While stopped at a roadside phone boot for transmitting his work through Internet to the university, Professor Hideki Satomi finds a scrap of newspaper with the picture of his five years ... See full summary »
Damien the Antichrist, now age 13, finally learns of his destiny under the guidance of an unholy disciple of Satan. Meanwhile dark mystical forces begin to eliminate all those who suspect the child's true identity.
In this sequel to Ringu (1998), Mai Takano is trying to learn more about the death of her boyfriend, Ryuji. She soon hears stories about a videotape haunted by the spirit of a girl named Sadako, who died many years earlier. Supposedly, anyone watching the tape will die of fright exactly one week later. After some investigating, she learns that Ryuji's son, Youichi, is developing the same psychic powers that Sadako had when she was alive. Mai must now find some way to keep Yuuichi and herself from becoming Sadako's next victims. Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <email@example.com>
'Ring 2' is a creepy, worthy follow up to the first film...But Nakata and co. might like to try a little harder if they decide to make a third (or fourth?) instalment...
Mourning the inexplicable death of her teacher and friend, Ryuji (Hiroyuki Sanada), Mai Takano (Miki Nakatani) attempts to track down Ryuji's ex-wife, Reiko Asakawa (Nanako Matsushima), who has disappeared from Tokyo with her son Yoichi (Rikiya Otaka). The police, who are investigating the death of Reiko's father, are also looking for her, while Okazaki (Yûrei Yanagi), a work colleague of Reiko's, is continuing from her research on an urban legend involving a videotape that kills whoever watches it. Mai and Okazaki's searches lead them both to a mental institute where Masami (Hitomi Sato), who was witness to Sadako's appearance in her best friend Tomoko's house, is being treated by a doctor (Fumiyo Kohinata) who favours some unorthodox medical procedures. Mai eventually manages to track the Asakawas down, but Yoichi is beginning to exhibit some strange behaviour. Can they escape the clutches of Sadako once more?
On the exact same day that the insanely successful horror masterwork 'Ring' was released, its sequel, 'The Spiral', seemed to come and go without any fanfare whatsoever. As I haven't viewed a single scene from the original second instalment (written and directed by Jôji Iida), it's impossible for me to say if it was deserving enough of its incredibly poor critical and public reception to be completely erased from the continuity of the series (although some who saw it commented that they would rather have watched Sadako's cursed videotape instead). But, in any case, here we are with the replacement, 'Ring 2', which has caused producer Takashige Ichise to rethink his strategy concerning the next follow-up, and reunited most of the cast and crew from the original 'Ring'. This approach creates mostly pros in 'Ring 2', but also some cons as well.
An adaptation of a Kôji Suzuki novel, 'Ring' had a breakneck pace because of its "race-against-time" plotting, and 'Ring 2' picks up from this by beginning just days after the events of the first film, allowing the audience to observe the aftermath of the terror that Sadako and her tape wreaked on so many people. But 'Ring 2' isn't based on a book like 'The Spiral' was, and screenwriter Hiroshi Takashi has nothing to build on but the first film. Wisely, Takashi chooses to go off in a new direction with the story instead of merely rehashing what has come before. But 'Ring 2', which hit the ground running, soon slows to a jog. Takashi answers a few too many questions lingering from the first 'Ring', and while he counters this by raising almost as many (especially with the "weird science" sections in the final act), one may feel robbed of some of the first film's mystery. However, there's a very interesting subplot involving a schoolgirl named Kanae (played by Kyôko Fukada) who owns a copy of the tape that Okazaki wants to study, and this provides a truly hair-raising sequence, similar to the climax of the first film, where interview footage of a young woman somehow refuses to be erased from the videotape it is on. 'Ring 2' is a nice mix of the best elements of its predecessor and some intriguing new material, but it's also a slightly uneasy one too.
With director Hideo Nakata ('Chaos') back on board, it's to be supposed that 'Ring 2' would end up as unsettling as the first film, and the director almost meets this dizzyingly high expectation, but he doesn't want to indulge himself here as much as he did the first time around. Nakata unnecessarily restrains himself on all fronts, with the sound design here being less potent, the cinematography not as innovative, and composer Kenji Kawai's music cues not as chilling as his work on the first film. That said, alongside a thrilling third act, Nakata does offer the audience a host of truly disturbing images, such as a melted, burnt-to-a-crisp videotape in a bathtub, Sadako's reconstructed facial features, and again, the distorted photos of those unlucky enough to have been "marked" by Sadako. But, dare I say it, Nakata seems to have become a tiny bit unenthusiastic with 'Ring 2', and this mutes some of the terror that he summoned up so effortlessly in the first film.
As in 'The Spiral', pop star Miki Nakatani, who was essentially a cameo in 'Ring' (despite being billed second), is elevated to the lead here. While certainly a competent actress (and has the "surprised/shocked/scared" expression nailed), it's difficult to empathise as much with the character of Mai as it is to with Reiko in the first film. Not only due to the step down from Nanako Matsushima's solid performance, but also as events seem to drop into Mai's lap at random. Maybe Nakatani is not to blame; Mai isn't a particularly strong heroine. But, lest I forget, the film is surprisingly as much about the supporting characters as it is about Mai. Especially the denouement, which promises a whole new cycle of horror by leaving the door wide open for another sequel. I can safely say that 'Ring 2' is a creepy, worthy follow up to the first film. But Nakata and co. might like to try a little harder if they decide to make a third (or fourth?) instalment.
~ 8/10 ~
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