I see wet people

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A HUGE fan of The Ring, this reviewer couldn’t wait for the sequel and disappointed I was not, however, neither was I particularly impressed. The Ring Two is a more than acceptable sequel, but, sadly, and quite obviously, not as fresh and frightening as the first.

Hideo Nakata, the director of the Japanese Ringu films is at the helm for the sequel to The Ring (directed by Gore Verbinski). As was the case when US movie studios tried to recreate the magic by hiring the director of Ju-On: The Grudge to helm the American remake, The Grudge, results are extremely mixed.

The Ring Two is a visually striking and often unsettling, creepy supernatural thriller. However, here are a few more adjectives to chew on which equally describe this “horror” – incomprehensible, convoluted and nonsensical.

Naomi Watts reprises her role of Rachel Keller, the reporter from the first film who uncovered the secret of the deadly videotape. In that movie, the premise was built around a haunted short film that killed you seven days after you’d watched it. The sequel opens six months on, after the vengeful, crazy and very, very eery Samara (Daviegh Chase) has been seemingly thwarted. Rachel has moved from the big city and is now working for a small town newspaper, where she hopes that she and her son, Aidan (David Dorfman) – who almost popped his clogs in the first film – can start a new life and put all the terror-on-tape behind them.

However, her hopes are sadly dashed when she hears tell of a local teenager found dead in front of his television – yes, you’ve guessed it – seven days after he watched a mysterious, unmarked videotape. As it transpires, another side of Samara (now played by Kelly Stables) wasn’t thwarted at all, and fear comes full circle: she has her deadly sights set on Aidan. Horror clichés (Japanese and American) ensue.

As is probably quite clear by now, The Ring Two is pretty much the same story as in the original movie, but I suspect that most audiences won’t mind at all, as long as they are treated to a few evil, jump out of your seat in desperate fear, scenes.

By that criterion, The Ring Two is a scary success. There’s a bath sequence that’s a special effects triumph, and watching Samara climb out of her well is as creepy as it was in the first. Throw in a reindeer attack for good measure and a couple of minor scare scenes and you have a film that should please most mainstream horror fans.

The acting is also rather good. Naomi Watts is highly talented and this film clearly demonstrates her talents as the female horror heroine. But the script and direction are ambivalent at best. Swapping the horses from the first movie for deer and unnecessarily rehashing several things from the first film (why would Rachel go back and visit people from Samara’s past again? And why does the crazy lady have a TV?) only add to the consternation.