Ring Two review, Ring Two DVD review

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Buy your copy from Amazon.com Ring Two (2005) starstarno starno starno star Starring: Naomi Watts, David Dorfman, Simon Baker, Elizabeth Perkins, Gary Cole, Sissy Spacek
Director: Hideo Nakata
Rating: PG-13
Category: Horror

ALSO! Check out where it ranked in our 2005 Year in Review.

You’re going to read lots of things about “The Ring Two,” one of the most needless sequels in the long history of needless sequels. You’ll read that it’s not that scary, and that is definitely true. But the most important thing you need to know about the movie is that it completely invalidates everything about its predecessor. “The Ring” (2002) was truly thrilling, and its tidy ending left little wiggle room for a second installment. For “The Ring Two,” it appears that the filmmakers decided, for the sake of convenience, to throw out all of the established rules of engagement, which turns the movie into one big lie.

The two survivors of the first movie, reporter Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) and her son Aidan (David Dorfman, looking more and more like a Culkin) have relocated from Seattle to Astoria, Oregon, in that fabled attempt to start over. It is not long, however, before another copy of the cursed tape surfaces, and a teenager is found dead. Rachel finds and destroys the tape, but soon realizes that the wicked Samara has sought her out for retribution by tormenting Aidan.

Within five minutes, the movie has sold itself out. The rules of the tape and its consequences for the teenagers in this movie’s opening scene are not the same as they were for the teenagers in “The Ring.” Why? Did Samara post on her web site that she was tired of killing people the same old way, and decided to shake things up a bit? If anything, the new “rules” make it more difficult for Samara to claim new victims, so it’s hard to believe she supports management’s new direction.

The most frustrating part is that it didn’t have to be this way. Whether they intended it or not, an opportunity to play by the rules presented itself in a scene at a flea market, where Aidan shoots photographs of random attendees. What if those people had seen the tape, and their faces in the camera were warped? Rachel has already destroyed the tape at this point. This would force her to find a working copy of the tape and try to save those people who don’t know they have only days or hours to live, a Faustian bargain if ever there was one. Instead, the scene ends with Rachel and Aidan getting rammed in their car by an angry bunch of CGI caribou. I know which version I would have preferred.

It would seem that the people involved with making this movie had never even seen “The Ring,” but the screenwriter (Ehren Kruger) penned the American original, and the director (Hideo Nakata) directed “Ringu,” the Japanese classic on which “The Ring” is based, as well as its sequel (the plot of which is nothing like the plot for “Ring Two”). Kruger and Nakata have to know that they’re committing blasphemy here. In fact, the existence of Sissy Spacek’s character, a mental patient, completely undoes the “Rosemary’s Baby”-style ending of “The Ring,” leaving nothing but continuity errors and plot holes in her wake. I hope Kruger and Nakata, as well as Spacek, were paid handsomely for their sins.

There are lots of words that I would like to use to describe “The Ring Two.” Lazy certainly comes to mind. Insulting is another. But perhaps the most accurate word to describe the movie is cynical. Watts is clearly only involved in this movie because of contractual obligations (Daveigh Chase, the original Samara, somehow avoided this loophole, suggesting that Watts should get herself a new agent). The studio, DreamWorks, had to know that the story was weak, but chose to make the movie anyway, their eyes fixated on another $30 million opening. Instead of justifying why “The Ring Two” should exist, they spent their effort convincing the world that it was entitled to exist. A lazy and insulting decision, to be sure. But mostly a cynical one.

DVD Features :
As empty as the scares in the film.

~David Medsker

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