It's a sure thing that "Rings" will have people screaming into theaters for The Ring Two
. The new 16-minute short film included on a bonus DVD in this Collector's Set is as creepy as anything in the original movie, with quick, jerky, brain-piercing images flashing across the screen and (gulp) into your soul. The style is deliberately like the infamously fatal tapes that were the conceptual heart of The Ring
and its Japanese precursor, Ringu
. The difference here is the very clever thread of a story that's billed as a secret connection between The Ring
and The Ring Two
. We get haunting and studiously fractured glimpses of a gang of teenagers as they pass a new tape amongst themselves. Each one dares the other to make it to "day 7" after watching. Apparently someone else must view their tape for the curse to be lifted, so each has to recruit another before the end of that killer 7th day. There's a whole lot going on in a short time, much of it happening in flash cuts, jangled transitions, and even in what we don't see. What we do see is dangerous enough: the rotting long-haired girl, the bugs, the nightmare imagery, and rings, rings, rings everywhere.
Also included on the bonus disc are the original "cursed" tapes from The Ring, The Ring Two, and Ringu. These are intriguing short films on their own with a stylish sensibility that owes a great deal to surrealism and the early film work of Luis Bunuel. A brief interview piece with the stars and creators of The Ring, and another promo segment titled "The Origin of Terror: The Phenomenon of Urban Legends" flesh out the disc. But it's in the disturbing bits of "Rings" where the real creativity lies. Just hope the phone doesn't ring after you watch. --Ted Fry