Directed by: Hideo Nakata

Written by: Ehren Kruger

Starring: Naomi Watts, Simon Baker, David Dorfman, Elizabeth Perkins, Gary Cole

Rating: [2/5]

When operating with a terrifying concept, stemming everything from the central conceit will deride most of the success and impact on the audience. However, you can only utilize it on so many occasions before it becomes stale, which The Ring Two found out in its inept storytelling. Not only does the film fail to be interesting, but it also forgot to be scary as well; something that will not bode well for a horror film. 

Moving away from Seattle to create some distance from the tape issue with Samara, Rachel (Naomi Watts) seeks to leave it all behind. However, when another occurrence with the tape occurs leaving a teenage boy dead, she learns this ordeal is far from over as Samara has not given up her pursuit of a mommy.

With the immense success of the first feature, coming back with a sequel feels as American as it gets for a horror film, and allowing the director of the original Japanese feature to helm the project had the makings of a homerun. It certainly had everything in place, except for a viable story, which seems a bit too important to miss out on if wanting to make a successful film. With the mystique of what causes one to die if wanting the haunting tape of Samara, this narrative brought her powers out to impact outside of simply viewing the images. After Rachel burned the last known tape, it appears Samara has found a way to enact fear in a new terrifying way. 

An intriguing idea but by leaving behind the idea of a tape, which very much carried the entire functional horror of this story, the film resorts to existing as a subpar haunting narrative. One where we know Samara wants to find her way to break out and enter the real world but we just don’t know how. This makes for the mystery of the film as her vessel becomes quite obvious in the pursuit of a mother and none of it really amounts to anything worth watching and most of the feature moves at such a languid pace some might find themselves closing their eyelids from the lack of anything engaging happening on the scene. Sure, some jump scares will jolt you back awake, but then you’ll immediately go back because nothing of note occurred. 

Fond memories existed for me regarding this film in the past as I remembered it scaring the lights out of me when an adolescent, but anything of note occurring in the feature gets reserved for the very end. For the integrity of the review to not spoil the last scene of the film, I will not go into it in detail but involves a well and allows Naomi Watts the ability to deliver her best line of the feature while also encapsulating a fairly unsetting scene to mark the conclusion of the story. This scene stood as the most memorable facet and remains the only thing worth watching in this feature. It makes sense why everything else escaped my memory upon a rewatch seeing how lifeless everything proved to be. 

Not only does this film fail in its narrative structure but some of the visual effects employed in this narrative display some shocking results. In one particular scene when a mysterious figure appears from the bathtub, the monstrosity we see appears straight out of a mid-2000s video game, not a feature film with many millions for a budget meant to scare us. Instead, it scared me people watched that particular scene and found it good enough to leave in the final cut. This happens on multiple occasions throughout the feature and it surely does not help in further burying this film with its bevy of issues. 

So much went wrong in the creation of this The Ring Two with the most prevailing one being its lack of scares or reason for existence to compel us. It lost the magic of what made the first feature so memorable and just leaves behind a dull and horrifically boring feature with no zip or any good scare outside of the final sequence, which still remains deeply ingrained in my head to this day. Everything else can be tossed away and it allows us to definitively say this one can be skipped and you can enjoy the first one without worrying if the sequel should be checked out.

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