Reviwed by Michelle Lee
Starring Miki Nakatani (Mai), Rikiya Otaka (Yoichi), Hitomi Sato (Masami), Masahiko Ono (Okazaki), Matsushima Nanako (Reiko), Hiroyuki Sanada (Ryuji Takayama)
Directed by Hideo Nakata
Having fallen prey to the possession of a region free DVD player, AND being the horror fiends that we are, Johnny and I are slowly becoming ragamuffin urchins in order to fund region 2,3,4, etc. DVD’s, but I digress…
Our next purchase after the player was a copy of Ring 2, the follow up to the Japanese smash hit (I’ve always wanted to actually use that term) Ring . With a return of all the right people including writer/director Nakata, this isn’t some derivative steaming ass pile that has little to no relation to its predecessor. With you can expect no trite reinvention of the original’s ideas and plot, and no new characters that just happen to become involved in the creeping-death-terror known as Sadako. Instead you get what you want: a well done extension of the characters and the horror introduced in Ring. Nakata has mastered a power very close to Sadako’s screaming terror, and he’s mainlining it into every person who sees this movie.
Ring 2 picks up about two weeks after the events in the original, and immediately gets back on track. Reiko and her son Yoichi have disappeared and Ryuji’s (Reiko’s late ex-husband) assistant Mai has taken a personal interest in his death and what caused it. She was unfortunate enough to have found his body and the residual effects of that discovery lead her down a path that reveals more than anyone could ever want to know about Sadako and her curse.
Joining Mai is Okazaki, a reporter and fellow co-worker of Reiko who’s taken over the story Reiko started about the mysterious videotape that kills. He’s skeptical about the reports of “death by video” and carries on interviewing teens in the know, more or less to just get the story finished it seems. Mai and he hook up to try and find Reiko and her son and do some investigating into Reiko’s doomed niece and her friend Masami, who now resides in a hospital where she has not spoken since her terrifying encounter with Sadako. She didn’t die because she hadn’t watched the video, but in many ways, she’s worse off being left alive.
Although little more than a vegetable most of the time, Masami plays a large part in uncovering more clues about Sadako. I have to admit, at times some of the methods used to unearth information about Sadako seemed a bit on the hokey side and more suited toward a genre like Sci-Fi, but it all comes together perfectly in the end, and you’ll STILL hate your TV afterwards.
Mai becomes increasingly more dedicated to uncovering the truth behind Sadako’s powers and finding a way to stop her, especially after finally finding Reiko and her son. The results as you’ve probably guessed, can be considered part of the “not good” category.
I honestly didn’t think it could be done, but Hideo Nakata has topped Ring. Style, tone, acting, direction, sound, score, the whole nine yards are just as well crafted, and if you think sequels don’t ever deliver on the scares the way numero uno films do, you’re wrong. Ring 2 is so much scarier.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “knowledge isn’t always a privilege” or something to that effect. Well, so has Hideo Nakata. What you know from Ring makes it that much more difficult to watch Ring 2, making this sequel that much more squirm inducing…the bastard (I love him!). He has created two unbelievable entries into the horror genre, and if you haven’t made an effort to get the Ring series (with the exception of Ring 0 which I hear is ass, but I’ll prolly get it anyway, and here comes tangent territory…) do so now, or I’ll make your TV do something bad to you!
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