Academy Award nominee Naomi Watts (21 Grams) reprises the role of investigative reporter Rachel Keller in The Ring Two, the sequel to the 2002 horror hit The Ring. Hideo Nakata, the director of the original Japanese blockbuster Ringu, upon which The Ring was based, directed The Ring Two, which marks his American film debut.
The story picks up six months after the horrifying events that terrorized Rachel Keller and her son Aidan (David Dorfman) in Seattle. To escape her haunting memories, Rachel takes Aidan and moves to the small coastal community of Astoria, Oregon to start fresh. However, Rachel's resolve quickly turns to dread when evidence at a local crime scene--including an unmarked video tape--seems eerily familiar. Rachel realizes that the vengeful Samara is back and more determined than ever to continue her relentless cycle of terror and death.
Joining Naomi Watts and David Dorfman in the cast are Simon Baker (TV's The Guardian), Elizabeth Perkins (Speak), and Academy Award winner Sissy Spacek (Coal Miner's Daughter, Carrie).
While The Ring Two is not a direct adaptation of the Japanese sequels to Ringu, don't make the mistake of calling it an original screenplay--because there's hardly anything original about it. Screenwriter Ehren Kruger's previous credits of Reindeer Games and Impostor should have served as fair warning of the inevitable disappointment.
The Ring Two borrows liberally from other movies, but it mostly rips off the 2002 Asian horror flick Dark Water (which has already been reincarnated as a decent remake starring Jennifer Connelly, due later this year). Ironically, the fact that director Hideo Nakata helmed both of these projects makes The Ring Two's lack of innovation more frustrating, not more forgivable. Specific elements that are becoming all too commonplace in this genre are recklessly reused: kid ghosts, drowning, running water, and wet hair. You only have to see this stuff in two or three different films before it becomes as redundant as a Stephen King story set in Maine about childhood friends. And they aren't even subtle about the rehashing. The Ring Two duplicates Dark Water down to individual scenes, including the heroine fighting with the evil spirit in a bathtub and screaming, "Leave my child alone! Take me instead!"
Fans of The Ring may be disappointed that the infamous video tape of doom has little to do with the sequel. It's more about Samara, the evil spirit on the tape, and how she is "just looking for a mommy to love her." Aaawww...please!
Despite having a weak story and being a total rip off, The Ring Two isn't without its moments. A scene in which Naomi Watts and her son are attacked by a gang of deer (or elk, or some other horned Bambi-looking animal...I'm not sure which) is pretty intense, and seeing Samara climb up the well all twisted and spider-like is cool. Still, a handful of highlights can't quite qualify as a rousing recommendation.
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