THE RING 2
*1/2 (out of 5)
March 18, 2005
Naomi Watts as RACHEL KELLER
Simon Baker as MAX ROURKE
David Dorfman as AIDAN KELLER
Elizabeth Perkins as DR. EMMA TEMPLE
Gary Cole as MARTIN SAVIDE
Sissy Spacek as EVELYN
Directed by: Hideo Nakata
BY KEVIN CARR
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If 2005 is going to remembered for anything in cinematic history, it will be the year of bad horror movies. “The Ring 2” is no exception. And that really bummed me out.
I was really looking forward to this sequel. I even hoped that the slate of crummy horror flicks this year was all leading up to a pretty good one. After all, if I had to sit through crap like “Hide and Seek” and “The Boogeyman,” there’s gotta be some big pay-off, right?
And add to the fact that DreamWorks brought in Hideo Nakata, the director of the original Japanese “Ringu” to helm this sequel, and I thought we really had a chance. Sadly, what worked well with “The Grudge” did not translate for “The Ring 2.” Maybe Gore Verbinski, who directed the American version of “The Ring,” just captured lightning in a bottle.
In this installment, Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) and her son Aidan (David Dorfman) have moved to a small town in Washington state, attempting to build a new life after things were torn apart in the first film. When we last saw them, they were making a copy of the killer videotape to pass the curse onto someone else. However, things have come full circle as a copy of the tape has shown up in their small town.
Instead of tracking down the string of grisly deaths that was surely a harbinger to the murder in this quaint town, Rachel instead assumes that Samara (the creepy ghost girl from the bottom of the well) is after them. She’s right, in fact. Samara has decided to possess Rachel’s son in order to live again. So, Rachel goes on a wild goose chase to learn more about Samara’s past.
The plot is loose, and the characters are clueless. When Samara does finally get a chance to take the plunge into Aidan, it’s completely anti-climactic. For such an evil ghost, she seems content to passively kill people and watch Cartoon Network all day.
The film tries to unravel new mysteries, but they are all nothing but fluff. Around each corner, it just seems to be more evidence that the girl is plain evil. No big surprise there. It reminded me of the latest “Exorcist” movie, with plenty to go on but no substance.
And yes, I am being hard on this film. The reason for this is that “The Ring 2” had so much potential. The first film was so different and unique. There’s was so much more depth to dig through with the back story of Samara. However, things just deteriorated. All of its potential was squandered.
Part of what makes the recent Japanese horror imports so compelling is their imagery. We saw that in “The Ring” and “The Grudge.” However, these scary images aren’t even touched until the last fifteen minutes of the film, and by that time, it’s too late. In fact, during our fleeting glimpses of Samara in ghost form, she’s decidedly UNscary. Rather she looks more like the teenage daughter from “The Incredibles.”
Sissy Spacek is completely wasted in a confusing scene as Samara’s original birth mother. Like the film itself, this whole segment had some potential but turns into a big fat nothing. All we learn is that yes, the little girl was evil. As if we didn’t get that drilled into our heads from the first film. (Have I mentioned that she’s evil?)
Perhaps the only worthwhile thing in the film is a goofy performance by notorious scene stealer Gary Cole as the real estate agent desperately trying to sell the property where Samara grew up. If only the film was about him instead of Naomi Watts.
When a sequel is made of a film you like, you hope for something that at least lives up to the original. But sadly, this movie is nothing more than a big number two.