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22 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Above average, but must be viewed as part of the Ringu series

Author: Brandt Sponseller from New York City
19 March 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Taking place immediately after the events of Ringu (1998), Ringu 2 features Mai Takano (Miki Nakatani) continuing the investigation into the events of Ringu. At the beginning of the film, Reiko (Nanako Matsushima) and Yoichi Asakawa (Katsumi Muramatsu) are still in "hiding"/"on the run" after their ordeals in Ringu. Both the police and Mai are hoping to find them. Meanwhile, Masami Kurahashi (Hitomi Sato), one of the two girls from the beginning of Ringu, is now in a mental hospital, the police have the remains of Sadako Yamamura's (Rie Inou) body, they're trying to recreate her living appearance through forensic modeling, and they've located a man who is supposedly Sadako's father, Takashi (Yoichi Numata).

Series note: As should be apparent from the above description, it's imperative that you watch Ringu before seeing Ringu 2. You may also wish to watch Ringu 0: Basudei (2000) before Ringu, and for fun, the original "Ring 2", Rasen/Spiral (1998) before or after this "replacement sequel" (this one was produced when audiences were dissatisfied with the very differently toned Rasen/Spiral).

Unlike Rasen/Spiral, Ringu 2 is so close in tone to Ringu that it seems more like a "second half" than a sequel. Also unlike Rasen/Spiral, I think that Ringu 2 is much more uneven. There are long swaths where the film is extremely bland. But there are also moments of brilliance, plus there is added value from the momentum of Ringu. They all average out in the end so that Ringu 2 earns an 8, or a "B", just as Rasen/Spiral did.

Many fans were dissatisfied with Rasen/Spiral heading off into sci-fi territory, on the way providing something of a scientific explanation for what turned out to be a "Ring virus". They thought it ruined some of the mystery from the first film. It's curious in that light that many of those same fans like Ringu 2 much better. There is also an attempt here at explaining the curse, and it also ends up in sci-fi land. There's even a seen that amusingly resembles sci-fi elements from John Boorman's underrated Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977). For much of the film, the Ring curse is more or less abandoned while the focus becomes Yoichi as a surrogate villain, perhaps as "possessed" as Regan was, just by a slightly different force.

Admittedly, though, the explanation for the curse in Ringu 2 is much different than it was in Rasen/Spiral, and despite the sci-fi, the strong mystery genre "investigation" elements that many loved so much in Ringu are woven throughout the plot. The sci-fi here is more psychological than Rasen/Spiral's medical sci-fi. There is a lot of talk of intentionality and theories of intentionality being physically manifested. The film's ontology has it so that "mental energy", emotions and thoughts can be suppressed and subsequently "concentrated" to such an extent that when released externally, they can be dangerous to others. Sadako, the chairperson of the Ringu villains, is the principal, most focused example of this, primarily because she's had 30 years in a veritable isolation chamber to effectively bury her thoughts. Is this an attempt to provide a subtext about the suppression of one's "real feelings and desires" in Japanese society? Maybe, but it doesn't work very well as such because the points are so shakily, ambiguously and infrequently realized in the film.

So we have to evaluate Ringu 2 more on its surface level. A lot of the film is a fairly pedestrian drama. Early ostensibly horrific events--such as the perusal of Reiko's apartment, deaths of supporting characters, possible "ghost" appearances, and the supernatural events surrounding Masami in the mental hospital--too often come across as a bit flat, almost banal. Ringu 2 is nothing if not a slow cooker. It improves, but very gradually.

By the time we get to one particular, very significant death, the film is cooking with full gas, but that's nearly an hour into a 90-minute film. Before that point, Ringu 2 is much closer to a 7, or a "C", if not slightly lower. I won't mention who dies in this pivotal scene, but it is beautifully realized. We never really see the body, but instead Nakata shows us bright red blood slowing flowing across pavement, trickling down cracks, filling up depressions.

From here to the end, Ringu 2 is much more even, often a 9 or above. The bulk of the "atmospheric" or "creepy" material arrives in this last half hour to forty minutes, such as the videotape of another young girl suddenly changing, her head bizarrely, violently shaking similarly to an effect first made popular in Jacob's Ladder (1990). Another standout moment is at the Yamamura family "hotel", when both Sadako and her mother eerily appear.

By the time the climax rolls around, the film is quite exciting, and Nakata forgoes dramatic sci-fi for more focused, horrific surrealism. Like Ringu, there is a climactic scene in a well, this one much more enigmatic, possibly meant to be a symbolic journey to the core of the pent-up emotions associated with Sadako (opposed to a more "journey to hell"-styled symbolism of Ringu), with the emergence from a light-filled "ring" representing the physical manifestation and release of the emotions through a person's eye (eyes are important ring-like metaphors/symbols throughout the film). In the finale, Nakata also more literally combines the ring symbolism with the series' ubiquitous water symbolism--water more than likely being used to represent a kind of unifying "spiritual" ("kamic" might be a better word) ether that permeates the world. Of course, he still leaves an opening for another sequel as well.

Unlike many films, Ringu 2 is impossible to evaluate "properly" in isolation. It must be contextualized with Ringu. It may be far from an excellent film on its own, but it's certainly above average when viewed in conjunction with the series.

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15 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Doesn't quite emulate `Ring's smartness but, as horror sequels go, stands strong

Author: Aidan McGuinness from Dublin, Ireland
30 June 2002

This movie takes place a week after the events of `Ring', making the first movie pretty which a pre-requisite for viewing (director Nakata fortunately doesn't feel the need to waste too much time on annoying exposition). We now look at those who were in contact with characters from the first movie and how they're getting on. This calls for the reprisal of most of the cast, including the lead Reiko. This time Reiko fears that her son, whom she saved in the previous flick, may be under the influence of the evil of Sadako. Guess what? She's out to stop her!

There's less tension evident in `Ring 2' than the previous, less a sense of worry and desperation. Part of this is due to the shifting of character's prominence. Another element is because this movie takes a somewhat more analytical approach to the events of the first – the police are involved, scientists are trying to understand the phenomena. While this makes sense from a realism angle, it does somewhat detract from the underlying menace of Sadoka.

Structurally the movie takes the same idea as the previous – a slow build up to a climatic event, interspersed with some moments of terror. Some of this terror now comes from a child – playing on innocence – and the child in question, Yoichi, is quite capable of being frightening in a blank-faced way. However he's just not as capable as having the greater, unknown, terror the previous movie produced – like any sequel in the genre there's the feeling of the killer slashing their way through each flick.

Nakata is fairly competent with what he has. The lighting is often muted, the camera work focused (without being intense), his actors giving grand performances… but somehow the second time it doesn't work out quite as well. This, coupled with a disappointing ending, left me somewhat disappointed. There's some good moments in it – particularly with the television images – but overall it fails to quite grab you. Still a far more intelligent fare than the gore-drenched horror that most adhere to in this genre, and you could do a lot lot worse. 6/10.

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14 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

More plot, more scares, more idiocy

Author: Jerry-93 from Milwaukee, WI
22 October 2002

Even though Sadako had been around for a long time (there were Suzuki Koji's source books and two previous TV movies), it was the theatrical version of Ring that made her huge. So, of course, there has to be a sequel (which, oddly enough, wasn't based on the next book in Koji's series; different filmmakers had already adapted that as Spiral). It's a daunting task to make an effective sequel to one of the all-time creepiest movies, but the filmmakers pull it off. Unfortunately, a lot of stupidity gets in the way of the scares.

A lot of plot in this one. The movie opens a week after the first one ends. Reiko's dad has just died, and she and her son have gone into hiding. Mai, who found Ryuji's body at the end of Ring, is investigating her boss'/boyfriend's death. She thinks Reiko and her son hold the key to this mystery. So she teams with one of Reiko's co-workers (who's still working on the story of the cursed videotape) to try and track Reiko down. At this point, there's already enough plot for a movie, and I haven't even mentioned the return trip to Sadako's old home, the doctor who thinks he can get rid of Sadako, the burial of Sadako's physical body, the girl the co-worker betrays (and literally comes back to haunt him), and the weird, scary "exorcism of Sadako" finale. Plot, plot, plot.

Before I tear this movie a new one, let me say one thing: minute for minute, this one has more scares than the first one. In fact, the filmmakers have realized that Sadako has become so commonplace (a Sadako doppleganger appears in almost every Japanese horror movie made after the first Ring) that they need only show her trademark hair to invoke fear. And it works. But the massive, ridiculous plot nearly kills this movie. While it tries to explain the occurances of the first movie, it raises more questions than it answers (why does everyone suddenly have psychic ability?; why are people who haven't even seen the tape haunted by Sadako?; how does that girl see the tape if all the copies have been destroyed?) Still, with all of these potholes, the movie still works. It's also nice to see almost the entire cast of the first film reprise their roles (even the dead ones). An effective thriller, even though it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Fans of the first one won't be disappointed.

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Not bad...

Author: Gafke from United States
13 August 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This sequel picks up right where Ringu left off. Mai Takano, the pretty young woman who found Ryuji dead in the first film, is the star of this one as she searches for the missing Reiko and Yoichi. Young Yoichi is in danger and is kept in hiding by his frightened mother as he begins to exhibit the same deadly powers that Sadako possessed. The same is also true of a teenage girl who was present at the death of Reiko's niece, Tomoko. Doctors attempt to find a way to diffuse the terrible energy which infects the survivors of Sadako's wrath. But Sadako herself is not done wreaking her vengeance yet. More terrible truths emerge about Sadako's unholy conception and her demonic capabilities, and both Mai and Yoichi are in terrible danger. However, Sadako's repentant grandfather and the ghost of the powerfully psychic Ryuji stand between Sadako and her goal - to possess Yoichi and begin the cycle all over again.

There are some great moments present here in Ringu 2, but sadly, nothing comes close to the shock of Sadako's emergence from a television in the first film. All of the original characters are back, as well as a few new ones. Great moments include a scene with the freaky ghost of Shizuko - Sadako's mother, a roomful of people reacting with insane horror to the brief presence of Sadako on a TV screen, and another claustrophobic ending in a dark, creepy well. This isn't quite the spooky good ghost story that the original was, but it's not bad, all things considered. I've seen worse sequels.

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13 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Why can't all horror sequels be this good?

Author: HarryWarden from United States
29 June 2003

'Ring 2' is not only much deeper than it's predecessor, it's also a scarier and ultimately better film.

Rather than trying to emulate the original, Nakata & Co. opted to expand on the mythos and take it into new directions. It brilliantly explores left-over story arcs, turns previous ideas on their head and maintains ambiguity in all the right places. Naturally, this didn't sit well with many viewers...but if you keep an open mind and pay attention to detail, you'll see that everything brilliantly falls into place.

See this (along with 'Ring 0') for the very best horror has to offer.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Okay sequel but it could have been much better

Author: atinder from United Kingdom
9 February 2010

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 Ringu was the first horror movie I brought on video, when I was fifteen, I sat really close to TV and Ringu the scared the hell out me so bad then i had to look for sequel.

It was not that good as Ringu at all, it didn't have the same feel to this movie at all, the were some good creepy moment in this movie but that is about it and those scenes were not scary, this movie did have some really dull moment which did bored me.

The acting was not great but still good from most of the cast.

Okay sequel but could of been much better., i going this movie a 5 out of 10

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

'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...

Author: Eddy Durnan
4 May 2005

Ring 2

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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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

I perfect sequel to the original blow away movie

Author: Mark Malekpour from Durham, England
24 July 2003

Ringu 2 for me has to be one of the best sequels made. It has all the feel of Ring and also refers to back to the original movie. The scene at the hospital with the kid from the original who is too frightened to see a TV was a brilliant piece of look back setting.

It is definately a movie that makes one think that Ringu & Ringu 2 were one whole movie split into two separate ones. There is no indication of a budget increase, or special effects to impress existing fans, and definately holds the Ringu style strong.

With clever use of the original cast and elimination of them when needed and the introduction of newer characters makes this film seem as though you have already seen it but are reminded, that you have not.

Yes it is scary, yes it delves more into the mind of Sadako and Yoichi in brilliant technique and yes it will continue your nightmares. I think that something very clever has gone on with the directors in how they want to leave the audience thinking. The original movie left the audience thinking about something coming out of their TV. Then, in the second, tries to create a fear of TV all together and combined with what we see in the original and now in the sequel, does a bloody good job.

I am personally fearful of an "off" TV in a dark room alone. I know nothing is gonna happen, or that Sadako is not real. However, because of the shear impact that this movie has had on me my imagination can create a fear so bad that I must sleep with the TV on.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Pretty disappointing

Author: Aizyk from Big D
25 June 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***


I watched Ring and Ring 2 back to back as a double feature, and instead of commenting on them separately I thought I'd just comment on them both at the same time. I thought Ring was good. Not great. I watched Audition (another Japanese horror film) in the theater just a couple days before and knew several of the details and therefore what to expect. Even so, that film was quite shocking and there were a couple moments that made me jump and even more that made me cringe. It also had a few moments of (somewhat twisted, off-the-wall) humor to it, which this film didn't. Going in to watch Ring 1 & 2, I knew the storyline but not as many of the details, and I was anticipating a good scare. Yet despite knowing fewer details about this film than about Audition, which scared me, this film did not. I found it intriguing but felt very little tension. The first sign that I was in for a letdown was in the beginning scenes when the two girls are home alone and one goes to use the bathroom. Meanwhile, the other who is cleaning up in the kitchen turns around and sees... something--the ghost of Sadako apparently. But all that happens is that the screen freezes on her suddenly terrified expression. I was expecting the buildup to explode in horror like the somewhat similar but much more terrifying scene with Drew Barrymore that began Scream. The buildup--the phone suddenly ringing while they're discussing the legend, then the TV coming on by itself, etc, created expectations that only resulted in disappointment, in my opinion.

Before I watched these two films, I thought, and still think, that the film's concept had great potential for being really scary. I think perhaps one major factor which detracted from this potential was that the cause of the deaths was somewhat humanized. The deaths were caused by an angry ghost. Her name was Sadako. She had a psychic mother, was murdered by her father, and dumped in a well. She kills people (apparently by simply scaring them to death) in vengeance. etc. Several people here have compared this film to Blair Witch. I found Blair Witch to be much more scary, and the reason why is because the Blair "Witch" never had an actual name, family, personal history, etc. It made the menace of that film much more unknown, un-/less human, more visceral. The Blair Witch itself was never seen, only described.

Despite my disappointment at not being thrilled, after awhile I began to appreciate this Ring in a way similar to The Sixth Sense. That is to say, in a more thoughtful and less slasher-esque way. The film climaxes in a revelation, not terror. And it had a look that created a mood. Ring 2 has the same look. However, the goings on in it seemed to me to break down into incoherence, contrived situations, and affectation. And one thing in particular that really started to bore and annoy me was that the female lead in Ring 2 was continuously playing the "panicked woman in peril", always reacting to situations as though they were vastly more terrifying than they were. It was as if she was dictating through her reactions of terror the terror that the audience was supposed to be feeling in those moments, i.e. "Look! I'm scared! That means you're supposed to be scared too! Be scared!" I got so tired of the second film that I considered leaving early. But I stuck it out because I was curious to see how it ended. Sadako crawling out of the TV screen was interesting, as was her moment in the well--which was actually a swimming pool? I'm not sure, come to think of it. I eventually began to zone out. I was surprised by the discrepancy of how much less I enjoyed part 2, since they're supposed to be two parts of the same novel, and they were directed by the same person the same year. I'd give part 1 a 6, and part 2 a 3, out of 10.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Spooky Stuff

Author: desol-2 from London, England
27 November 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Spoilers Ring 2 is a very, very good film that I gave 8/10 I would have given it a 9 but didn't because it gets a bit to overly supernatural. And because of this as a whole it loses some of that great spooky atmosphere that made the first film so magnificent. But having said that it does contain some of the best moments of both films. - The reporter who said he would then never watched the tape being freaked out when trying to erase the tape of the now dead girl. - When they see Sadako's mother combing her hair in the mirror (what you see in the tape) the way she glides out of sight behind a wall then peers round. It's hard to explain what I mean but if you've already seen the film you'll know what I mean. - The climax in the well. - And the ending with the dead girl sitting behind the reporter in his room in mental ward.

Also I wouldn't really call Ring 2 a sequel it start from where the first finished, if you play them back to back, there like one big 3 hour spooky movie. If you've never seen Ring 1 and 2 then you should go and see them straight away they are the best Horror films of the 90's (well Ring 1 is, and 2 is not far behind).

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