Horror
Ring 2 (Ringu 2)
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Dir: Hideo Nakada
Star: Nanako Matsushima, Kyko Fukada, Kenjiro Ishimaru, Daisuke Ban, Miki Nakatani
Cert / Year: 15 - R / 1998
Format: DVD R0
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Set 7 days after the end of Ring the film picks up where the other left off. The police have now completed an autopsy on the remains of Sadako found at the bottom of the well at Izu in the first film and have made the terrifying discovery that despite being sealed in a well for thirty years she only actually died about a year or two before she was discovered. The police open an investigation and are looking for missing reporter Reiko (Nanako Matsushima) after the discovery of her father's grotesquely contorted and lifeless body. Reiko's partner at the television station Okazaki (Masahiko Ono) is still investigating the "video curse" and manages to find someone to get him a copy of the tape. Okazaki joins forces with Ryuji's "assistant" from the first film Mai Takano (Miki Nakatani) as she is determined to discover the truth behind the death of her beloved professor. Along the way they discover Tomoko's best friend Masami who apparently witnessed her terrifying death and can no longer go near a television set in addition to a couple of other freak talents. Plus they find Kanae Sawaguchi (Kyko Fukada) a girl who after being interviewed agrees to provide them with a copy of the tape. Unforseen forces now insidiously guide the fickle finger of fate toward Mai and Okazaki as they did to Reiko previously. Mai manages to find Reiko who has been living on the run and they team up to help the now mute Yoichi and try to stop him from suffering the same fate as his father. After a series of strange "incidents" it becomes apparent that Reiko's sacrifice of her father may not have been enough to save Yoichi and end the terrible cycle of the video. The awful and horrendous power of Sadako seems to be reaching it's icy tendrils towards Yoichi once more, and if that wasn't bad enough a reckless doctor is now experimenting with Masami and a video camera!!!

As Ring 2 was shot back to back with Ring it manages to maintain the standard set by it's predecessor and avoid the typical downfalls which usually afflict sequels. Seldom does a sequel manage to remain as intensly disturbing as the original whilst also bringing something a little extra to the story. The film is more of an addition to the original story by Kji Suzuki in his hugely popular novels, and it shows to be honest that he didn't write this film. His characters are there and the story is there, but now they have all been embellished to offer a better sequel than the previous offering of Rasen. On the plus side, director Hideo Nakada is still at the helm and also co-wrote the script. Compared to the first film which was more of a suspenseful horror Ring 2 has endeavoured to bring a little more to the story, thankfully without trying to rework or re-tell it. In some respects Ring 2 may "work" better for some viewers as it slowly dissects some of the story laid out in the original and develops some of the lesser characters from Ring.

Much of the horror derived from Ring and Ring 2 is attributable to the viewers own perception. Physical, psychological and moral nightmares are an integral part of the success of the films. The greatest shudder you get may not be whilst you watch the film, but rather later possibly when you least expect it. Like it or not you just can't help thinking about the film and here is the key to the success, as the particuarly unhappy story offers nothing but hurtful choices and moral dilemas and the more that you think about it......the worse it gets. The film has a few very chilling and unnerving scenes and like the original Ring movie, the superb direction of Nakada is reassuringly uncomplicated but nicely shot and lit. As with the original movie, Nakada steers clear of excessive special effects and tasteless gore focussing instead upon some stylish photography and impressive direction to build the tension as he slowly unravels the story.

As with Ring, the atmosphere remains ever oppressive and is still decidedly sinister as the simple long haired and slightly stooped form of Sadako is still terrorizing our television sets. As if Sadako's evil presence wasn't enough to scare you witless she uses some of her victims to try and stop Reiko from putting an end to her urban legend of the dreaded video tape. Much of the film will most likely be spent with the small hairs on the back of your neck bolt upright and many involuntary shudders. There are a couple of loose bowel inducing scenes (clean under garments required....again), perhaps not quite as intense as Sadako crawling out of the television set in Ring. An odd scene here or there is similar to Poltergeist in terms of general style of the television posession thing. The primary characters of both films are of course ESPers or psychic "sensitives" so unless you realise this, some of the story may not translate quite as well as it should. ESP is an integral factor to the story of these films. It was the abilities of Shizuko which brought her notoriety in Japan, which led to the ill fated experiment which caused Sadako to unleash her terrifying will, which in turn later led to Shizuko committing suicide and ultimately Sadako's deep six experience culminating in the video curse. To cut through the barest bones of the story would be to state that it takes a psychic to understand the horrific purpose of Sadako's video and to understand what her and her mother went through. "Regular" victims would have no clue as to the reasons of their untimely and unnatural demise. This small family of psychics discover the history behind the video, Shizuko and Sadako and they also find the means to end the terrifying cycle.

Most of the original cast are reunited to pick up the story again and Rikiya Otaka is still quite impressive as Yoichi and this time around he is afforded a slightly wider spectrum giving him the oppurtunity to be really creepy. Nanako Matsushima thankfully returns as Reiko for another tortured performance. The impressive Miki Nakatani holds the female lead this time as she returns as Ryuji's "assistant" Mai Takano from Ring. She has a strange quality to her performance which assumes a distinctly compelling nature. Speaking of strange performances, hats off to Kyko Fukada for providing a sublimely trippy and unnerving sequence that I for one will not be forgetting in a hurry. Unfortunately Masahiko Ono is not as sparkling a performer as his co-stars and at times lets down a good cast

Even as a sequel this is a genuinely scary and very creepy and occasionally freaky film. For the best effect it should obviously be viewed after Ring, as it will make more sense of the story (if you didn't "get it" first time round) ostensibly it kind of dumbs down the previously intelligent story. Not that it makes the film less imposing or oppressive but it does lack some of the raw power of the original. It is an outstanding sequel and another film that grabs your attention with such a ferocity that you have little oppurtunity to avert your eyes. Considering the excellent build up and stunning standard of craftsmanship I found the ending a little dissappointing. Even so, this is still an unforgettable and scary film that you do not want to watch alone!.

Rating: 5 out of 5

DVD
Picture 1.85:1 Anamorphic Occasionally grainy image
Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 Generally good quality soundtrack
Features Star & Director filmographies
Cool semi-animated menus
3 original Japanese trailers for; "Ring", "Ring 2" and "Ring 0" in addition to 2 UK trailers for "Ring" and "Ring 2"
Picture gallery of some of the wide ranging Japanese merchandise for the movies
Movie notes by Tony Rayns
4 Eastern Cinema trailers
Verdict Nothing particuarly "special" on this disc, but it is adequate for an important Japanese movie like this. I should warn you that there is a shrewdly hidden "Easter Egg" on the disc.......but it is just another oppurtunity to test your resolve and watch Sadako's video. The film also has the dreaded burned on subtitles!.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Reviewed by Logan Link Back Top Home