The Ring 2 (2005)
By: J.R. McNamara on August 5, 2005  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
DVD
Universal (Australia). Region 2 & 4 PAL. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1. English (FHI) Subtitles. 105 mins
The Movie
Credits
Director: Hideo Nakata
Starring: Naomi Watts, Simon Baker, David Dorfman, Elizabeth Perkins, Gary Cole, Sissy Spacek
Screenplay: Ehren Kruger
Country: USA
I remember years ago when I first heard the term 'sequel-itis', I took it as a good thing. I mean, I love the Friday the 13th movies, the Evil Dead movies, where would Star Wars be without Empire, The Godfather without Godfather 2 and imagine a world without Dawn of the Dead...

While watching The Ring 2 however, I realized something. Sequel-itis is a bad thing. It is a disease, a scourge, and this film suffers from it, badly. Sometimes it is better to leave a good story alone, and only make a sequel if you have another story to tell.

Six months after the events of The Ring, Rachael Keller (Naomi Watts) and her son, Aiden (David Dorfman) have decided to leave the bad memories of the city behind and move to the quiet town of Astoria. Rachael, through her connections at the Astoria newspaper, hears of a teen death with familiar circumstances, involving a mysterious videotape. Soon Rachael, David and her boss Max (Simon Baker) are involved in a life or death struggle with the vengeful Samara (Kelly Stables) who can escape the confines of her video prison to wreak havoc on their lives.

The first Ring was a great example of how a film from another culture, in this case J-horror, can translate well into the Western ideology. Unfortunately, The Ring 2 comes off as horror-lite. Sure it has some creepy set-pieces, but that's all they are, set ups with no pay off. David Dorfman's Aiden takes the lead in this film, but alas, he is suffering from the same thing that all young stars suffer from. When you are a kid, it is easy to play a kid, but when you are a kid playing something more than a kid, it requires acting skill that in most cases is beyond the abilities of their experience. This is no slight on Dorfman, as he has a hard role in this film that he struggles to pull off. The other roles are wasted as well. Actors like Sissy Spacek (Carrie), Gary Cole (American Gothic) and Elizabeth Perkins (Crazy in Alabama) are thrown away and the normally great Simon Baker (Land of the Dead) is so generic and bland that he could have been played by a piece of bread. I must add though, that Naomi Watts' presence, as always, is a delight.

I had great expectations of this film from its choice of director, Hideo Nakata, who directed the Japanese Ringu and Dark Water. I imagined it would have great acting and atmosphere, instead it felt forced and deliberate. For my liking, Samara is seen far too much, and Dorfman's black-eyed, white skinned make-up is far too obvious. Maybe the Japanese surroundings add to the uneasiness of Nakata's J-horror films, with it being an alien environment, but that does not come across in an English speaking world.
Video
This movie is filmed in a majority of dull blues, greens, grays and blacks. This completely sets the tone of the movie and the image is perfect at all times. I was really impressed with how such a limited palette could look so deep.
Audio
Average 5.1 Surround. A movie with the subtleties of The Ring 2 does not require the great big booms required in an action film. This is a ghost story and the soundtrack reflects this, not bad, but nothing special either. The extras are all in 2.0.
Extra Features
The first of the Special Features is a short film called 'Rings'. This short was first seen as an extra on The Ring Collector's Edition. This is the tale of the mysterious tape that bridges the gap between The Ring and The Ring 2, and includes daredevil teens that see how long they can last before they have to copy it and show it to someone else to save their own lives. It's fairly well acted and has a nice 'Ring' to it.

Next are three, 2 minute-10 second mini-documentaries made to promote the film. The first, 'Imagination in Focus' concentrates on Hideo Nakata, and the impression he has left on both the Ring movies (Asian and Western) and his co-workers. The second, 'Samara – From Eye to Icon' talks about the development of the look of Samara without actually going too far into the make-up effects. The third, 'The Haunting of the Ring 2' is a ridiculous fluff piece about the haunted happening on the set and on location.

'HBO First Look: the Making of Ring 2' is a 13 minute piece showing an abbreviated look at the making of The Ring 2. Don't expect some amazing extravaganza describing the intricacies of special effects in the new millennium, this is a by the numbers documentary for the average movie goer, not the genre fan.

The Deleted and Alternate scenes are just that. Usually when I see these sorts of things I wonder why they were taken out, but these are evident, they would have made the film annoying as well as bad.

The is also a preview for Wes Craven's new film Red Eye, which stars Cillian Murphy (28 Days Later) and Rachael McAdams (Mean Girls).
The Verdict
Unfortunately, The Ring now represents a new curse: the curse of wasted talent. It amazes me how the combined talents of Watts, Baker, Spacek, Perkins, Nakata and writer Ehren Kruger could have been shattered into the broken mess of The Ring 2. Several excellent set-ups seem to fizzle out or not reach their potential. This should have been excellent, but there seems to be something absent. What a shame.
Movie Score
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