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THE RING 2 — HAUNTEDHOUSES.COM
I like the title of this film. It has a certain ring to it. Okay, bad joke. But seriously, thinking of such jibes is how I mostly entertained myself during The Ring Two. Well, I suppose there is more to like about The Ring Two—sequel to the 2002 hit film The Ring—than my dubious quips. If you liked the original Ring, I see no reason why the second installment would not, eh, ring true for you as well (I couldn't help myself). The Ring Two is a retread of the first installment but without all the freshness that made the debut film so entertaining.
As The Ring Two opens we find two teenagers (I think they were teenagers) acknowledging they have the hots for each other. The girl is a little miffed that her cute guy only now has professed his interest in her, what with graduation coming right up. They go back to her parents place I presume. There he shows her a tape. The dude gets super creepy at this point. He has some bizarre need to have her watch the tape, which he describes as the scariest thing he had ever seen. He implores her to watch it. He gets weird about it. Finally, he convinces her to watch it. He kisses her and leaves the room.
In the kitchen he stares at the clock nervously. If she doesn't watch the tape by 11:00 PM, something bad is going to happen. Meanwhile, she deliberates, pausing dramatically. Finally, she puts it into the VCR. In the kitchen, a discoloration in the shape of a hand appears on the dude's arm. He freaks out. Blood, I think, begins to come into the kitchen, but on second glance it looks like water. He runs into the room and essentially yells at her, "What did you do?!" Nice guy, huh? He wants his girl to watch the tape so it will eventually go on to destroy her and spare him I guess?
Unfortunately for the dude, she said she played the tape but "didn't look". He is really freaked out now. Here something weird happens. It is hard to tell if he is sucked into the TV or the spirit in the TV jumped into him. The girl screams and... ...cut to Hollywood star Naomi Watts as Rachel Keller feeding her son Aidan (David Dorfman) a meal.
Like in the last film, Rachel Keller is a news reporter. She apparently moved to Astoria, Oregon to get away from that pesky trouble in The Ring, the original film. She likes it in the new small town because it is quiet. However, she hears at the news station about some dude who died with a weird look on his face. Hmm.
Now would be a good time to explain a little bit about the original film, The Ring, which the Ring Two is based on. You see, there is this video tape that if you watch it, you get a call and a voice tells you that you have seven days to live. The video contains a montage of black and white images, a creepy scene with some lady combing her hair in a mirror. You see a well. There are fields. You also get haunted by the ghost of Samara, a girl that was killed by her Mom as a backdrop to the plot in The Ring. Oh, you die seven days later after watching the video tape too. Of course, one way to escape this fate is to have someone else watch the tape. This is the plot of The Ring and it is also the plot of The Ring Two. For the most part, though, The Ring Two is reasonably entertaining and competently filmed, just not very inspired. I would say a moderately above average ghost film. I've seen a lot worse, that is for sure.
Speaking of scenes, there is one at a local festival where Keller walks around with her son Aidan. Aidan is beginning to experience nightmares. But, alas, he is out wondering around the festival and finds the need to relieve himself in a restroom that is surprisingly empty for a festival. Well, it is not empty, the spirit of a little girl is there. She floats toward with him with malice, but he is not afraid. He takes her picture over and over again. Brave little spud.
All is well and fine until they are driving home along a wooded road. I am not making this up, but they are assaulted by deer. Yes, deer attack their car by ramming antlers into the sides and throwing themselves at the vehicle. They, the deer, surround the car and then they let them go. Were the deer in the employ of the Samara, the ghost girl? This is never really explained at all. I suppose that is original right? A bunch of deer attacking the car. Maybe it was something cool an FX whiz learned to do with the CGI machine and they figured they had to put it in there. Neat perhaps but totally unrelated to the plot.
A part that is really stupid is when they get back home. She tucks him in the bed and then suddenly every appliance in the house starts banging around, the lights go on and off. The whole house seems ready to collapse. Keller runs upstairs to Aidan's bedroom. She sees that the window is open and says something to the effect, "What is the window doing open?" Hmm. Apparently supernatural forces that are rocking the house to its very foundation are no cause for concern, but—damn you Aidan, you left the window open!
By now we know that Keller and Aidan are still being haunted by Samara, the ghost from the first film. Why? Who knows? Somehow the ghost is attached the boy. We arrive at a point where Keller tries to kill the boy by drowning him in the bathtub, but only when he appears to be Samara. Wait, maybe it was Samara? It would appear that Samara has possessed her boy. Simon Baker is Max Rourke, the male interest in the film who works with Keller at the local paper. He walks in when it would appear that Keller is trying to drown Aidan. As a result, he helps her into a mental institution where the doctors suspect Keller of abusing the poor kid. However, the possessed boy causes his shrink to inject herself in the neck with a fatal dosage of medicine. Not sure what it was but it must obviously work wonders for the mentally ill. Later the boy— or Samara—causes Max Rourke to die too. They find him with that bizarre look on his face, which can be described as both horrific and strangely orgasmic at the same time.
Keller's new angle to save her son is to seek out Samara's original family. We learn Samara was adopted by the Morgan family. This leads Keller to the institutionalized mother of Samara, Evelyn (the legendary Sissy Spacek). Keller learns that Evelyn suffered from severe postpartum depression. She believed she needed to kill her child (Yes, I would call that severe). So, Samara was taken from her and given to the Morgan family.
That is all well and clever don't you think? I mean you can play that adoption trick for the next sequel too, right? Perhaps Samara was adopted by Evelyn. So maybe in the third film there will be another institutionalized wacko to visit?
Finally, it is clear: what must now happen to free Aidan is to kill him. How does this happen? A poisonous PB and J followed by a dunk in the bathtub. Samara hates water and the trick works. She exits Aidan's body and goes back into the TV set. Keller jumps through it into the world of Samara. She puts a cap on the well and then jumps off the cliff to escape back to reality.
So what does this all amount too? Many plot questions were simply left unanswered. Perhaps most importantly, how will the video tape affect people once it's transferred to a Blue-Ray Disc? Will the next person that watches the plight of Samara become possessed in 1080p or 780i? I guess we'll find out in the Ring Three - unless we kill ourselves first.