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Director Hideo Nakata reminds
an impatient Naomi Watts to,
"talk, move and react" slower,
or risk keeping the audience
awake.

The Ring Two
(Hollywood remake or sequel, or film based on a comic book, book, play or video game # 12, since January 1st, 2005. Click for full list of Hollywood's lack of original ideas.)
Review written by: Alex Sandell

Why there won't be a Ring Three ...

The Ring Two is the worst horror sequel since Jason took Manhattan.  Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) and her son Aidan (David Dorfman) are being haunted by that grainy black & white tween that lives in a well.  To save the world, Rachel must throw the videotape she made at the end of the first Ring in the fires of Mount Doom.  Actually, Sissy Spacek ("you forgot me, you really forgot me") -- looking eerily similar to Michael Jackson, while playing the birth mother of the cable interference chick from the well -- tells Rachel that she must kill Aidan.  Aidan's been possessed by the "squint and you can just make out the image" girl and is doing his best to be creepy like Danny Torrance from The Shining, but is coming off more like Cody Campbell in Scary Movie 3.  And that, along with some really bad Computer Generated deer, is The Ring Two

If seeing a girl slowly emerge from a TV once was scary, imagine how scary it would be nine more times!

The Ring Two had nothing going for it, and I'm guessing everyone behind the film knew that.  The first one tied things up well enough and the story of Rachel and Aidan was over.  The mystery was solved (if you ignore the loose ends -- just like The Ring Two does).  Horror movies were relegated to a watered-down PG-13 existence forever more.  So where can you go when there's nowhere to go?  How about back to where you already were?  The producers weren't quick to forget the chills and thrills they gave the audience when old rabbit ears well girl crawled out of a television toward the end of the first film.  Throwing things like "build up," "suspense," and "plot" to the wind, they get right to having single-comb filter female popping out of any and every television set that she could vacate.  When they tire of that, she just appears in video cameras or bathtubs.  This is the, "if it was scary once, it would have to be ten times scarier nine more times" logic that never works.  Like a good joke gone bad because the teller doesn't know when enough's enough.  Fuzzy dead drowned dame was scary in the first movie because she was in a cameo role.  The novelty quickly wears thin when the filmmakers decide to make her the next Freddy Krueger or Pinhead. 

Bore the audience into thinking they're watching something important ...

The Ring Two is extraordinarily boring.  Remember that white dude with the afro that used to paint pictures on public television?  The movie moves at the pace of his television show.  It's like watching an episode of This Old House with bad plumbing.  Hideo Nakata, director of the original film, Ringu and Ringu 2 and possibly a TV commercial for canned spaghetti known as Ragu, has taken the place of Gore Verbinski -- director of the first American Ring movie.  Although Nakata did a fine job with Ringu, his work here suffers greatly.  It's as though he's deliberately slowing the film down, to make it feel like something important.  If you want to know exactly how important it is, read the plot summary in the first paragraph of this review.  The movie is shallow, like Hal.  At the very least, couldn't they have gotten Naomi Watts naked again, and recreated that titillating lesbian scene found in Mulholland Dr.?  After suffering through this film I thought of changing Hideo Nakata's name to Hideous CaCa, but that would have been immature.

Wes Craven's Refurbished Nightmare ...

The Ring Two stole from nearly every horror movie out there, but none so much as Wes Craven's New Nightmare.  If you're a horror fan over the age of 25, you're going to be bugging out at how badly this film ripped off the underrated seventh installment in the A Nightmare on Elm Street series.  From the monster trying to come to life through a kid to the mother of the kid being wrongly accused of child abuse to said mother promising to follow the child into his own dream -- this film is highway fucking robbery.  There are also plenty of scenes lifted from The Omen and The Shining, along with the original The Ring.  At times, the film feels like a theme park ride based on the first movie.  Every major set piece from the original is somehow implemented in this film -- usually for no reason.  We have the tree make its appearance on a wall.  The well is back, and back, and back again.  The videotape.  The fly.  The place with the horses.  It's like a greatest hits collection of memories that aren't old enough to turn you nostalgic.  Sort of like a, "I Love 2002" collection of songs.  Then again, in today's world, that's not so far-fetched.  As a matter of fact, I think they call it, "NOW That's What I Call Music!"  

The nightmare's just beginning ...

Before The Ring Two there were at least 5 trailers for other PG-13 horror movies that looked exactly like The Ring Two.  One of them even started by saying, "from the writer of The Ring."  Another began with, "from the author of The Ring."  Then there was Wes Craven's Red Eye and the Amityville Horror remake.  There was also one with Kate Hudson that dealt with sand and mirrors and spirits and Cajun cooking.  I can't remember what it was called, but I'm sure it was also brought to you by somebody that had something to do with The Ring.  Although, as a horror fan, I hold out some hope for Red Eye and Amityville Horror, I can't see anything but the self-destruction of the terror genre, if Hollywood keeps making the same PG-13 ghost story, over and over again.  This happened with slasher films in the 80's.  People can only take so much.  Hollywood can only make so much.  And instead of killing the genre, why not spice it up with some variety?  How about a few hardcore R rated horror movies for adults thrown into the mix, for good measure?  Maybe there should be a "No Spirits" section at every multiplex.  At the very least, if Hollywood must keep making these family friendly movies about apparitions, couldn't they put in a little effort?  The first Ring wasn't half bad.  The second is almost all rotten.  There are a few good performances, but nothing much else to write home about.  And please, for the love of God, next time someone suggests that a pack of CG deer could be scary, smack them upside the head and send them to bed without any venison.

Agree? Disagree? Have questions?  Comments?  Email this critic at alex@juicycerebellum.com

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3

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