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The Ring Two

Re-Hashing the Corned Beef

Picture this:

Your buddy tells you a scary story -- a nice, long, frightening tale. You laugh, you cry, you love it. It's a great story, really scary. And then a year later because of excessive boozing or drug use or too many blows to the head your buddy forgets that he's told you that story and he tells it all over again, but a little differently. A little more confused, a little worse. You aren't pissed at him, because you enjoyed the story the first time you heard it and it's still pretty scary but, by the end, your buddy is fumbling around with the ending and you're like, "I've had it with this frigging story. Enough already."

That's basically the deal with The Ring Two. Horror movies (especially box office behemoths) almost instantly become lumbering franchises; such is the nature of the beast. A successful horror movie without a sequel is about as likely as a sober Saturday night at the University of Vermont: just ain't happening.

I won't spend much time on the plot of The Ring Two because it's obvious that the writers didn't either. After all, horror movies aren't really about plot. You don't go see a slasher flick to find out which post office the guy in the mask with the sharp knife worked at before he started killing busty co-eds.

That being said, The Ring Two begins about six months after the original one leaves off. I'm not even going to go into rehashing the first "Ring" because if you didn't see that one, you really have no business even reading this review. (Unfair? Maybe.) Rachel (Naomi Watts) and her freakish imp of a child Aidan (David Dorfman) have moved to a quiet burgh in Oregon where she's picked up a job at the local rag. Rachel thinks she's run far enough away that young swamp hag Samara will never hurt them again, but of course she is wrong. Somehow the tape has made its way down the coast to the small town.

Hold it, right there. Before I go on, I have to rant a little. If you and your son were nearly slaughtered by a crazy wet bitch from a video tape would you "escape" by moving 100 miles down the coast to a small, heavily wooded town? Personally, I'd go at least a couple hundred more miles. Like Hawai'i. Or, better yet, somewhere without electricity, like the Andes, so that I'd never be tempted to watch the damn video again. A video tape can practically somersault a hundred miles, especially with the promise of more killing winding through its magnetic reels. (Another aside: Do people even watch VHS tapes anymore? We are in America, right? Think digital, people.)

Okay, that felt good. Basically, the tape shows up and people start dying. Here's a bit of advice for all you guys out there: when a hot blonde chick asks you to help her out and there's scary shit going down, do not help her. Odds are the hot blonde stays in the picture and you take it on the chops. Simon Baker (Max Rourke), I'm looking at you.

Anyway, there's a handful of scary scenes, and there are definitely shocker moments and great effects. There's a fantastic scene involving steroid-fueled reindeer that will make you jump out of your seat. It isn't really explained but that's fine, it's still the best scene in the movie. And there are two quality cameos, one by Sissy Spacek, who plays Samara's crazy mom. She's perfectly angular and creepy but isn't in the movie very long. My personal favorite is the surprise visit by none other than Office Space's Bill Lumbergh (Gary Cole).

If you are dying to see more of The Ring, just go ahead and watch the original again or, better yet, watch Ringu or even Ringu 2. The director of these two Japanese horror flicks, Hideo Nakata, is listed as the director of The Ring Two, but the heavy hands of Dreamworks are definitely at work here, making this a distinctly American sequel: watered down and repetitive.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars