A 10-carat disaster that is just another sequel, another horror movie and another story that relies on a young, creepy kid to provide many of its attempted scares. Yes, The Ring was overdramatic and overrated, but The Ring Two still manages to be considerably less suspenseful, less logical and less entertaining than its predecessor.
It’s the worst kind of the sequel, that which doesn’t make much sense if you haven’t seen the first and which offers little of any value to those who have. Since being tormented by a deadly video and a demon with fatally dirty black hair, Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) and her son Aidan (David Dorfman), have left Seattle in favor of the quieter small-town life of Astoria, Wash. But, don’t you know it, apparently the undead can find you wherever you go-as long as you have a TV to slowly crawl out of-so it’s not long before the two are once again haunted by Samara (Kelly Stables), who this time takes control of Aidan’s body.
Troubling for all the wrong reasons, The Ring Two never makes a strong case for its own existence. It opens with essentially the same scene as the original, with two teens about to watch the dreaded video that kills anyone who views it within seven days. One would think that, by this point, kids would get a clue and stop watching-or at least get it on DVD-but apparently it’s become fun to trick friends into watching it so that they have a week to do the same to someone else.
The killer video was never a particularly scary idea, and one thing that can be said for this slow, absurd sequel is that it abandons that concept relatively early on. The downside is that the plot that replaces it is even less gripping, as Rachel tries to understand Aidan’s sudden turn to the dark side and her co-worker (Simon Baker) tries to figure out why she might be trying to kill her own son.
Hideo Nakata (the man behind Ringu, the Japanese film of which The Ring was a remake) takes over the directing duties from the original’s Gore Verbinski, but he essentially copies Verbinski’s jumpy, static-y visual style that appears far too stylized to ever achieve any gritty, lurking terror. The script by schlock-master Ehren Kruger (The Ring, Reindeer Games, Scream 3) is filled with inexplicable twists and turns that desperately want to shake you from your seat, particularly a preposterous deer attack that Kruger doesn’t even try to explain.
The cast is far better than it deserves to be, with Sissy Spacek, Gary Cole and Elizabeth Perkins all appearing in small, frivolous roles. The cameos are mostly a distraction, however, with no actor making much of an impression as characters who just kill time or wait to be killed themselves.
The biggest letdown about The Ring Two, however, is that it fails to significantly advance the story, something a reporter like Rachel should understand is crucial in a follow-up effort. Like the video that provides the premise, it’s a wonder that anyone would still be interested in watching something of this nature. It might not kill you, but don’t take the chance.