The Ring Two
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E dir Hideo Nakata
scr Ehren Kruger
with Naomi Watts, David Dorfman, Simon Baker, Elizabeth Perkins, Sissy Spacek, Gary Cole, Ryan Merriman, Emily VanCamp, Kelly Overton, James Lesure, Kelly Stables, Daveigh Chase
release US 18.Mar.05, UK 1.Apr.05
05/US DreamWorks 1h51

Water water everywhere: Watts and Dorfman

watts perkins spacek

See also: THE RING (2002)

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The Ring Two The producers intriguingly handed the reins to this sequel over to the guy who made the original Japanese film that started all these Ring movies in the first place. The result is a true blending of the two styles--a sharply thought-out script combined with a major creep-out style.

After battling the spirit of the dead girl Samara, journalist Rachel (Watts) moves to a small Oregon town with her son David (Dorfman) to start over again. But Samara tracks them down, and has an even more fiendish plan than before. This time she branches out from the VCR to start taking over David. For help this time, Rachel turns to coworker Max (Baker), a shrink (Perkins) and an extremely creepy old woman (Spacek).

Nakata's interest in cultural traditions, vengeance, water and media are all in the mix here, and the film has a remarkably intriguing look. This isn't a slasher horror film at all; it gets deep into the characters' heads and tells a story that's scary from the inside out. Visually, Nakata frequently references Hitchcock, as inventive camera work, stylish editing and a lush score all add to the sense that this is a serious movie, not some silly fright fest.

Watts pours herself into this role as if Oscar voters might take it seriously; this is a terrific performance that unpeels both Rachel's paranoia and her authentic fears. And Dorfman is superb as her son, increasingly disturbing as Samara takes over--almost as if he's aging in fast-forward. These are haunting and haunted characters that really hold the film together and draw us into the odd-ball storyline.

Nakata even has some new surprises up his sleeve for Ringu aficionados. He gets rid of that tape early on, then adds to its imagery in an intriguing way, deepening the mystery and sending Rachel back to that sinister horse ranch. As it progresses, the film gets increasingly scary and begins to feel like a particularly hellish Twilight Zone episode--and I mean that in a good way. This is one of the more insidious thrillers in recent memory.

cert 15 themes, violence, suspense, language 15.Mar.05

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... The Ring Two TJ Hatton, London: 2/5 "With Nakata on board as director, I genuinely thought that this film would be guaranteed to replicate the lurking horror of the classic Japanese original. However, it transpires that the curse of Hollywood is far stronger than the curse of Samara's ghost. Whilst the original induced some fine hair-raising moments of genuine terror by slowly building up the audience's anticipation to an almost unbearable pitch, this remake falls flat on its face by revealing (almost) all in the opening minutes. Only Sissy Spacek's role injects some much-needed creepiness into the proceedings, but by then it's far too late. By breaking down the film's momentum with too many needless jolts, what should have been the film's electrifying conclusion delivers all the shock value of a 1.5 volt battery." (4.Apr.05)
2005 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall