Having survived her battle with the vengeful spirit Samara, Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) sets out in search of the comfortable anonymity of small town life. While she tries to adapt to her new routine, and provide a normal life for her son, Rachel still struggles with the decisions she’s made. When a local youth has suffers an all too familiar fate, Rachel realizes that her sacrifice was for naught. And she quickly discovers that Samara is not prepared to let sleeping spirits lie.
I think my career is going to need some therapy after this.
'The Ring' was a phenomena in Japan long before it swept the North American box office. While it creeped out people on this side of the Pacific, it apparently had a bigger impact on many Japanese moviegoers. We discovered this with the recent guerrilla marketing promotion for the 'Ring 2' whereby unlabeled tapes were randomly placed in front of residents’ doors in one of the apartment complexes where I work. As fate would have it, one of the first people to play the tape (something I’d definitely be hesitant to do – out of concern for my VCR rather than potentially malevolent ghosts) was a Japanese exchange student. The poor girl was absolutely beside herself with fear as she believed someone was trying to curse her (apparently an urban myth has sprouted around the original film much like the whole Blair Witch thing). I gather she won’t be attending a screening anytime soon. She definitely has the right idea.
From its horribly contrived (yet amusing) “she’s back” opening sequence it’s obvious that 'The Ring Two' is merely a shadow of the first film (well, the North American version anyways – I haven’t seen the original Japanese version). It’s impossible to pinpoint a single plot element that ruins this movie as there are so many to choose from: Samara’s sudden inexplicable rebirth, how Samara manages to find Rachel and her son, or the liberties they take with the Omen and Poltergeist. I was particularly annoyed with the attempts to explain the Samara mythos (I’m guessing it was just a good excuse to drag Sissy Spacek in to be the rambling-mental-patient-with-the-truth character) and the whole Bambi and the big bucks run amok sequence. Wait, I take that back - I could probably forgive most of the above, but can not overlook the egregious use of the “oh-wait-something-here-is-different”, moment which they shamelessly hammer home not once, but more than a dozen times. Is subtlety a lost art?
Naomi Watts has repeatedly impressed moviegoers and critics alike with her work in such films as 'Mulholland Drive,' '21 Grams' and 'I Heart Huckabees'. Watts does her best to infuse Rachel with some spirit (no pun intended) but despite her thespian talents is dragged down by woefully inadequate dialogue. The same can’t be said of David Dorfmann, who plays her son. Let me preface this by saying that I realize he is a kid, but not only does he overact horribly, I really didn’t like him (unnerving in his own special way) and I just found him to be especially annoying. As WC Fields would say “Go away kid, ya bother me.”
'The Ring Two' is a poorly written, badly acted (by everyone save Watts) mess of a movie that is a cynical attempt by the studio to cash in on the success of the first film: Much like the recent spate of horror films, this one is horrible.