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3.1 out of 5 stars
The Ring Two (Unrated Widescreen Edition)
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80 of 99 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
As a rule, sequels are terrible. And "The Ring Two" is not so much terrible as it is ordinary. It's graced with an outstanding performance by Naomi Watts and some truly creepy scenes, but it lacks the visceral direction of the first movie. In short, it's a sequel.

As the story opens, we see a slimy-looking boy tricking his girlfriend into watching (drumroll please) The Tape (anyone who saw the short film "Rings" will see the backdrop). As we know from "The Ring," if you get someone else doomed by the tape, you get to live and they die. But things don't turn out so well for the boy. Meanwhile, Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) is fleeing to a rural town with her son Aidan (David Dorfman). They thought they had managed to destroy the evil Samara's curse, but of course they were wrong.

And no sooner have they settled down, than Rachel finds signs of Samara's presence. A young boy has died inexplicably, left with a hideous facial deformity. When Rachel confirms that it was Samara who killed him, she finds that Samara is now targeting Aidan's. In a nutshell, she wants to possess him. Now Rachel must delve into Samara's past to find a possible way to stop him -- or risk losing her son to Samara.

"The Ring" revamped the modern horror genre, casting aside CGI ghosts and machete-wielding wackos in favor of subtle horror and demon-children. Not to mention getting Hollywood interested in Japanese horror movies. In short, it was a horror hit that deserved to be one. But "The Ring Two" is merely adequate, not really good.

Maybe the biggest problem of "The Ring Two" is that it has no bedrock to stand on. Author Koji Suzuki wrote a sequel called "Spiral," which was then adapted into the movie "Rasen." But "The Ring Two" has no such grounding. It's just a free-floating Hollywood sequel, to a movie which was remake of a Japanese movie adapted from a book. Given those stats, it's amazing that it's as good as it is.

Director Hideo Nakata, of the Japanese "Ringu" films, was brought in to replace Gore Verbinski. But while he does a competant job, the film lacks the quick cuts, fast-forwarding and sense of pervasive horror. Instead, we get water on the ceiling -- pretty and moderately creepy, but very obvious. The laughable deer attack was just random, especially as Samara has no connection with deer. And Samara's occasional "boo!" appearances take away from her creepiness -- whatever happened to "less is more"?

Not to say that there is no creepiness and no subtlety. Samara alone accounts for much of them -- she slinks around like a less deteriorated version of Gollum, and seeks a "mommy." Nakata does a good job with the odd symbolism injected into the film, such as the ever-present water all over the place. (Interestingly, Nakata also directed the Japanese adaptation of Suzuki's "Dark Water." A bit of seepage?)

Samara aside, much of the creepiness comes from Naomi Watts' performance -- as in the first "Ring" movie, she exudes a taut, quietly frantic demeanor, while keeping herself focused. She gives what is undoubtedly the best performance here. Sissy Spacek gives a solid if brief performance as Samara's birth mother, but Dorfman is pallid as Watts' son.

It quite obviously is leaving the way open for "Ring Three," which is either a thrill or a chill. Taken alone, "The Ring Two" isn't a bad movie, but it suffers badly when set next to its predecessor.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2006
Format: DVD
There are arguments as to whether or not a sequel should be able to stand as a movie on its own: i.e., must you watch the preceding movies in a series all in order? Well, not always. You can enjoy Bride of Frankenstein perfectly well knowing only the core premise of the original Frankenstein. In the case of "The Ring Two" you MUST have seen the original, or you will not understand many of the visual clues and plot twists and, presumably, the movie makers assumed this.

This sequel continues the story of the original movie with a fairly plausible but unimpressive plot line. Ring Two opens with a drip of a boy trying to trick a girlfriend into watching "the" videotape as the clock winds down on his seven days. Then we see Rachel, the mom in the first Ring, trying to start a new life for herself and her son Aidan outside the bustle (and bad memories) of Seattle. When she learns that someone has died in a gruesome fashion familiar to her, guilt about her solution to the Samara problem in the first Ring impels her to involve herself again in what should have been left alone.

This sequel is not terrible, but the first two-thirds of the movie is fairly predictable; you only wait to see the details of how we get to where we know we are going. There are some interesting plot twists toward the end, and we learn some new information about Samara's background, but what we learn directly contradicts what we found out in the original movie.

Ring Two has a bit more visual horror than Ring one (mostly gruesome face shots of Samara's victims) but it is much less frightening than the original. I watched the original for the third time a week before watching Ring Two for the first time. Despite the fact that I knew the "secrets" of the first Ring, it still kept me in a palpable state of fearful anticipation, which rather surprised me. The use of unseen or briefly seen horror was masterfully done in the first, and nearly absent in the second. This movie runs a bit over two hours and it would have benefited enormously from snipping out about a half hour of it. Parts of the first hour in particular are painfully slow.

As others have noted, there is a fairly entertaining extra feature "Rings" which is supposed to explain the connection between Ring one and Ring Two. It doesn't really so much as it is a prequel to The Ring Two. Disappointingly, "Rings" does not explain how a group of teenagers came to discover the "secret" of saving yourself from death that Rachel found out from hard experience in the first movie, and that sets up the action for the second. This short subject is fast paced and interesting partly because it is only 15 minutes long.

In all I learned two things watching "The Ring Two." First, if you are a young man who meets an attractive young single mom named Rachel with a rather strange son named Aidan, maybe you should look somewhere else for a date. Second, if you've seen only the first "Ring" and would like to see another movie in the same vein, rent or buy "Ringu," the original Japanese movie before you spend your money on "The Ring Two."
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2006
Format: DVD
After I saw the film, I checked out the special features and there was the short film "Rings" so I checked it out and oddly enough I jumped twice which the main film didn't do. We have a problem here then. At least the first one was a bit creepy, here it's kind of been neutered, as if it's supposed to be scary but we kind of matured past it maybe.

6 months after the events from the first film, Rachel and her son Aidan have moved away from the city to a small town. Hoping to be forever ridden of Samara, they take up residence and Rachel becomes part of a newspaper while Aidan's becoming a photography enthusiast. That changes when a boy's body is found with a severely dislocated jaw. Looks like Samara's back, only she's got a plan this time, to take over Aidan.

2 scenes stick out from the first one: Amber Tamblyn's body in the closet and of course the TV scene. Here? It's a bunch of badly animated deer attacking a car. Yes that's right, deer. First, why Samara would manifest herself as deer is beyond me and the scene isn't even that freaky anyways. The rest is just a bunch of water dripping everywhere and Samara making tiny appearances. She doesn't even do anything either, just scratched at walls and stands there.

The short film Rings however is nicely done. The boy in the intro who's desperately trying to get the girl to watch the video is featured as he gets part of a "Rings group" that watched the video and tries to see how far they can get before the end of Day 7. It made me jump twice which the main film barely did plus it has 2 cute girls and that's always bonus.

Normally sequels are just thrown together with a paper thin plot but Ring 2 tries to expand on the story but it's not quite enough. And apparently Naomi Watts didn't like the first script so a fast rewrite was done and hence Ring 2. Guess Naomi had her luck ran out or this was the best they can do. Too bad.
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25 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
I'm not going to waste your time trashing the film of exposing plot points. Instead I hope to bridge a gap that reviews seem to be leaving out.

All the reviews of the movie center on "how bad it is," but there's a little tasty treat mixed up in the DvD that not many people are talking about. Originally released as "Rings," a gap to bridge the span between movies, there's a short tale that spans the two and tells its watcher about "Ring Groups" that begin popping up when people hear about the video. Thrill-seekers, wanting to know what they'll find, begin watching the tapes and recording everything they see, showcasing the bizarre events that everyone else experiences. As an audience we tag along with one of these groups, and their attempts to document the oddities like we've seen in the first Ring movie.

And its frightening, even if its short.

As for the movie, it has some portions of it that are enlightening, some that are disappointing, and a theme that doesn't really do the dance that the Japanese sequel offered. I didn't expect anything from it, however, and wasn't horrible disappointed in what I saw. It had a lot of "this and that's" that did make it more than the release in the theaters, making me feel better about spending my money. And I got Rings for free as a special feature, so that worked for me.

RENT it, don't expect so much, and maybe you'll like it. Just watch the special features, for sure.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2007
Format: DVD
Most sequels are little more than a cheeper rehash of the original, but this superior sequel actually may be better than it's original in that the story is better explained and the history is more the focus. Everything that made the first movie great is here in this one as well, but this film seems to have a clearer vision and brings far more depth to all of the principal characters. Like the first one, there is no gore or bloodshed; it is just good old fashioned, spooky, atmospheric story-telling. This whole film is slickly executed and has a definitive ending and I hope that it is the end as a third go-around would be rather lame in comparison to this film and the original.

This film really does bring an appropriate end to the story which by this point has reached an almost mythical stature. We learn in much more detail about Sumara's life before her murder and, more importantly, what it is that she really wants. Neither of these aspects are explored enough in the first film. While both films are very satisfying in their conclusion, this one is moreso as we better understand the reasons behind Sumara's behavior and why she was murdered in the first place.

This film is nothing less than riveting. I and my family, thanks to the PG-13 rating for its disturbing images and not for gore or sex, totally enjoyed this very effective chiller.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2007
Format: DVD
Okay first of all to the person who said Samara has no connection to dear... did you actually watch this movie beginning to end???? Because, if you did, you must've forgotten the part where Rachel is in the basement of Samara's adoptive family. There was an enormous pile of dear horns, antlers.... whatever they're called there was a huge pile of them.
I liked this movie even though it didn't scare me, but no movie has EVER truly scared me.... not Saw, not the Nightmare on Elm Street series nor the Child's Play movies. It didn't really explain much about Samara herself except that as a baby the only time she ever cried was when she was about to be given a bath. But why??? I know her mother said something about letting the death in or something like that but that's one thing that could've been explained better is exactly why Samara didn't like water. And also, besides her adoptive mother going insane why did she throw her in that well? Did the "voices inside" tell her to or what? There's alot missing from this movie but overall it was alright.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2006
Format: DVD
Several months after the horrifying events of the original film, Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) takes her creepy son, Aidan (the still charmless David Dorfman) and relocates to a small town far from the city. Soon after her arrival, a teen is found murdered so Rachel decides to do some investigating. She discovers that Samara is alive and well (no pun intended) and up to her old tricks. Unable to escape her evil influence, Rachel must do some more detective work or else her son, who begins to show signs of possession may pay the ultimate price.

Inferior sequel to the original horror hit is still an enjoyable watch. Thanks largely to the creative visual effects. This installment relies less on suspense and more on cheap thrills but if you let yourself get taken in by the awesome images on display, you may easily forget that the story doesn't make a whole lot of sense. The film's possession theme is an interesting one but it's very sloppily done. The director took a great idea and did absolutely nothing with it. Which is a shame because there are layers to this story that could have been expanded on or executed better. It appears the director was too busy trying to make this picture look good therefore neglecting the plot. But as I mentioned previously, if this film works, it's because it's visually spellbinding. In one incident, during Aidan's bath, we see water pour upwards out of the bathtub and drip from the bathroom ceiling. In another creepy scene, we see the murderous Samara scratch Aidan's bedroom wall which then grows into an over-sized, fiery stain. In another, we witness Samara, almost spider-like, climb and claw her way out of the well in pursuit of a frightened Rachel. Episodes such as these are reason enough to recommend this picture. Another good reason is the great cast. Naomi Watts is great as the distraught Rachel Keller, a mother who desperately tries to save her only child's soul. Other's in the cast include Elizabeth Perkins and an almost unrecognizable Sissy Spacek who is especially creepy as Samara's birth mother. With her messed up hair and sad, weathered face, Spacek delivers the most chilling line in the film "You let the dead get in."

We can all agree that "The Ring Two" is inferior in almost every way to the original. However, the great cast, good performances and spine-chilling imagery should please many horror film fans. They should definitely give this film a try.

Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2005
Format: DVD
Now I know why all the corpses have drooping lower jaws --- they yawned themselves to death!!

This movie is a decent ghost story, but it's no more scary that any other mediocre horror sequel. The premise really takes the wind out of this movie's sails. Samara is trying to possess Aidan so that Rachel can be the "mommy" she never had.... aawwwww, the little scary ghost who kills people with her little scary video tape wants her mommy.... two hours of this.... *snore*

And the computer-animated deer that attack Aidan and Rachel in the car... like rejects from a Bambi cartoon and they're not happy about not making the final cut.

Also, it's easy to tell that a different make-up and special effects company worked on this film than the previous one. Example: in the first film, they find Katie in the closet after Samara the little videotape ghost has killed her, and she has the famous "Ring corpse" face with the drooping jaw. I have a photograph of that scene (wish I could attach it to this review). The make-up job to give her that corpse face was amazing and it's one of the most frightening images from that movie (just search Google images for: ring katie face. Don't use any quotes). However, a different company obviously handled the make-up work on this flick and the Ring-faced corpses all look like dopey Herman Munster parodies in the middle of a big YAWN.

The first Ring scared me half to death. The night I saw it, I slept with a loaded 9mm pistol under my pillow... true story. But this one.... I forgot it the second I left the theater and to be honest I really wish I had waited 'til it came out on video.

The reason I give this movie two stars instead of one is because the climax scene was pretty good, and the effects used to make Samara climb up the well were very well-done.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2007
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Sometimes sequences don't work. This is not one of those times. The Ring 2 is quite good. As a matter of fact, the movie manages to explain what the "girl in the well" really wants. Her motivation for killing is simple yet shocking.

Part 2 still does not explore certain problems the mother and her son have as a family. For all intents and purposes, the mother is very caring and loving towards her son. For this reason, I don't understand why the son is so troubled and calls his mother by her first name. Most children say "mom" or "dad" when addressing their parents. I mentioned this point in my first review of The Ring 1.

This is an oversight by the movie's writers. In spite of this lack of character development, The Ring 2 does manage to deliver a dark and chilling mood due to great camera work and dream sequences. There is alot of action including a rather creepy scene involving "evil deer" in the forest. The acting is good, the music adds suspense to each scene, & the movie does make sense (minus the mom and son's strained relationship which is never properly explained).
I mention the little boy's troubled personality because the movie seems to focus very much on him, but, it fails to show "how" the little boy became troubled in the first place.
For this reason, I have taken one star off of what is otherwise a great horror movie. I rate The Ring 2 with 4 stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 11, 2008
Format: DVD
In "The Ring," Samara's corpse is removed from the well in which her adopted mother left her to die. Now her spirit is free to take possession of a living body. That living body must be Aidan.

Rachel and her young son, Aidan (Naomi Watts and David Dorfman) return in "The Ring Two." The cursed VHS tape is still killing teens who watch it. However, Samara takes possession of Aidan's body and is able to kill without the tape. Rachel must get Samara back into the well before she takes complete possession of Aidan. She must not only fight Samara but the doctors and police who suspect her of child abuse.

"The Ring Two" is intense and dramatic, but not as dark, creepy, and foreboding as the original. As with most sequels, the shock factor has worn off. However, It is recommended viewing, especially for those who enjoyed the original. Also, it is a treat to see Sissy Spacek, star of "Carrie," in the role of Samara's insane mother. In "The Ring Two," we learn more about Samara's bizarre background.

My favorite scene is when the deer attack Rachel's car. They know that Aidan is possessed by Samara, much in the same way that the baboons in "The Omen" knew that Damian was the child of Satan.
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