(Hideo Nakata, Japan, 1999)
This inevitable (first) follow-up to monster Japanese hit Ringu deserves credit for avoiding the 'more is better' approach of most sequels. Unfortunately, even allowing for the cultural differences between most western and Japanese cinema styles, this ends up being too slight to be effective.
The father of Sadako (the creepy girl haunting video tapes and mirrors in the first film) is asked by police to identify her body, he does, learning that she lived for thirty years in a well. Miss Takano, an assistant of Professor Takayama, the teacher from Ringu, reluctantly takes up the investigation. Once again, curious school children are dying within a week of seeing the notorious video tape and the race in on to save more innocent lives and to try and put the curse of Sadako finally to rest. Except that the 'race' is conducted at a snail's pace.
From the shimmering dark water opening, Nakata cleverly leaves plenty of open silences and uses few ambient sounds, forcing the viewer to listen intently - perfectly setting you up for the sudden, loud audio scares. The slightly pallid art direction from the original is continued here, accompanied by an unusual sound design that adds much to the eerie atmosphere. Crucially however, female lead (Miki Nakatani) as Takano is too remote and unsympathetic. This is in contrast to the attractive couple from Ringu. Also unlike its predecessor, Ringu 2 seriously lacks narrative thrust, and the funereal pace winds up being more tediously challenging than tension-building. 5/10
Rob Dyer (April, 2005)
Ring 2, The
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