The Ring Two

By Mark Ramsey | 2005/03/20

I knew this movie was directed by a Japanese auteur the minute Naomi Watts made lunch for her son Aidan by flinging sliced shrimp into the air with her Ginsu and landing them in an artful circle on the Hibachi.

“The shrimp – they’re in the shape of A RING!” said little Aidan. And suddenly from out of the grill arose the ghost of Samara who grabbed a sampler platter of Hibachi Chicken and evaporated into the mist, snatching a handful of fried rice on her way.

“Taker!” yelled Naomi as the mist cleared.

The Ring Two returns us to a world where a VHS tape can scare us to death, and not just because dated technology makes us die laughing. No, indeed. There’s frightening stuff on this tape or at least frightening production value.

“It could be worse,” said Naomi’s new movie boyfriend as he watched the much-feared video, “that woman brushing her ring2_screenwriter.jpg

hair in the mirror could be Mary-Kate or Ashley Olsen.”

“Toshiro Mifune!” sneezed Naomi.

“Geshundeit” said Aidan.

After a stunningly weak and unworthy opening sequence, we’re treated to numerous even unworthier ones until the whole exercise had me wishing I could draw a ring around the franchise and plant a bulls-eye on it. And here I thought it took three Rings to make a circus.

There is nothing – and I mean nothing – scary in this movie. The only thing tingling my spine was the itch to get the Hell out. Mostly The Ring Two is a whole lotta boring punctuated by moments of maternal guilt. Hey, if screenwriter Ehren Kruger wants to work out his latchkey kid anxieties, let him do it on his own dime, not ours.

The Ring Two also stars Sissy Spacek as “actor who will now have a new agent.”

Sissy is the Coal Miner’s Lunatic Daughter and ghoulish Samara’s real mother. From the looks of her, bad grooming is hereditary.

Unhinged Sissy gives Naomi advice. Now I think it’s a bad idea to employ the mentally institutionalized as life coaches, and in this case any parent who can’t teach her ghoulish daughter to use a hair scrunchy can’t be relied on for maternal wisdom.

Naomi’s son Aidan has to be the most inner-directed child of all time. As he explained, “You’d be introverted too if your ring2_well.jpg

imaginary friends had imaginary friends.”

As they drive down a country road, Naomi and her boy are surrounded by a posse of angry reindeer. “Where’s a sled and a jolly old elf when you need one!” cried Aidan.

In a fit of desperation, Naomi destroys the evil VHS tape – but then realizes she burned the wrong one! That was Culture Club’s debut appearance on American Bandstand! “Damned dated technology!,” she screamed.

If ever there was a creative spark extinguished after just one movie, that spark was The Ring and the extinguisher is The Ring Two. How do you top something that, by its nature, is a one-hit wonder?

“I know!” said producer Walter F. Parkes as a multi-million dollar light bulb flashed on over his head. “We’ll take it to Broadway as a musical, then make a movie of the musical, then a made-for-TV musical of the movie musical,” he said. “And by then I’ll be retired and living in the Caymans sipping a Mai Tai until dusk when I venture off to feast on the blood of innocents.”

It’s nice to see Samara yanking people headfirst into the television since that’s where most people want to be anyway.

Finally, it’s the ultimate confrontation between good and evil, and I mean “good” in the moral sense not in the qualitative one. The devil is vanquished, a new hope reigns, our pockets have been picked clean by Hollywood’s derivative-minded vultures, and we’re free to be ripped off another day.

“It’s over,” Naomi says. “She’s not coming back.”

We can only hope.

Photos Copyright ©2005 DreamWorks Pictures

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