The Ring Two (2005)

I’m Not Your Fucking Mommy

“Alright people, we have a good concept and a good idea, let’s throw lots of money at it.”  “But what about the story?”  “WHO CARES?!  You’re fired!”  The next movie in my October Horror-thon started like this.  Well that’s probably not true, but it’s what I imagine.  This movie is the sequel to the Ring, called cleverly the Ring Two, starring Naomi Watts, David Dorfman, Daveigh Chase, and Simon Baker, with small appearances by Gary Cole, Sissy Spacek, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead.  Let’s dive into this well!

Right here I spoil the end of The Ring.  At the end of that, we find that Samara’s (Daveigh Chase’s) adopted mother suffocated her and pushed her into a well where she stayed for 7 days before dying and becoming an evil, hateful spirit.  And a VHS tape.  To try to save the life of her and her son, Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) opens the well to free Samara, only to have her son Aidan (David Dorfman) tell her that doing so freed her of her prison and she was now able to kill more freely.  Rachel figures out that she lived because she made a copy of the tape and showed it to someone else, so they do that with reckless disregard for the poor fuck they show their tape to.  6 months after the first movie, a very special episode of Dawson’s Creek starts in Seattle and we spend about 10 minutes watching 2 teens flirt.  But, with an ulterior motive beyond getting some vagina.  This boy is trying to save his life and talk a girl into watching a tape, even though she seems ready to go (if you know what I’m saying).  Turns out he’s watched the cursed tape and needs to show it to someone else to save his life.  Unfortunately, the girl doesn’t watch and he gets killed.  Coincidentally, Rachel and Aidan have moved to Seattle and Rachel is now working for Max Rourke (Simon Baker) at a local newspaper.  She hears about this death and investigates, catching a vision of Samara saying “I found you.”  So now Rachel must REinvestigate Samara to find out how to stop her from taking over the body of her son.  To do so, she finds Samara’s birth mother, Evelyn (Mary Elizabeth Winstead when in flashback, Sissy Spacek now).  Evelyn tells Rachel that the only way to stop Samara is to kill Aidan, which I’m cool with ’cause that boy is creepy.

Oh how the mighty have fallen.  The Ring Two takes all the suspense and creepiness out of the original and turns it into a very typical ghost movie, complete with possessions, poltergeist activity, and full body apparitions.  They completely forget about the tape that made the movie famous in the first 20 minutes of the movie, and then they jump back into a rehashed treasure finding movie and bad ghost movie.  The first movie seemed as if it went to good writing and suspense because they had a low budget, but when it made bank, they threw a lot of money at the sequel and boosted the special effects at the expense of the suspense.  They lost the blue tint to the first movie and replaced it with water raising out of a bathtub and turning into Samara.  Instead of Gore Verbinski, they went with a fan service by attaching director of Ring (the Japanese basis for The Ring), Hideo Nakata.  But the movie loses a quality of visuals that is either because of him or the director of photography.  The movie looks grainy in parts like an early episode of Scrubs, and others just have odd camera angles.  This could also just be a bad DVD transfer, I suppose, but I like blaming people.  And the ending, where Rachel ties up the problem in a nice little bow by closing the top of the well, they actually have the nerve to give her a classic action/slasher line to yell at the monster.  Samara had been inhabiting Aidan and calling Rachel mommy (even though Aidan calls her Rachel) and Samara was climbing up the side of the well to stop Rachel from closing it and she called out to Rachel with “Mommy!”  And Rachel comes back with “I’m not your fucking mommy!”  Fer reals?  That’s just the nail in the coffin for me.  I liken that line to lines like “Smile you son of a bitch” from Jaws or “Get the Hell off my plane” from Air Force One.  They work in those movies, and would work in a typical cliche ghost movie, but we go in there expecting suspense like the first and get this.

Not all is bad here.  Naomi Watts still turns on the acting.  I have a lot of respect for her as an actress, but it’s nice to see that she tries hard at every roll and not just the good ones.  One of the big performance problems of this movie was that Aidan got a lot more screen time in this one and didn’t really seem up to the task.  He was still creepy for most of it, but it was just overexposure.  And when Samara took over, he got REALLY creepy, no longer the morose kid that sees things but now a creepy, overly loving kid that smiles all the time.  You ain’t cute, you’re creepy.  Stick with what works for you.  The creepy, corpse walking thing that Samara does in this one is pretty damn creepy though, so kudos to that person.  I also felt myself wishing that Sissy Spacek had been the adopted mother and got to be in the good Ring movie, and then you could put the person I’ve never seen in a movie again in the crappy one.

So that’s that.  They ruined a good horror movie by taking all the art and suspense out of it.  Hopefully they won’t do it again.  I give this movie a “Cy…onara!” out of “I’ll be back!”  …No seriously, they are actually bringing it back.  And it’s gonna be The Ring 3D.  I hate it already.

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others.  It may help me get better.

The Ring (2002)

Before You Die, You See The Ring

OCTOBER HORROR-THON CONTINUES!  I thought this would be more annoying to watch only horror movies for the end of October, but there’s so many different types and different qualities of horror movie that I haven’t yet gotten bored of it.  The movie I’m reviewing today is one of my favorite horror movies.  It’s an American remake of a Japanese horror movie, and even better, it’s a movie that doesn’t use tons of gore to scare it’s audience.  This movie is The Ring, starring Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, David Dorfman, Daveigh Chase, Brian Cox, and Shannon Cochran, and it’s directed by Gore Verbinski.

Katie (Amber Tamblyn) and Becca (Rachael Bella) are talking over a sleepover about a myth of a videotape that is supposedly cursed in a way that will kill the person who watches it 7 days after viewing.  Katie reveals that her and her boyfriend watched the tape a week prior.  Downstairs by herself, Katie starts seeing things moving around, the TV turns itself on when it’s unplugged, and she sees water dripping out of TVs.  Katie mysteriously and horrifically dies while Becca watches.  Shortly thereafter, Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) goes to the funeral of her neice, Katie, bringing along her son Aidan (David Dorfman).  Katie’s mother asks Rachel to use her abilities and contacts as a reporter to investigate the mysterious death.  One of her first stops on her investigation is the cabin where Katie and her boyfriend watched the tape, and it is here where the tape remains.  Rachel watches the tape and immediately receives a call telling her she will die in 7 days.  So the first thing she does is show the same tape to her ex-boyfriend and Aidan’s father, Noah (Martin Henderson).  Awful messed up way to get back at an ex-boyfriend, isn’t it?  Later, mother of the year Rachel leaves the killer tape out and Aidan watches it too.  So that family’s fucked.  But the rest of the movie is Rachel unraveling the twisted tale of the tape in order to save her family.  Or at least her and her son.  Fuck that guy, am I right, ladies?

I already mentioned that I liked this movie.  I remember being pretty freaked out the first time I saw it.  I can’t remember if it was this movie or the Grudge, but I went out with my friends afterwards and got really suspicious of a dark hallway.  But the biggest thing that freaked me out about this movie was what happened afterwards.  The next day, I got a call from an unknown number and there was no one on the line.  And a little while after that, I got a bloody nose.  And, of course, 7 days later I died.  Okay, 2/3 of that story was true.  I didn’t really get a bloody nose.  I started my period and just counted that.  Okay, okay.  I didn’t die, but I did get a call and a bloody nose.  And right after seeing this movie, my brain, desiring such a cool event, decided I got the curse of the Ring.  I wouldn’t say I was actually scared that I was going to die, but it was gnawing at me from the back of my mind.

I’m not trying to say that this is the only reason this movie was scary, it actually did horror movies right.  I’ve mentioned before that slasher movies and movies where things pop out and surprise you but call it a scary annoy me.  This movie is the blessed third part of that trilogy: the movie that scares you with suspense.  That’s why I liked this movie.  Plus, it was the first of the Japanese horror remakes, and I’ve liked most of them.  And that’s not to say that this movie doesn’t have any kind of gore to it.  The grotesquely mangled faces of Samara’s victims is pretty horrifying, even in the brief couple seconds you see them in, and the tape itself has some brief ickiness to it, but it’s hardly gore.  What the tape does have a lot of is bizarreness and creepiness.  I did find that this movie didn’t really hold up in scares department.  I assume that suspenseful movies only get one or two shots at being scary and I’ve just seen this movie too many times.  But, if you haven’t seen it yet (and also haven’t seen the countless parodies from Scary Movie or others), then you’ll probably still be able to get a good couple scares out of it.

The acting is very solid in this movie, though most of the cast seems pretty heavily sedated at times.  Naomi Watts really does a good job here.  She gets pretty frantic and emotional as the movie goes along, not only believing that she’s going to die, but her son.  Plus, she walks around in her underwears, and I’m always fond of that.  David Dorfman plays a creepy boy pretty well.  Brian Cox has a pretty conflicted performance that winds up in his suicide by bathtub.  The thing that bothered me about that was that his electrical equipment was way more than we’ve been made to believe is necessary.  He has almost every electrical appliance in his house brought into that bathroom and flicks the switch on his surge protector to fry himself.  What ever happened to the toaster?  Isn’t that supposed to be good enough?

The Ring is a good place to look for some quality scares, if only for the first couple viewings.  I’m already started on the sequel, and already kind of regretting it.  But this isn’t about the money grubbing sequel, so I give the Ring a “You’re gonna die” out of “Seven days”.

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others.  It may help me get better.