Naomi Watts returns as Rachel Keller, a reporter from Seattle who had experienced some frightening supernatural events, which endangered her son Aidan, played by David Dorfman, in the first installment of this U.S. supernatural thriller film series, The Ring.
Six months later, Rachel and Aidan now live in Astoria, Oregon as the plot reveals previous dangers that begin to shift while new ones come to the surface.
The plot follows the template of the previous installment by offering “just when you think it’s over” surprises and other familiar elements. This plot puts even more obstacles between Rachel and Aidan as they discover more about the mysterious girl Somora.
Simon Baker (TV’s The Guardian) plays Rachel’s co-worker Max while Sissy Spacek also stars as Evelyn. Spacek has only one scene, but it’s incredibly pivotal to the plot. Her disturbing warnings and prophetic rants like “you let the dead get in” provide more scares than her mannerisms and appearance.
Rachel tasks more risks as she investigates some mysteriously similar occurrences in the town and tries to protect Aidan. Fate and luck have more prominence than strategy and tact in this installment.
Future revelations that don’t make sense at first, tighten the plot further – a product of great screenwriting and taking the time to flesh out concepts and ideas from the original Japanese films and books.
Director Hideo Nakata (Ringu, Ringu 2) demonstrates solid technical proficiency including a great transition to a well and a slow tracking shot of Max on the phone.
The beginning scene does make more sense if you’ve seen The Ring…so does the top room of the barn, the mirror distortions, the lighthouse on Moesko Island, oh yeah, that fly and the burning tree…
New audiences still have a lot to discover, but this film was basically written for audiences who saw the first film and it may alienate people who didn’t.
Filmmakers could’ve included more flashbacks and other connective techniques to solve this issue. For example, at the end of The Ring, Aidan asks Rachel, “What about the person we show it to? What happens to them?” This scene could’ve been included at the beginning, at least in audio, to make a stronger bridge between the two films.
Filmmakers can be commended for not including unnecessary scenes like the closure of a young girl and the “previous viewer”. Still, the climax scene would’ve been interrupted by law enforcement in most circumstances.
This film has several intriguing elements, but seasoned veterans of the thriller genre may leave the theater wanting even more scares and a bigger payoff. Recommended with reservations (** out of four stars) and rated PG-13 for violence/terror, disturbing images, thematic elements and some language.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler