Abandoning the gimmicky defining premise of itspredecessor, about the ghost of an evil littlegirl exacting blood-curdling vengeance on anyone who watched a hauntedvideo tape, "The Ring Two" seems also to have jettisoned allnotions of pacing, creative chills and common sense.
Catching up with newspaper reporter NaomiWatts (whose talents are wasted on B-movie screams)and her hollow-eyed son (David Dorfman) after they've survived the firstfilm by slipping through a gaping hole in its own internal logic, "TheRing Two" gives its poltergeist arbitrary new powers to track thesetwo down to a small West Coast town and possess the boy's body.
Little else happens in the course of the story, exceptthat Watts' suspicious attempts at exorcism draw the attention of the localChild Protective Services. The kid ends up in the hospital (from whichhe easily escapes and no search is ever mounted) while Watts tracks downthe ghostly girl's asylum-confined birth mother (Sissy Spacek) for somelong-winded exposition laying out the new rules of the plot.
Although directed by Hideo Nakata, the man behind the wildlysuccessful Japanese horror flicks on which this franchise is based, "TheRing Two" meanders so slowly through its paces that even the scaresseem lethargic (only one scene solicited any screams from a packed-housesneak preview audience this week), and it's overly dependent on the characters'idiocy to advance the plot. At one point, Watts leaves to "get someof our things" from home while her haunted son takes a bath in a strangehouse -- despite the fact that she knows water brings out the worst inthe ghoul, who died by drowning at the bottom of a well.
This does lead to the movie's one truly inventive chill,in which the bathwater defies gravity with the help of some spooky specialeffects. Thanks to the effects team, the ghost can be fairly spine-tinglingtoo, at times, with her long black hair covering her face and her gray,water-logged, rigor-mortised form moving swiftly towards her victims injerky, startling fits and starts.
But from the embarrassingly inept performances by soon-to-be-deadteenagers in its prologue, to a nonsensical scene in which Watts' car isattacked by possessed deer, to the inconsistent finale that leaves an insultingnumber of loose ends flagrantly flailing about, "The Ring Two"is typical of Hollywood's attitude toward horror movie sequels: It's goingto make money whether it's any good or not, so why bother aiming high?
Run time: 110 mins
In Theaters: Friday 18th March 2005
Box Office USA: $75.9M
Distributed by: Dreamworks Distribution LLC
Production compaines: DreamWorks SKG, BenderSpink, MacDonald/Parkes Productions
Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 20%
Fresh: 36 Rotten: 147
IMDB: 5.3 / 10
Director: Hideo Nakata
Starring: Naomi Watts as Rachel Keller, Simon Baker as Max Rourke, Elizabeth Perkins as Dr. Emma Temple, David Dorfman as Aidan Keller, Gary Cole as Martin Savide, Sissy Spacek as Evelyn, Ryan Merriman as Jake, Emily VanCamp as Emily, Kelly Overton as Betsy, James Lesure as Doctor, Daveigh Chase as Samara (archive footage), Kelly Stables as Evil Samara, Cooper Thornton as Father of Emily, Marilyn McIntyre as Mother of Emily, Jesse Burch as Male Reporter, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Young Evelyn