It was a stroke of genius to invite Hideo Nakata to direct the sequel to the remake. After all, he was responsible for Ring and Ring 2.

Although the producers are to be congratulated for this imaginative decision, what Nakata has done is recreate the style of Gore Verbinski's 2002 American version of his Japanese original. Ehren Kruger's script stretches as far as Samara's story can go and naturally repeats many of the shocks from the previous incarnation(s). What is missing is the subtlety of Dark Water, Nakata's most consistently frightening film, and a plot that feels fresh.

Two picks up where One ended. Noah is dead. The tape has not been destroyed. Rachel (Naomi Watts) takes her son Aidan (David Dorfman) and leaves Seattle, finding herself a job with a local newspaper in a small Californian town. In other words, she does a runner.

Samara is the girl in white who was thrown down a well and haunts the tape. Time and place are no barriers to her. She wants to live. She wants to live inside someone else. She wants to live inside someone else and have a real mummy.

When Rachel discovers that Aidan has been possessed, the only way she can save him is to find Samara's mother (Sissy Spacek). This takes longer than she anticipated, because Samara was adopted by the Morgans and confidentiality forbids details of birth parents being disclosed. As Rachel continues her search, Aidan almost dies of hypothermia, caused by his proximity to the spirit girl.

There was a mystery about Ring, leaving questions unanswered. Ever since, a succession of scriptwriters have attempted to fill the spaces in between and explain the images on the tape. The more you know, the less you fear.

Watts has to look disturbed, worried, scared, shocked, stressed and maternal. It's not as easy as it sounds. She manages to look sexy as well, which is not essential, although appreciated. By the end, what is most creditable is her commitment to the role. She is the same Rachel, who discovered Noah's body and did not fall apart. Her journalistic instincts don't feel faked, either. She's good with emotions, good at taking care of them and not handing them out like sweeties. Rachel is tough. She has to be. Watts is tough, too. It's a perfect match.

Dorfman is extraordinary. He's not like a boy; he's like a little man. This is the performance that lifts the film out of its skin. Aidan is scary, because he knows things that belong in the grave, and when Samara is with him, you have no idea what he will do.

Ultimately, Kruger cheats. Dorfman plays it straight and, no doubt, expects to die. Behind Aidan's eyes is not fear, but knowledge. He understands too much.

Kruger writes all wrongs, as script docs like to do. Nakata allows it, being in America. The mystery fades.

Reviewed on: 31 Mar 2005
Share this with others on...
The Ring Two packshot
The continuing story of the journalist and her son and the ghost in the video tape.
Amazon link

Read more The Ring Two reviews:

Josh Morrall *

Director: Hideo Nakata

Writer: Ehren Kruger

Starring: Naomi Watts, David Dorfman, Simon Baker, Elizabeth Perkins, Sissy Spacek, Gary Cole, Ryan Merriman, Emily Van Camp

Year: 2005

Runtime: 111 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


Search database:

If you like this, try:

Dark Water