Published on March 21st, 2005 | by Erich Becker0
Review: The Ring Two
After having to endure White Noise earlier this year, I was definitely looking at The Ring Two to up the ante on the horror genre, much like it did nearly three years ago. After endless sequels of sub-par horror films, and so many rip-offs of the basic premise, Two looked like the film to beat in a flagging genre. Now, here we are, nearly three years after the original, and it seems the sequel we’ve all been waiting for has taken a few pages from its pointless copy-cats. The Ring Two is 2005’s first big disappointment. Not the year’s worst movie by any means (just looking at Naomi Watts solidifies that), but the movie lacks all of the suspense, intrigue, and originality that its predecessor showed us and instead gives us minimal plot and some awkward scenes.
For the previously uninformed, The Ring focuses on a video tape which, when watched by someone, caused their death seven days later. The premise has been spoofed to no end, most recently in Scary Movie 3, but its originality and “villain” held promise. Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) and her son Aidan have put behind them the horrors they experienced during the first film. They’ve move out of the big city, to the suburbs, in the hope of living a normal live, away from the thought of Samara. Yet, the tape resurfaces (someone must have ignored that copyright warning at the beginning) and Rachel and Aidan are thrown back into the mix once again.
The problem is, you have a hard time figuring out what sort of “mix” they are in. Samara doesn’t find our protagonists until Rachel burns the copy of the tape and when she does, she attempts to take over Aidan in a bid to have a loving mother. Aside from the bizarre imagery, the storyline is so hard to follow and makes such little sense that the entire film becomes a clip-show of scenes that may, or may not, have anything to do with the overall story. The hyped return of Carrie star, Sissy Spacek as Evelyn (Samara’s biological mother) is no more than three or four minutes long and doesn’t serve any real purpose in the film.
The shinning star of the film is Naomi Watts as Rachel and her troubled life dealing with the knowledge that she has of the tape, and the events surrounding it. She is a beautiful actress and plays the part well of the mother-in-peril, but her talent seems wasted on such a generically written movie when compared to her other work. David Dorfman portrays the bizarre Aidan well, although his awkward stare after being taken over by Samara can definitely put a chill down your spine. Although that’s really all the movie can do.
The original film wasn’t about true horror as much as the suspense and thrill. Like White Noise before it, The Ring Two resorts to funhouse scares of quick images, and characters jumping out of other places to give the audience a jolt. Besides the annoying junior high kids in the theater, I didn’t see anyone jump or scream in my general vicinity. I’m almost ashamed to say it, but the generic direction, writing, and acting of most of the films participates really makes we wish they didn’t even bother.
Yet, we know why they did. The name is a marketing tool, and, the all mighty dollar comes before creativity in most cases, so we get a shameless sequel banking on the Ring name and delivering nothing of value to the genre or audience. Even being directed by Ringu director Hideo Nakata couldn’t create anything more than average.
The Ring Two falls into the pit fall of its copy-cats and predecessors by banking and cashing in on the name rather than actually providing something worth the franchises name. Instead of a cleverly written, creatively constructed film, we get a generic, cookie-cutter movie that is devoid of nearly everything that made the first film so special. If an inevitable third installment in the series is planned, here’s hoping DreamWorks has the sense to see the creative side of filmmaking instead of dollar signs.