Pity the people who will walk into 'Ring 2' not having seen the original remake from a few years ago. They will be left confounded, not able to make the connection between the title and the story, because 'Ring 2' does not have remotely anything to do with the original. This is a movie about a mother protecting her child who is possessed by the malignant spirit of a dead girl. As far as horror movies go, lack of originality doesn't get any more exemplary.
Which is a shame really because the first time pretty mom Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) and her son Aidan tried to save themselves from the curse of a grisly death following the viewing of a cursed video tape, it made for a terrific and terrifyingly good time at the movies. Ring 2, which picks up right after the events from the first, doesn't even manage to create the cheap jumpy thrills of weaker genre movies. Directed by Hideo Nakata, whose Japanese 'Ringu' was the inspiration for the first one, Ring 2 manages to be perplexingly senseless without being bizarre or ominous enough to distract from the fact that there is absolutely nothing minutely believable or frightening about what we are seeing.
By those accounts, Ring 2 shares something in common with last years 'Grudge', which though never managed to delve into anything beyond surface level shock, redeemed itself somewhat by being menacingly effective in parts. The tie binding these two films is of course their Japanese origin, a get rich quick scheme for Hollywood producers at present who use their powers to give birth to this years more unnecessary sequel.
Writer Ehren Kruger milks the best moments of his first screenplay without reaching a rousing crescendo. During her investigation, akin to the one she undertook before, Rachel is attacked by a pack of deer, meets Samara's crazed biological mother Evelyn (Sissy Spacek in little more than a cameo) and tries to trace and finally confront the evil that dwells at the bottom of a reeking well. But the mystery of an unfolding past, the unending suspense created by the macabre seven day countdown to death and the uniquely bizarre horror of a cursed tape is nowhere to be found. The sequel is rendered handicap by the success of its creepy and atmospheric predecessor, and neither the parallels that are made between Rachel's present predicament with that of Evelyn's in the past nor the symbolism of water to cause fear do much to help the malady of a nonsensical horror movie. - Faizan Rashid