Hollywood has become intensely cannibalistic in the past few years. It seems half the movies released nowadays are either remakes, or based on some sort of video game or television program. The Ring Two takes this to a new level. This particular movie is the sequel to a remake of the Japanese film Ringu.
The kicker is, there has already been a sequel to Ringu in Japan, but for some reason, this one bears no similarity to its overseas predecessor. In contrast to the American version of The Ring, Hideo Nakata, the director of the Japanese films, has been brought aboard and presumably was meant to give the movie some more credibility and direction.
Unfortunately, it has neither. While The Ring was no gem, it managed to generate a few genuinely tense moments, and keep a tense atmosphere going, at least until the end when it began explaining things.
In contrast, the sequel is a total cash grab. This movie exists for no other reason than to milk some more money from The Ring brand name. In addition to not being particularly coherent, it is just plain dull and generates next to no apprehension or scares.
The implausibility starts from the very beginning. The two leads from the first film, Rachel (Naomi Watts) and her son Aiden (David Dorfman), have relocated from Seattle to rural Oregon to escape Samara, the vengeful ghost who haunted them via videotape in the first outing. Samara has followed them somehow, and this is just the first in a series of head-scratchers throughout the movie. Somehow, Samara has possessed Aiden, and the rest of the plot deals with Rachel’s attempts get the ghost out of her son.
Abandoning the haunted videotape hook is the first way The Ring Two slips up. It was one of the neatest things about the first movie. Without that edge, this turns into a generic thriller easily interchangeable with about ten others. The blame for this flaccid, unoriginal script can be placed squarely on the shoulders of screenwriter Ehren Kruger. It’s a shame – people have probably come to expect so much more from the man behind such gems as Reindeer Games and Scream 3.
Nakata does a mediocre job directing, but because of the screenplay, he’s not given a whole lot to work with. There is one genuinely unnerving scene in the whole movie involving a pack of wild deer, but since it doesn’t make sense in the context of the rest of the movie, it is not nearly as effective as it could have been.
When the best part of an entire movie is an inconsequential two-minute cameo from Gary Cole (The boss from Office Space), you know something is wrong.
The Ring Two has grossed more then 35 million over its opening weekend, according to movieweb.com. Hopefully this will receive a lukewarm reaction and the proverbial fork will be stuck in this franchise.
Chuck DelRoss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.