I think something got lost in translation. I'm pretty sure Hideo Nakata, director of the original "Ringu," was hired to make a scary sequel to the hit 2002 horror movie "The Ring," but... he didn't. In fact, what he did deliver to the powers at Dreamworks was an absolutely terrible comedy of horrors that undoes everything in the previous movie while simultaneously making the audience wish that they themselves were drowning in the bottom of that damn well.
"The Ring Two," titled such because Nakata evidently doesn't know that you can use a single character to depict a number, starts off exactly like the last one, with two bad actors plugging in the infamous videotape where at least one will eventually die. The horrid death, which conveniently isn't shown to us for the sake of a PG-13 rating (yet more was shown in the previous movie, which was also rated PG-13), just happens to occur in Astoria, Oregon, the far and distant land where Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) and her son Aidan (David Dorfman) have escaped to all the way from Seattle. A good two hour drive from the place where they almost perished under the hand of the creepy Cousin It ghost in the first film, Rachel is looking to start a new life. Unfortunately for her, Samara (the creepy Cousin It ghost) has found her and has decided that she should be like every other creepy kid ghost in the history of cinema and possess Aidan. The rest of the plot really doesn't matter, since none of it makes any sense and "The Ring Two" is easily one of the most boring movies I have ever seen.
Watts does an adequate job in the lead, which is about the only highlight of the entire film. Unfortunately, since "The Ring Two" is rated PG-13, there should be no expectations that she will do any of the stuff she did in "Mulholland Dr.," even though she does tease all the guys in the audience by asking her son if he wants her to get in the tub with him. Unfortunately, while her performance is bearable up until the climax (and definitely not during the climax), her character is so freaking stupid it's amazing she doesn't die in the first five minutes. After all, she knows Samara has returned for them, yet when Aidan has a nightmare that he refuses to share with her, his temperature drops five degrees and he starts acting really weird, she still is entirely clueless to what's going on. Of course, little Mr. Dorfman is weird and creepy anyway, so maybe that's her excuse.
No excuses can be given for Dorfman himself, however, who is absolutely terrible here. He was okay in the first "Ring" and I liked him in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," but he is ridiculously God-awful in this sequel. It doesn't help that the screenplay gives him the worst lines of dialogue known to man, many of which involve saying his mother's name over and over again. Yes, he says "Rachel" exactly 5,432 times in the movie.
The most blame has to be placed on Nakata, film editor Michael Knue and the special effects team responsible for the truly horrific visuals in the movie. Nakata has quite possibly put the final nail in Asian horror for me, as I have completely lost interest with the flash-images-until-we-get-one-that-scares-some-idiot-in-the-back-row method. "The Ring Two" is slow, dull and uninteresting, with a plot that seemingly has no connection to the original and editing that exemplifies the editor's experience - let's see, he's done such great movies as "Bones," "Highlander Endgame" and "The Crow: City of Angels." Had Knue successfully edited 100 minutes out of the middle of the movie, "The Ring Two" might have been halfway decent.
Despite its badness, "The Ring" is tense at times. The first twenty minutes are mildly engaging, although even then it was quite apparent things were only going to get worse. However, there is one pivotal moment where "The Ring Two" changed from a lackluster sequel to an all-out piece of sh*t. The deer. There are deer in this movie - a whole lot of them. Unfortunately, they're all computerized, they all look really fake, and they all attack Rachel's car. Yes, a bunch of cheesy-looking deer attack the car. Instantly, I lost all interest in the movie and began to see it for what it really is - an unintentional laugh-fest. Yes, most of the audience laughed at the deer. And yes, most of the audience laughed at the scene where a very fake CGI version of Samara floated over the bathtub. And yes, for the last half of the film the audience was checking their watches, their cell phones and even sun dials in hopes that their misery would finish sooner than later. Sadly, it was not to be.
"The Ring Two" is one of the worst big budget horror movies I have ever seen. Boring, stupid and hardly scary, this is not a good first step for Nakata in Hollywood. In one scene, Samara forces a psychiatrist to inject herself with air and thus kill herself; by that point, I was jealous of the psychiatrist. I wish my fate was as pleasant as hers.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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