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Overall Rating
2.25

Awesome: 4.21%
Worth A Look: 8.42%
Average: 21.05%
Pretty Bad41.05%
Total Crap: 25.26%

7 reviews, 53 user ratings


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Ring 2, The
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Naomi and Co. go back to the well."
2 stars

Watching “The Ring 2" is like hearing someone telling the same campfire story for a second time; there are attempts to change a few elements around and bring in a couple of new twists, but it quickly becomes apparent that nothing much has changed. This is a problem that most sequels suffer from, but it is particularly disastrous for horror films, a genre whose films live or die based on how ruthlessly they exploit the audience’s fear of the unknown. Now that the terrors are known and familiar to us, something else has to come in to hold our interest and that is where the film comes up short.

The film is the latest off-shoot of Koji Suzuki’s 1991 novel “Ringu”, in which the brilliantly metaphoric notion of a cursed videotape that had the power to kill anyone who watched it after seven days was first explored. The book was a smash hit in its native Japan and inspired a 1995 television mini-series, two TV sequels and a radio adaptation before it was brought to the big screen in 1998 by director Hideo Nakata. That film also became a smash and inspired an avalanche of sequels, prequels, remakes and rip-offs. Appropriately, considering the subject matter, Nakata’s film also became a cult hit in America when bootleg videos hit the underground circuit. Eventually, an American remake, with several derivations from the original, was produced and while not a particularly strong film–unlike the Japanese version, which refused to connect all the dots in order to more fully unsettle viewers, it went to absurd lengths to explain everything in minute detail–it struck a chord here as well and became a massive hit, mostly due to an effective ad campaign, a PG-13 rating that allowed kids in and, most importantly, that incredibly catchy premise of a killer video.

Picking up relatively quickly after the events of the first film, “The Ring 2", which has been directed by Nakata himself (which is unconnected to the “Ringu 2" that he directed in Japan, which was actually the second sequel to the original film) finds the two survivors, Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) and son Aidan (David Dorfman) as they leave Seattle to begin a new life in a small Oregon town. The reason for this is so they can hopefully avoid exposing themselves to the vengeful ghost of Samara (Daveigh Chase), the monstrous little girl whose wrath caused all the trouble in the previous film. Of course, if a demonic spirit is able to wreak havoc from beyond the grave by imprinting its evil on videotape and killing anyone who stumbles across it in a desperate act of revenge, it is pretty doubtful that crossing the state line is going to keep her at bay. Sure enough, the peaceful burg whose only previously-known terror used to be its proximity to Gus Van Sant now finds copies of the tape appearing in its local flea markets. This time, however, Samara isn’t really interested in zapping people that way, save for a dopey teener who gets his in the prologue; instead, she wants to fully cross over into the real world and plans on possessing Aidan and destroying anyone who gets in her way.

The idea of essentially skipping the cursed video angle this time around was a smart move–it is an idea that has been played out, ripped off and spoofed so many time in the last couple of years that any power that it might have once had has long since dissipated. That said, the opening scene of the film, not to mention the “Rings” short film that has been packaged with the recent DVD reissue of the first film, does suggest a potentially intriguing manner of expanding on that notion. However, Nakata and writer Ehren Kruger ignore that possible angle and instead have chosen to trot out a demonic possession plotline that is just as hackneyed. When they aren’t spinning those wheels, they are simply content to recycle elements that worked the first time around, such as another vision that seems inspired by a particularly lackluster underground short, a strange bit of animal-related violence and even a visit to someone from Samara’s past, this time her actual birth mother (Sissy Spacek in a po-mo cameo/”Carrie” homage), who gets to inform Rachel just how monstrous the kid truly is. Some of these retreads are well done, I suppose (Spacek is quite good under the circumstances), but they are nothing more than retreads.

I wasn’t a fan of “The Ring” but I will admit that it did have a few moments that genuinely worked but “The Ring 2" is basically a bore that tries to continue a story that had no compelling reason to be continued aside from filling the coffers at Dreamworks. While Nakata comes up with the occasional arresting image, his work here demonstrates the same kind of logy pacing that even devoted fans will grudgingly admit plagued the original. The film never generates any real fear or suspense or tension–you know, the very elements that tend to be necessary ingredients in a horror film. And while Naomi Watts is one of my favorite actresses working today, her performance her is one that screams out “Contractual Obligation!” more than anything else; at the climax, when she prepares to make her ultimate sacrifice, it feels less like her triumph over the forces of darkness or more like relief that if it works, she won’t have to appear in “The Ring 3".

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11679&reviewer=389
originally posted: 03/18/05 22:44:12
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2005 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

6/08/10 David Hollingsworth Better than most horror sequels 3 stars
1/13/09 Anonymous. better than most other lame "horror" movies, though it wasn't that scary... 4 stars
11/01/08 Shaun Wallner Scary Film! 3 stars
1/04/08 Bozofreak Jesus, it kills me to give it one star, but unfortunately there isn't a "no star" option. 1 stars
6/02/07 aurora very good 4 stars
1/29/07 Stanley Thai A better film than the original but not any scarier. 4 stars
10/02/06 Pritchett A complete letdown after the very good remake...too bad. A waste of time. 1 stars
8/16/06 anthonyuk total garbage, why did they bother! 1 stars
5/17/06 Anthony G I was laughing so hard!!!....oh wait... this was a horror flick. 1 stars
5/01/06 Del Killer Deer.. you know, hunting is bad and all... yeah, right 1 stars
4/14/06 ghvhvmghvhvghkgv boring and very predictable 3 stars
1/22/06 John Ward it had a weak story line wasn't scary and left more questions than it answered 4 stars
10/14/05 eddiejohns Not satisfying at all!!! 2 stars
10/01/05 tatum Doesn't come close to the original 2 stars
9/20/05 Jonathon Holmes the only great horror films that we will ever see are the ones from the past 1 stars
9/02/05 ES A disappointing original, follows through with a disappointing sequel 2 stars
8/31/05 Indrid Cold Ironically, series creator Nakata can't manage even 1/10th the impact of Verbinski's film. 3 stars
8/28/05 Breanna I really like David Dorfman 5 stars
8/25/05 Caiphn As a huge fan of The Ring, this was extremely disappointing. Deer scene = laughable. Bad. 2 stars
8/10/05 Tina Scism Best film 5 stars
7/22/05 Jordan okay once again sequals and prquels suck except some the director should die now..bad movie 1 stars
6/26/05 Andrew Kennedy This is one of those movies, that will keep u hiding under ur coat for the whole movie 5 stars
5/24/05 E-FUNK Fucking worthless sequel. I could not stand this movie. Hopefully, it killed the series. 1 stars
5/17/05 Shawn Borucki Hideo Nakata's disappointment. Stick with the original, but it was better than Rasen. 2 stars
4/15/05 shatonjia Keep the money...I want my 90 minutes back. 1 stars
4/13/05 Junior LaRoche I hate current American remakes. Awful movie. 2 stars
4/09/05 Denise not as good as the first 3 stars
4/09/05 Brittany Tate You can not be scary to see this movie 4 stars
4/08/05 haha this movie sucks 1 stars
4/06/05 dj very predictable, yet needed to fill in the holes in the first one, they both suck 2 stars
4/04/05 ELI kinda boring, sucky compared to the first. and what the fuck was up with the deer?????????? 2 stars
4/03/05 M Plot holes!!!!!!!!! poor naomi! doesnt suck but is on the verge! 3 stars
4/02/05 Landshark haunting Suspiria melody by the Goblins was wasted in this awkward sequel 3 stars
4/01/05 Kyle Seriously. What the fuck? 1 stars
3/31/05 Death Dogg Huge plot holes. I guess anyone can be a screenwriter these days. Off to Hollywood I go! 1 stars
3/30/05 pattonjr5 naomi was great.even critics who hated ring2 realized that.women made ring a hit, not scott 5 stars
3/29/05 Mix Master Mason This movie is NOTHING like the first RING. It doesn't even try to be good. 1 stars
3/26/05 Greg Ursic Plumbs the very depths of badness. 1 stars
3/25/05 malcontent boring and scareless 2 stars
3/25/05 hannaho A very poor attempt to make a buck off the first movie. 2 stars
3/24/05 Goatse Retarded Americunts and their retarded scripts and remakes 2 stars
3/24/05 Colleen Goldrick Disappointing 2 stars
3/24/05 Jin More from the Queen of Melodrama. 1 stars
3/23/05 Naka The sequel to one of my favorite horror films of all time is...god DAMNIT. 1 stars
3/23/05 Jack Bourbon Almost works, but doesn't quite 3 stars
3/21/05 Roy Asshole Smith Turned the whole theater green. It's OMFG Boring! WTF? 2 stars
3/20/05 Tyrantis Great MST3K fodder. 1 stars
3/19/05 Mark McLeod Not as good as the first one, not really the same type of movie either 2 stars
3/19/05 mott the drupal but it has a guy named kruger that wrote it?!?! 1 stars
3/19/05 PAMELA HANSEN once is enough please stop th maddness 2 stars
3/17/05 Steve K interesting story 4 stars
3/11/05 Uncle Phucker Saw a screener at the mall a month ago. Solid acting and very entertaining. 4 stars
2/06/05 Lynis Wing ok, not bad, enjoy, enjoy, enjoy 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  18-Mar-2005 (R)
  DVD: 23-Aug-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  24-Mar-2005


Directed by
  Hideo Nakata

Written by
  Ehren Kruger

Cast
  Naomi Watts
  Simon Baker
  David Dorfman
  Emily VanCamp
  Sissy Spacek
  Ryan Merriman



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