Review: The Ring Two

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There have been a lot of great horror series in the course of Hollywood history. From Freddy's razor sharp claws to Michael Myers' ghostly face, to the blood-stained hockey mask of Jason Voorhees. Okay, all of them aren't great, but the series were still a lot of fun.

When it comes to the Ring series, I may have to classify it in another horror series like The Amityville Horror, or dare I say The Omen or The Exorcist. The Ring movies are a new brand of psychological horror and like Amityville and others it probably should have stuck with just the one film.

The Ring Two follows Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) and her young son Aidan (David Dorfman) to a remote west coast town where they hope they have finally outrun the supernatural force, Samara (Kelly Stables), who plagued them in the first film. Rachel is concerned about her son when trickles of Samara seem to be coming back through him. She confides in a co-worker Max Rourke (Simon Baker from TV's The Guardian) and even has to face off against a psychiatrist (Elizabeth Perkins).

What does the willowy Samara want this time? How can Rachel end the cycle of the Ring for the final time? What is Aidan's link to Samara?

Like Amityville and other psychological horror series, The Ring's sequel seems more or less like an afterthought than a continuation of the series. The film barely chugs along and has little or no punch. There are no real scares, nor any creepiness about the film " it is just there.

What is even more maddening is the wasted use of Elizabeth Perkins, Sissy Spacek, and even Simon Baker. One of the small roles I kind of liked was that of Gary Cole as the surrealistic realtor who seemed to have stepped off the bus from Hunter S. Thompson territory. He was quite a gem.

You do also have to give Naomi Watts credit, she does have the feelings terror, shock, despair, desperation, and motherly concern down pact. Her performance is quite good, even if it does get a little tedious in some scenes.

David Dorfman's Aidan is sort of creepy and he does a great job playing off Watts. In a lot of the quieter scenes " and there are lots of them " all I could hear echoing in the silence was one phrase: "I see dead people".

The core of the film seems to be a metaphor for postpartum depression, which in a lot of ways really bugged me. I know it's a film, but when it came down to this angle it left me quite hollow inside. If we are supposed to cheer for this struggling heroine, why unleash such an unforgivable angle. It seemed like an odd choice on how to carry on the series or even in the development of the Rachel character.

I was hoping for a lot of what the original contained, but I think one of its biggest faults was the fact that director Gore Verbinski wasn't back. The film really needed his panache and craziness.

Another surprising fact is that director Hideo Nakata (director of the first 2 Ringu films), who is the man responsible for the success of the Japanese films, directed this boring mess. Maybe he is just utterly bored. I am, however, looking forward to his next scripted horror film, Dark Water, that is coming out later this year.

The Ring Two is a major disappointment when it comes to building a franchise or scaring the pants off someone. (1.5 out of 5) So Says the Soothsayer.

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