J.D. Lafrance
The Ring 2 DVD Review

The Ring 2

December 2, 2005

Director: Hideo Nakata,
Starring: Naomi Watts, Elizabeth Perkins, David Dorfman, Simon Baker, Gary Cole, Sissy Spacek, Ryan Merriman, Emily VanCamp, Kelly Overton, James Lesure, Daveigh Chase, Kelly Stables, ,

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DVD Review

J.D. Lafrance

After the huge success of the arguably superior Hollywood remake of the hit Japanese chiller Ringu (try saying that after a few pints), comes the predictable sequel. Now, sequels fall into two categories: ones that take the original idea and build on it with fresh ideas, or ones that simply try to repeat the formula and cash in on the success of the first film. Unfortunately The Ring 2 falls into the latter category, jettisoning all the genuinely creepy stuff for overblown CGI and lousy dialogue.

After the traumatic events in which vengeful child Samara targeted people who watched her cursed videotape, giving them seven days to make a copy or face a grisly death, journalist Rachel Keller and her son Aidan have moved to a small town to start afresh. But it’s not long before the curse rears its head and two local teenagers sit down to watch the tape. Samara is back and this time she has a special plan for Aidan…

Sadly, the pervading uneasiness that you feel throughout the film isn’t down to the story but rather the disbelief that this dull, muddled film is from the master himself, Hideo Nakata, creator of the original Ringu and sister hit Dark Water (remade in Hollywood with Jennifer Connelly thankyouverymuch). Perhaps it all went to his head and he simply had too great a time playing with all the fancy CGI wizardry a Hollywood budget would allow, or his skill is merely lost in translation. Having said that, the script, again by Ehren Kruger, just doesn’t make a lick of sense – if you’d just been terrorized by a dead girl who comes through your TV, killed her off, then find out she’s returned, would you take time out to go to a fair?! There’s some nonsense about possession and a cameo from Sissy Spacek but it just doesn’t add up to anything approaching believability.

Watts is a fine actress but if it wasn’t for her sequel contract she probably wouldn’t have touched this script with a bargepole. She’s reduced to screaming lines like “I’m not your fucking mommy!” and being drenched in water a lot (although the male viewers won’t be complaining). Her onscreen son gets a much larger role this time round, but again the dialogue lets him down and there’s only so many ways to stare creepily at people.

To be fair, the CGI work on the deer attack is rather good and there are a couple of mild scares but compared to the previous film this is just two hours of treading water – literally in some scenes.

Special Features:

Fans of the first film will probably have purchased the special edition re-release because it included the short film “Rings,” made specially to tie the two films together, but fear not as it’s included here too. Sadly it’s merely a long lead up to the start of this film with a bunch of kids getting kicks from watching the tape and then passing it on to unsuspecting schoolfriends. It’s MTV visuals and flaky editing remind you this is exactly what the Japanese Ring series tried not to be.

A rather weak list of other features amount to three ten minute puff-pieces: “Samara: From Eye To Icon”, “Imagination In Focus”, “The Haunting of the Ring Two.” There’s the slightly longer but just as vacuous “HBO: The Making Of The Ring Two” and finally some deleted/extended scenes which were obvious cut for pacing. Not a bad film or set as such, just not a very good one, especially compared to its peers.

J.D. is a freelance writer who is currently doing research for a book on the films of Michael Mann. He likes reading anything written by Jack Kerouac, James Ellroy, J.D. Salinger, Harlan Ellison or Thomas Pynchon. J.D. is currently addicted to the T.V. series 24 and enjoys drinking a lot of Sprite. This is not a blatant plug for the beverage but if they ever decided to give him a lifetime supply he certainly wouldn’t turn them down.
view all DVD reviews by JD Lafrance


Rating: 65%



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