGI stuff here. What works really well again is the use of non-traditional eerie sound effects during the supernatural scenes and a distinct lack of 'wasted' musical effects to cover up for dead air...again, it gives it that very welcome 'real' feeling. Ring 2 is certainly a worthy follow-up to what must rank as one of the best horror movies ever made but it doesn't reach the same heady
heights of greatness. It is a good movie however and definitely worthy of your viewing time. Its refreshing once more, to see a horror movie which is both frequently unnnerving, sometimes truly scarey, whilst managing to treat its viewer as something other than a complete idiot. If the last 10/20 years of Freddy Kreugar, Michael Myers et. al. and all the teen slasher movie dross of recent times has turning you off horror movies completely then check out the Ring trilogy to have your faith restored. Additional Info. Ring purists would point out that Ring is based upon a series of three books, "Ring", "Rasen" and "Loop" whilst the follow-up movie Ring 2 s actually a separate creation cooked up by director Hideo Nakata and screenwriter Hiroshi Takahashi and portrays events which are very different to those in the novels. I get the feeling some aren't too happy about this but oh well! The novels themselves, for anyone interested in reading them, are yet to be translated, although the last I heard on the matter is that translation is under way and they'll soon be available on the world market. Its also interesting to note there have been numerous other spin-off movies from these novels so if you stuble upon something like A Wicked Ghost, then you'll recognise more than a few similarities. None come close to the standard of the original though apparently. Hollywood is remaking Ring as well(no surprise there!) and no doubt Ring 2 will also get the same treatment - ugh! If you really can't stomach the idea of watching a subtitled Japanese movie then I suppose this is as good as you'll get. Presently there are 3 Ring movies, all subtitled: Ring, Ring 2 and Ring 0, which is a prequel movie based upon a fourth book of short stories called "Birthday", and one I've yet to see but will no doubt review in the near future when I do so. Stonkingly good news
is that "Loop" has yet to be translated to the screen in any way shape or form, so there may well be another superb Ring movie lurking in the Japanese yet - Wahoo! Oh, and although I haven't seen Ring 0 yet, its apparently best to watch them in the order of 1,2,0 despite temptations to do otherwise because prequel or not, you need to have seen the others to understand it. :o)
Since 1963, Robert Wise's 'The Haunting' has been the benchmark for horror movies that deal with 'unseen' terror. Hideo Nakata's 'Ring' was one of a very few films to challenge that benchmark. It was a masterful manipulation of its audience, making it very afraid of a particular image that it always refrained from showing, letting it instead fester in the audience's imagination, where we all know things are far scarier... ...or at least thats what we thought... ...because what really made that film special is that it pulled off a very difficult trick - it showed that image, and to our horror it was more terrifying than anything we'd imagined. There was something in the way that eye lolled in its socket, yet managed to stare right through us.....something indefinable yet undeniable. And terrfying. It showed us something that even our darkest imaginings weren't prepared for. Something which even that thing behind the door in 'The Haunting '- whatever it might be - couldn't compete with. Yes, the more I think about it, the more I consider 'Ring' to be one of the most important horror films ever made. And a very hard act to follow. 'Ring 2' does a great job in following it. It does so by accepting that it will never terrify in quite the same way as the original, instead taking a different angle of attack. Instead it unhinges the viewer's mind, finds the cracks in our certainties about the world and lodges images inside them, so the cracks just get wider and wider. And Nakata constantly reminds us of that final image in 'Ring', not by threatening to show it again (which would be tiresome - think how boring the phrase 'Candyman, Candyman...' was in Candyman 2), but by showing it to us again and again - or rather re-presenting it in different guises. A girl shakes her head during an interview, and her hair falls over her face. The flash from a ca
mera reveals, for a split second, those dreadful eyes... And there's some wonderful set pieces. You can imagine the chaos that ensues in the television room of a mental institution. And there's a scene involving mirrors that was so freaky I wanted to cry. This scene is astonishing in its visual imagination and skilful timing....Nakata really understands how to twist our familiarity with everyday images in a way that is deeply unsettling. And it seems entirely natural, too. I don't get the impression that he is cynically manipulating the audience (in the way Hitchcock used to, for example), rather that he simply has something he wants to show us - something that may well disturb him as much as his audience. The plot is pretty much the same - people meeting mysterious deaths after watching footage of dead girls climbing out of wells, but it brings in a bunch of parapsychologists to explain it all in terms of 'transferrable energy'. I expected this to diminish the mysteriousness of it all, but if anything it enhances it - their methods for combatting this energy seem entirely spurious, and quite frankly they themselves are as spooky as anything else in the film. "Get me the body found in the well" one says in the morgue - one of the most engaging opening lines of a film I can think of. And it is a more consistent, enjoyable film than its predecessor. Whereas 'Ring' began to run out of steam in its second half, this film doesn't ease up for a moment. The soundtrack is, if anything, more chilling. And good performances all round (well, the little boy doesn't do his over-the-shoulder evil glare quite as well as the toddler in The Omen - but hey, that really is expecting too much). Flaws ? Well, some of the scenes seem a little superfluous, and I wasn't too impressed with the ending. And no, it isn't as scary as 'Ring' by quite a long way, and yes its ultimately a cash-in on t
hat film's success. But its all done with such flair and imagination, that all these things are more than forgiven. And I'm just dying to see that mirror scene again, just to see why it messes with my head so much...
There are few sequels which have anything approaching the impact of the original, still fewer (the most frequently quoted examples are 'Godfather II' and 'The Empire Strikes Back') which outclass their predecessor. One of the biggest problems with sequels is their tendency to rehash events, in order to gather in people who haven't seen the original. 'Ring 2', then, is almost unheard of. It is in many ways more absorbing and bizarre than its predecessor, and demands that audiences have a fairly clear memory of the first movie. Its genesis was odd - the first two novels in the trilogy were filmed back to back in 1998 - 'Ring' and 'Spiral'. But 'Ring' proved so popular that the next sequel was not the third novel in the sequence but 'Ring 2', an alternative sequel which does not contradict any of the events in 'Spiral', but takes the story on its own direction. Therefore, minor characters from 'Ring' - a journalist friend of the first film's heroine, the girlfriend of the character who dies in the closing minutes of 'Ring', a witness to Ring's opening death - become the protagonists of 'Ring 2', as the ripples of the horrifying events of 'Ring' continue to spread outwards. The videotapes which seem to carry some diabolical psychic curse are still in circulation, but it is the psychic scars on the survivors which seem most crucial. 'Ring 2' goes even further into a world where science and magic seem interchangeable, where the spirit world constantly invades the material world, and where anyone who encounters the horrible story of Sadako, a murdered psychic child whose rage has etched deep scars on the world, is destined for fear and madness. 'Ring 2' has no big effects sequences, and achieves its greatest shocks by fragments of imagery, sudden hints of the supernatural intruding without warning, and by the seemingly inexorable pro
gress of something which seems like a psychic virus, infecting everyone who touches it. Again, Hideo?s approach is careful, quiet, making superb use of corners of the screen, sudden edits, and a superb soundtrack to conjure up an incredible atmosphere of tension and dread. It's certainly strange, and some sequences (like the scientific exorcism sequence which curiously involves a swimming pool) go beyond daftness into some whole new territory of Just Plain Weird. But the way in which the film explores a world in which magic and science, the world of the living and the world of the dead, and sanity and insanity is amazingly convincing, and all of the performances are outstanding. The film won?t be much use to you unless you have seen (and been scared witless by) the original, but if you have, then 'Ring 2' is absolutely irresistible. Japanese cinema seems to be enjoying a stylish heyday judging by the big movies which have made their way to the UK over recent years (in particular, the squirm-inducing 'Audition' and the current sick satire 'Battle Royale') and the 'Ring' movies are definitely a good place to start if you want to explore new territory. For interest, the Region 2 DVD is pretty dire, with little more than a reasonable mini-essay from Oriental cinema guru Tony Rayns, and some filmographies - one to rent rather than own, I would say.
This sequel to the hit horror/thriller 'The Ring' features an outstanding performance by Naomi Watts and some truly creepy scenes. Directed by Hideo Nakata.