The Ring Two

When the American version of the classic Japanese horror film “Ringu” became a smash hit at the box office it did not take a rocket scientist to realize that “The Ring” would soon generate a sequel.

The film had all of the elements for success, a creepy supernatural tale, a twisting and complex storyline that kept viewers guessing, and plenty of frights that made even the most jaded horror viewers squirm.

Sadly, the newest film in the series The Ring Two plays as an uninspired effort that seems to exist simply to cash in on the first film with little to no effort to add to the series.

The film opens with Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts), having left Seattle with her son Aidan (David Dorfman), in an effort to put the horrors of their experiences in the first film behind them. Settling into a bland but comfortable existence in a coastal town named Astoria.

Rachel spends her days working for the tiny local paper though it is obvious that she is struggling to cope with the step down from working for a major metropolitan paper. When an unexplained homicide occurs, the local media crew is excited as for once, they will have a real story to cover. That is all of the staff aside t for Rachel who finds details of the murder disturbingly familiar to what she has witnessed in the past.

A study of the crime scene discovers a copy of the tape from the first film, that when viewed causes the viewer to die in seven days. Rachel is convinced that destroying the tape will end the terror once and for all, but despite her best efforts bizarre events continue.

The fact that her son has become ill and is acting odd, (even for him), is cause for Rachel to try to determine what is causing the changes. What is missing though is the energy and eeriness that drove the first film. Instead the audience gets paper thin characters, a very slow and plodding story, and very few frights.

The film has a couple of good scares but they are very few and far apart. The film also has gigantic lapses in logic as characters act as if their brains are in a deep freeze. During one moment, Rachel is told by her son to drive, instead she decides to stop and chat. Something goes awry, and Rachel is again told to drive, yet again she decides to stop and chat oblivious to what has happened.

All of this could be forgiven but not the very tired fallbacks that the film uses instead of offering anything fresh. What made the first film so good was the way it kept surprising the audience by coming up with new twists and turns as well as clever misdirection that kept viewers on edge and guessing what was to come next.

This time out, the cleverness and originality of the first film seems to have been sucked out of the film in favor of a few gimmick effects and a paper thin plot that seems to have been culled from other films. Add this all up, and sadly The Ring franchise has become an imitator rather than an innovator and this effort will leave fans in the cold.

1 star out of 5