‘The Ring 2’ comes full circle

Erika Kreider

Warning: Do not go see The Ring 2 if:

– One — you haven’t seen the first one, and

– Two — you have to go to the bathroom.

Seeing the first Ring lends a helping hand in understanding the plot line, especially since the main characters are played by the same actors (Naomi Watts and David Dorfman).

Six months after the scary Samara tape incident, Rachel Keller (Watts) and her son, Aidan (Dorfman) move away to get away from the silly “you will die seven days after you watch this videotape” from the first film. Unsurprisingly, it sneaks into their lives again, killing a 17-year-old boy in their new town.

Rachel, being the intrepid journalist she is, realizes the tape caused his death, and begins to investigate. The weird thing about these tapes now is the killing theory of them changes, yet it’s only six months after the Kellers’ move.

Seeking to get rid of the videotape once and for all, Rachel burns it in the woods. For a brief time, everything seems fine for Rachel and Aidan. The next day, however, Samara’s ghost is released from the videotape and is now trying to take over Aidan.

The Ring 2 is more character driven than the first one, which helps the viewer care about the characters rather than simply being scared.

The new director, Hideo Nakata (who directed the original Japanese Ring and its sequel), steers away from scenes similar to the creepiest, most disturbing image from the first Ring—seeing poor Amber Tamblyn (aka Joan of Arcadia) dead and decaying in a closet. Nothing at all reaches this creep-out level in the sequel.

Nakata’s mode of terror is more along of the lines of pop-up scary, complete with creepy, foreshadowing music. It is overplayed a bit in this 111-minute film, and only about 40 percent made me jump. Special camera effects, however, add admirably to the movie, including the scenes when characters are trapped in the TV.

The plot isn’t exactly scary, but certain things that happen are, and carry some shock value to them.

The music complements the scenes well, adding suspense to them. I knew someone was going to jump out but didn’t know when. Any horror buff should be able to figure it out too, it’s not hard.

Another recurring theme in the movie is water. Appearing in nearly every scene, water is basically its own character in The Ring 2. I was surprised not to see “H2O” listed with the cast credits. My predictions in the next scene actually started to circle around what “Water” was going to do next.

Even though I tried my hardest to figure out the plot line, new characters were thrown in all the time to mix it up. Credit has to be given to superb acting from Dorfman and Watts, which complements the always-changing plot. Stereotyped horror-movie plot devices appear, such as creepy children and making dumb decisions, i.e. running toward the killer.

The Ring 2 gets so intense, I was actually afraid someone was going to grab my feet at one point in the film. Disappointingly, a weak ending left me with no such feeling. I’m not scared to sleep at night, and it doesn’t leave me thinking scary thoughts — a classic stamp of a good scary movie that this one doesn’t carry.

The movie certainly has its moments. Hands down, the best fight scene is Rachel’s Volkswagen battle with a pack of deer. This scared me more than anything, since deer are all over Ohio. The audience in my theater was left confused but laughing.

Plus, having deer stampede my car is more realistic than Samara jumping out of my television set, complete with ugly, long black hair.

I was surprised the filmmakers were able to squeeze this sequel out three years after the original, but The Ring 2 leaves no question unanswered. It’s only worth seeing once, unlike the first Ring.

Nothing about it entices me to watch it again, but it was fun for one round. There are no cool tricks to play on your friends from this one, compared to The Ring where you could call them right after the movie and scare the crap out of them. I was looking forward to scaring my friends after this movie. Being sucked into a TV, like some characters, didn’t scare me, but maybe it will you.

Contact Pop Arts reporter Erika Kreider at [email protected].