The Ring Two (2005)

Directed By: Hideo Nakata
Written By: Ehren Kruger
Starring: Naomi Watts
  David Dorfman
  Kelly Stables
  Simon Baker
The Ring Two

It must be difficult being a vengeful ghost-child with a penchant for home video. Sure, it’s all very well and good when you’re Uwe Boll-ing the fuck out of everyone’s video collections, but what happens when you decide you’re tired of being the killing type and you just want some affection? What happens if you just wanna settle down with a family?

Well wonder no longer, dear reader, for The Ring Two will attempt to answer this very question.

Having decided that the home video industry is on its way out, everyone’s favourite horror director Samara Morgan – played in this film by Kelly Stables – decides that, in a complete change of character, she actually would quite like to not be quite so alone any more, and consequently nominates Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) as her new surrogate mother. Obviously, this comes as a surprise to Rachel, who thought she had put Samara’s antics to rest at the end of the first movie.

Herein lies my first problem with this movie. Not once during the entire running length of The Ring did you ever get any sense that Samara wanted anything more than to just inflict her agony upon anyone she possibly could. Consequently, the entire narrative of The Ring Two just seems shoehorned in. It’s as if screenwriter Ehren Kruger had his own idea for a horror movie, but was told he had to stretch it over the framework of The Ring in order to take advantage of the film’s popularity (but maybe I’m giving him too much credit in that assumption).

What follows is a film that – deliberately or otherwise – just seems to trash the carefully established rules of its predecessor. Whereas The Ring was quite a clever commentary on human selfishness and our reliance on technology, as well as being a bloody excellent movie, the sequel eschews all that and consequently dropkicks it all out of the nearest window in favour of a generic, run-of-the-mill possession-by-ghost story. Samara sets her sights on Rachel’s ever-creepy son (played with an increasingly vacant smile by David Dorfman) and spends the entire movie trying to bodyhop inside him just so she can have a bit of a cuddle now and again, despite the fact that The Ring gave no indication that she was capable of possessing people (had that been the case, it’d certainly be a more convenient way of making people watch that damned tape).

That said, though, it’s pretty effective now and again. Thanks to the reuse of the melancholically sinister themes composed by Hans Zimmer in the first film along with the return to many of the old sets it established, The Ring Two manages to vicariously hijack a lot of the horror from the first movie simply by association, and with Mr. Ring himself Hideo Nakata at the helm, there are a number of scenes that really excel; the final well scene especially.

I think that’s the sad thing about this movie. Ultimately, had it been able to stand on its own two feet, it wouldn’t have been that bad; overlooking the clunky dialogue and some feeble attempts at one-liners, there’s a few decent scares in there, some memorable set pieces, and for the most part the sense of melancholy that pervaded the first film is back once again. However, since it’s forever standing in the shadow of The Ring, it never quite reaches the heights the first film hit. Also, there are some really crappy CGI deer.

Rating: ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆

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