Sort of kind of…

No matter how much someone may love a movie, its merits be they good or bad, are of no relevance to the movie studio that made it. Sure, time and energy is spent into crafting these things but sadly there are instances where something gets lost in translation from the pen to the screen.

The Ring Two is the sequel to 2002’s successful The Ring. You may recall that the first film is a remake of a Japanese film, Ringu. It too spawned a sequel with a different storyline. The director of those films, Hideo Nakata, slips into the director’s chair for The Ring Two and while creepy and well-directed, it is ultimately an empty affair.

Rachel Keller is living a peaceful life with her young son Aidan. They’ve put the horrifying incident of the killer videotape and its evil apparition, Samara, in the past and moved from Seattle to nearby Astoria, Oregon. But when a local is found murdered in a similar nature as that of Samara’s victims, Rachel discovers something more shocking than anything on a television screen: Samara wants to become human. And she wants Rachel’s son.

Hideo Nakata deftly plays his hand, keeping the shots static and uneasy. Water is the film’s central theme and it has never appeared more alive, alluring, and creepy. There are no huge scares, save for a rather startling animal attack and a suspenseful chase up a well’s wall with Samara climbing like a spider.

The way the film unfolds leads us to believe that there is more to unravel underneath its plot. But that something never comes. Rachel behaves in ways that contradict what she’s learned from the first film. And if Samara can manipulate the real world, why the need for the cursed videotape? David Dorfman is exceptional as Aidan and Sissy Spacek does well in a small role. Naomi Watts is still as strong as ever as Rachel. But the film never decides what it wants to do. It feels as if it was made by committee and that is sad indeed. It’s not scary, it’s not inventive, it’s just flat. Ehren Kruger, who penned the first film, also wrote this one and it fails to expand on the first film, offering us a tired premise we’ve seen a thousand other times.

The Ring Two is a major misstep. It is a mildly entertaining film but a sequel should improve upon and strengthen the ties made by its predecessor, not simply lie vacant and distant on the screen.

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