I sawThe Ring in the theater on two successive days. Sleep-deprived and delirious, I illogically figured that if it had scared me so much the first day, maybe re-confronting Samara, her videotape and the awful, contorted faces of her prey would make me feel better. It didn't. For the next two days, I could hardly sleep.
So when pop-up ads for The Ring 2 flickered across my monitor, I wasn't exactly sold on the idea of opening up the well again and peering inside - until I discovered this Ring was directed by Hideo Nakata, who directed the original Japanese scare-fest, Ringu. The sequel was rumored to be less Hollywood and even creepier. I was sold.
The Ring 2 returns to Rachel (Naomi Watts) and her son, Aidan (David Dorfman), who have recently moved to the Oregon coast in an attempt to leave their nightmarish past in Seattle behind. Rachel is trying to balance being a hard-hitting journalist and a soft-yet-tough Mom, all while ensuring that Aidan doesn't grow up to be too weird - but their luck turns sour, and that little black-haired brat is back. This time, she wants a new Mommy - and Rachel's looking like a great pick.
In much the same fashion as the first, this Ring is very scary. Occasionally it'll make you jump - but more than anything, it'll get in your head. The Ring 2 doesn't make you feel physically threatened; it's more of a psychological thriller. Instead of blood and guts - not one drop of the red stuff is shed - you'll find yourself thinking about what it would be like to rot at the bottom of a well and how long it would take you to go.
The Ring 2 has some repeats: You'll see Samara do her disjointed shuffle-walk a few more times, her hair is still in her face (get that kid a barrette!) and her video pops up here and there. On the whole, Nakata brings new life to a story that could easily have been recycled, adding sadistic, terrifying effects to the story that are both fascinating and cringe-worthy. If the first Ring made you fear your television, The Ring 2 will make you terrified of your bathtub.
Publication date: 03/24/05