Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ring Two, The - 2/5

I remember my old college roommate being a huge fan of The Ring. He ended up going alone to see The Ring Two as no one else wanted to fork over the money to see it in theaters as the films lackluster reputation was making its way around campus. He returned only after an hour saying that it totally sucked so he left the film before it ended. Due to his horrific experience I decided not to see the film and never watched it until now. After watching 5 of these Ring films so far I decided I might as well see The Ring Two just to see how bad it actually was to bring my Ring experience full circle (Get it? Full circle? I kill myself sometimes!).

The plot, to my surprise, is actually a variation on the Japanese version of Ringu 2 with of course many story changes to Americanize the plot. Our mother and son survivors of the first Ring move to a small town to restart their life after beating the curse of that damned video tape and our ghostly little girl Samara. One day Rachel discovers news of a death which the corpse has a twisted face of terror. She is horrified to discover that one of the cursed tapes has made its way to her new small town so she decides to burn it. This in turn pisses off our ghost Somara and our ghost decides to start possessing Rachel's son. Now it's a race against time yet again to do some detective work on how to end the curse...

The biggest change from The Ring is director Gore Verbinski not returning and instead Dreamworks recruiting the directing talents of Hideo Nakata, the Japanese director of the original Ringu and Ringu 2. I was excited about this at first but The Ring Two proves that even the man who created the series can't save an American made sequel to a remake based on his film. Verbinski gave the first ring a dreary, washed out look that really added to the overall creepy atmosphere. Nakata surprisingly decides to go for a more standard approach to the coloring and it just didn't give this sequel the added atmosphere. It is however nice to see both Naomi Watts and David Dorfman return as they do make a good solid connection to the first film. David Dorfman's character also isn't quite as annoying as his character acts more like a young boy as opposed to a know-it-all grown up. Actor Simon Baker was brought in to be Naomi Watts love interest and this subplot falls on its face. His character is completely wasted and only seems to be brought in to please studio execs to have that "love interest" aspect. You could cut his character completely out of the movie and he wouldn't be missed.

This sequel isn't completely worthless and it was better than my expectations were but the ghostly image of Samora seems to be watered down and doesn't have the same creepy power she had. The film has a few creepy scenes (my personal favorite being a re-imagining of Somara climbing up the side of a well after Rachel which in my personal opinion is creepier than the original sequence in Ringu 2) but there are plenty of absolutely stupid sequences that almost ruin the film. The worst sequence involves a deer that attacks our protagonists in a vehicle. The CGI graphics are completely awful and when the one deer is joined by others the sequence becomes absolutely moronic. Why does Samara have the ability to control deer? That sequence was an embarrassment and should have been left on the cutting room floor. It's amazing but that one sequence alone almost ruined the entire film for me.

Fans of the original might find a few aspects to wet their appetite but overall this is a another disappointing sequel that can't even be salvaged by the director that created the whole "Ring" phenomenon. It's due time to kill off Somara for good before the Ring series suffers similar fates of Nightmare on Elm Street and other such horror franchises that went on too long. However this doesn't look like it's going to happen as a Ring 3 is in production to capitalize on the gimmicky 3D craze infecting cinema at the moment.

Written By Eric Reifschneider

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