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Ring 2
Year: 1998
images from Ring 2
Director: Hideo Nakata
Producer: Taka Ichise
Cast: Orie Izuno, Daisuke Ban, Kyôko Fukada, Kenjiro Ishimaru, Nanako Matsushima, Katsumi Muramatsu, Miki Nakatani, Shirô Namiki, Yoichi Numata, Masahiko Ono, Rikiya Otaka, Hiroyuki Sanada, Hitomi Sato
The Skinny: Inferior sequel to the original hit Ring.
     Ring 2 picks up where the first film left off. We are introduced to a new character named Takano Mai (Miki Nakatani), a psychic who is investigating the cursed videotape which kills people seven days after viewing it. Mai is particularly curious about the involvement of her recently deceased boyfriend, Professor Ryuji Takayama (Hiroyuki Sanada). The leads are few as Ryuji's ex-wife Reiko and their son Yoichi have disappeared after escaping the effects of the tape. The only person left who knows anything about the original events is a teenage girl named Masami Kurahashi (Hitomi Sato), who now resides in a mental hospital and hasn't spoken since she saw the death of her friend at the hands of the angry spirit Sadako.
     When Takano pays Kurahashi a visit, she witnesses a strange occurrence. Images from the legendary videotape appear on a television when Kurahashi enters the room. The girl is examined by Dr. OKawajiri, who offers the explanation of a kind of energy transference between Sadako and Kurahashi. The theory is proven correct when Takano finally locates Reiko and learns that young Yoichi is suffering from the same affliction as Sadako, and is also exhibiting similar telepathic abilities. They must now find a way to expel the negative energy of the vengeful Sadako and break the curse.
     While all this is happening, there are two other subplots unfolding. The first involves Dr. Heihachiro Ikuma (Ban Daisuke), the man responsible for Sadako's death at the well years earlier. Ikuma must now make good by destroying Sadako's remains, which were discovered by Reiko at the end of the first film. The second subplot involves a television reporter named Okazaki who joins up with Takano to help solve the mystery of the video. He eventually receives a copy from a girl named Kannae (played by singer Kyoko Fukada) who begs him to watch it before her week is up.
     All of this may sound interesting, but it plays out like a confusing albeit interesting mess. The rules established in the first Ring involving Sadako and the videotape are mutated and never fully explained. We are given lots of possibilities but no solid conclusions as to how Sadako exactly works. It's clear that her influence is no longer confined to the videotape, but exactly just how she transfers her energy to people without using the tape is left a mystery. Sometimes it's the tape that kills just like in the first film. Sometimes people don't die, but go crazy because there is a little bit of Sadako left inside their psyche. How it got there in the first place is one of the may questions in Ring 2 which are asked and never answered. We are given further insight into Sadako's suffering but it still isn't enough. Ultimately, even Sadako doesn't understand why she can't be freed from the curse.
     Logistics aside, the film successfully manages to recreate the creepy atmosphere of its predecessor, though it lacks the overall tension and effective climax. It's sort of like a Rubik's Cube. You think you're close to figuring it out and then one little piece of the puzzle reveals itself as out of place and screws everything up. At this point you can either walk away from the puzzle or become obsessed with figuring it out. Judging from the number of web sites dedicated to the Ring series it seems that a lot of people took the latter road. It's a credit to the manipulative genius of the filmmakers. Ring 2 is frustratingly ambiguous, but still engaging enough that you'll probably want to spend your hard earned cash on the third installment of the series. The curse continues… (Magicvoice 2002)
Availability: DVD (United Kingdom)
Region 0 PAL
Tartan Video
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Japanese Language Track
Removable English Subtitles
images courtesy of Copyright ©2002-2017 Ross Chen