Ringu 2
Starring:
Miki Nakatani, Hitomi Sato, Ky˘ko Fukada
Directed By:
Hideo Nakata
Grade
B

Not to be confused with Rasen, Ringu 2 is yet another direct sequel to the original Ringu. Because Rasen bombed so badly, director Hideo Nakata was brought in to make another sequel in hopes that the first attempt would be forgotten. As with Rasen, Ryuji is dead and his girlfriend Mai is trying to research as to why he died. But, unlike Rasen, she doesn't becomes attached to any medical examiner. Mai tries to piece together what happened in the previous film through clues left by those who died and those who are still alive.

Her research leads her to find herself developing some psychic ability (which of course leads to some cool sequences). It also seems that Reiko Asakawa's son, Yoichi, is likewise developing these abilities. This, of course, forces them to find a solution to their dilemma before they become victim's to Sadako's curse.

When The Ring Two was in development, there had been rumors that the story was going to follow the survivors of the curse, including the best friend of the girl that died at the beginning of the movie. After watching Ringu 2, I have to think that the Ring sequel was intended to follow the same lines as this film. In Ringu 2, you get an insight to those who witness the curse from a bystander's point of view. In of the strongest sequences is the small portion that shows the first killing from the opening of Ringu from where the girl hid in the closet. Sadako climbs out of the television with a ghostlike quality. The voyeuristic element of this scene sends shivers up and down the viewer's spine.

Ringu 2 presents a strong dramatic flair as it builds both characters and relationships. While I thought the character relationships from the first film were a little convenient and contrived, the characters here really have a strong resonance. The deep dramatic quality of the characters is offset by some dark sequences that really do a wonderful job of unnerving the viewer. One of the best scenes is in the psyche ward where the television turns from daytime viewing to a scene of the haunted well where Sadako's hairs slowly flows out. This drives the patients into a frenzy, heightening the underlying build of tension in the scene.

Though I liked the direction that Ringu 2 took in comparison to Rasen and the American sequel, it still suffers from the obvious quick turnaround (it was the third film released in a year for the series). While there are some cool scenes throughout, the endgame is where all the great stuff happens. So, the viewer must sit through some tedious portions and there are bits of the plot/script that I'm sure could have been cut or just changed for the better.

If the previously mentioned rumors about The Ring Two's original plot line are to be believed, then I would have to suggest that the American moviegoer got screwed, badly. Instead of a character driven psychological thriller/horror flick that digs deeper into what made the first film so intriguing, we got a a dumbed down shocker fest. So, if you want to see what the sequel of The Ring should have been like, check out Ringu 2.

- - Vane

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