The Ring 2 Review
This is the Hollywood sequel to the movie of a young girl and her videotape, which if you haven't seen it, you would be advised to simply as this movie isn't going to fill in the blanks, rather it assumes you know the path we're walking down. As such, there may contain spoilers for those who've not seen the original, so be warned.
Escaping the events of the previous movie, Rachel (Watts) and her rather odd son, Aidan (Dorfman) relocate their home in an attempt to move on, both from their previous life and from Samara, our protagonist. However, it soon becomes apparent that their lives are never going to become normal, as within a short time, a body is found with the persons face distorted grotesquely, clearly the work of Samara. Without wishing to or wanting to, Rachel has to face the latest threat from Samara, all the while her son is continuing to act increasingly strangely as well as being the focus of Samara's attacks. It soon transpires that Samara is trying to become alive again and Aidan is the perfect vessel for such a task. Will Rachel be able to stop Samara from possessing Aidan or will she fail? Does Rachel really know what Samara is up to, or is it a completely different agenda in store for her?
The real question is why did Hideo Nakata change his story from what came before it to a tale of “demonic possession”, as it doesn't feel like a natural sequel. I admit, sometimes going off the beaten path and doing something unexpected is a good thing (Alien 3) but here it's just plain wrong and doesn't gel together. In fact, I'd argue that the only nice moment is the beginning of the movie, where we have the payoff for the “Rings” mini-movie, which was included in the re-release of the original (although it's here as an extra and worth watching first). From tired and clichéd moments (the possession) to complete illogicality (why does she sit in the road waiting for the deer to attack, instead of driving off like any sane person?) this movie is not just an inferior sequel, it's also embarrassing for Nakata to make such a major step backwards with this movie. I'd personally hoped that the story would evolve - for instance, wouldn't it be much scarier if the video was available over the internet - being spread via email or streamed video? It would make it look like the ultimate computer virus which also gives it much more of a threatening feel. At least with that scenario, I'd feel that some form of evolution of the concept had occurred as opposed to what we have here. To top that off even more, the biggest thing we need in a horror movie, is horror, or at least some scares and here we are sadly reduced to the occasional cheap stinger. We don't feel the tension here as much as the first, there's no urgency to the proceedings as before, in fact, I wasn't bothered what happened next, because there wasn't any hook.
Even the performances are largely by the proverbial numbers, with Watts looking like she wants to be somewhere else (New Zealand most likely) and the rest of the cast realising that this probably wasn't quite what they hoped they were signing up for. Elizabeth Perkins as Dr. Temple should get a mention, as should Sissy Spacek in the only piece of inspired casting - they both get mentions because their roles are nothing more than mere a cameo, which in a sense is a shame, but then again this is really the Rachel and Aidan show. I'm not even going to mention the replacing of the actress who play Samara, because it's really not that important due to the amount, or lack of, screen time she has - you could have had Cousin It in her role, dyed his hair black and the effect would still be the same (possibly spookier too).So, a very inferior movie where CGI trickery has replaced the atmosphere and chills of both the original remake and, more so, the original Ringu trilogy. Maybe if they dare do a third movie and I think it can manage just one more, they evolve the idea sufficiently as opposed to taking us down a well travelled road or thinking franchise ala Friday the 13th. The first instalment (and Japanese versions) worked because of the originality of the story and concept, but here it's very much a case of “been there, seen that” far, far too much. It's a shame that the idea wasn't the best one, nor was the execution but that's Hollywood for you.