Written by Ehren Kruger
Directed by Hideo Nakata
Running Time: 1:49
for violence/terror, disturbing images,
thematic elements and some language.
The Ring Two is nothing more than a big mess. This is one sequel that should not have been made.
Picking up some time after the original, Rachel and Aidan have moved to start a new life. As you might remember, the only way to get rid of the curse of the girl with the long unwashed hair, was to make a copy of the video tape and give it to someone else. By some otherworldly coincidence, what could be the only copy of that tape shows up in their new town. Rachel, deciding to do something she probably could have done before, gets the tape and burns it. Unfortunately, Samara is a little pissed off and decides that she wants to come back to the real world; by taking over Aidan's body. Needless to say, Rachel isn't happy about this and does everything she can to fight off Samara and make things right again.
I never saw The Ring in theaters; I watched it after all the hype and money and I thought it was pretty good. Most movies don't live up to the hype, but that one did. It had a good story, some real creepy scenes, and the little girl was just a mess. This sequel is nothing but a mess. The story takes much too long to develop and even when it does, it's rather boring. The acting is world class hammy, and there are maybe one or two shock frights, but nothing creepy (until almost the very end.) The first thing I noticed was the dialogue. I felt like I was watching a bad made-for-TV movie where Tori Spelling gets molested by a professor or something. I don't know if this is the case, but it almost felt like the director was having the script translated to him, into Japanese, and thought that the lines sounded good, when they weren't. When I've watched Japanese horror films with subtitles, the way the words get translated is almost comical. Maybe in Japan it's acceptable, but horror fans here have grown up over the last 20 years with parody after parody mocking classic horror films, so dialogue that spells everything out word for word becomes funny, not scary. And I hate taking a child to task, but the performance of David Dorfman as Aidan leaves something to be desired. Naomi "I'm doing this for the paycheck" Watts at least could act the part, but the things she was being asked to do were below her. And the rest of the cast, while recognizable, didn't have much more than a few minutes on screen. Although I have to say, seeing Sissy Spacek was a treat.
The best thing about horror films is when they have the ability to scare you. Classic horror films used the old tried and true technique of taking you in one direction, then quickly reversing stream to throw you off. How many films had the good person literally look one way, only to turn around and see the killer right behind them? I think the original Halloween probably pioneered that in the 1970s. Those scares still work, but today's audience wants more. Then there's the horror film where people get killed and brutalized in all sorts of horrible ways. It's more of a disgusting horror film than a scary one, but it still works, like in House of 1000 Corpses. Then you have the thriller horror films where you play with the audience's mind. The ultimate example of that of course is The Shining, a movie which to this day still creeps me out. Not because anything specific happens, but over time everything you see is weird and demented and you leave the theater with chills. I felt like The Ring was more like the latter type of horror film. There were some scares, but for the most part it was just creepy looking at little Samara in her white clothes and long hair, trapped in the bottom of a well. You felt sorry for the girl but at the same time scared to death of her. And that video tape was just weird and demented. The Ring Two had almost none of that. There were a couple of shock, misdirection scares, but the creepiness factor disappeared and instead the audience was laughing most of the time. Only at the very end where Samara and Rachel have a little fight did that crazy demented look come back.
The plot of the movie took too long to develop and honestly, I wasn't even sure what it was for a while. Having Samara want to come back into the real world by taking over the body of Aidan is reasonable enough, but I don't think I realized that was the point of the movie until halfway through. Was there a reason she picked Aidan? Wouldn't it have made more sense to pick someone who had no idea what was going on, rather than someone who had just done battle with her? If Aidan was the only person whose body she could inhabit, then that's something different, but I don't remember hearing that explanation. It confused me even more when Rachel went to visit Samara's birth mother in the psych clinic and the orderly kept saying that many women have visited her in the past. Does that mean Samara had tried this before? I think they could have played up Samara's past a little more to give us some more understanding of what made her the way she is. All we got is something about her being the child of the Devil? A how or why or any sort of explanation would have helped, but that was never told to us. Maybe they're saving it for part three, although if this one does as poorly as it should, there may never be a part three. Especially since Rachel promised Aidan this would never, ever happen again. And we always believe what we're told in the movies, right?
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I thought The Ring Two was a disaster, especially compared to the first. The writing was cheesy, the acting was hammy and the story was boring. There were some scary moments, and the movie picked up steam in the last few minutes, but it was too little too late. I don't expect I'll be watching this again. But I will probably rent the original (and the real Japanese originals) to see what good films are like.
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