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RING 2

SYNOPSIS:
Mai Takano (Nakatini Miki) begins her own investigation into the cursed videotape responsible for the death of her college professor boyfriend Ryuji. Her investigation leads to the discovery of Ryuji's ex-wife Reiko (Matsushima Nanako) and Reiko's son Yoichi (Otaka Rihikya). It appears Yoichi has been possessed by the spirit of Sadako - the psychically malevolent woman who appears in the videos carrying the curse of death on those who witness it. A dangerous psychiatric experiment is set up to free Yoichi from Sadako's control and ultimately destroy her.

Don't worry if you haven't seen the spine-tingling original before you see the sequel. Ring 2 doesn't make much sense either way, although this isn't necessarily a reason to overlook it. If you're looking for a satisfactory explanation and conclusion to the very clever premise of a cursed videotape causing viewers to die exactly a week after watching it (unless they show it to someone else, who then must do the same, etc) you won't find it here. You will, however, find plenty of intriguing conversation around the topic and some beautifully executed scenes as the girlfriend of professor Ryuji (Sanada Hiroyuki) launches her investigation into the powers of sinister spirit Sadako - the star of the mystery tape. Although more visually polished than the first outing, this one suffers from too many ideas being thrown around and not enough of them solidifying. While the cops and journalists are trying to figure out Sadako we're also shown around psychiatric wards, parapsychological explanations and experiments, spirit photography...anything that might enhance the creepy concept is hurled into the mix but none of it really brings us any closer to resolution. The feeling is that you've dropped into an information seminar on the subject of cursed videotapes and everyone's giving their two bob's worth. That may be too frustrating for many viewers but if you don't demand to know everything you can still be quietly chilled by some of the set pieces pulled off by director Nakata Hideo. Overall this is something of a disappointment but not the lame duck sequel it might have been.
Richard Kuipers

The first film left us with a tantalising premise. A hot potato video: watch it, copy it, pass it on . . . or die. And youíve only got seven days before the next person in the chain views it, or itís off to the morgue with such a ghastly expression of horror on your countenance that youíd scare the living daylights out of the undead. The strangest thing about this strange and spooky saga is that the potential for nerve-racking count-downs is hardly exploited. Failure to watch the voodooed video does result in a fatality or two, but this is peripheral to a myriad of supernatural weirdness. For those who missed the first film it will be particularly confusing, even though various background tidbits are proffered as the sequel progresses. Again, the filmís strength, its scariest element, lies in the ominous undertones. Although the first could be accused of style over substance, the additional unworldly action here is counterproductive. The aim is a nightmarish saga with an uncomfortably realistic edge; and a blend of normalcy and the bizarre makes for the creepiest moments. Unlike many of these macabre fantasies, it is not populated by opposing teams of The Sceptical and The Credulous, and the characters react with a degree of realism in extraordinary circumstances. The earnest doctor with his eminently reasonable theories should know better, however. Legend dictates that the inhuman element will always stump a man of reason. Towards the latter half the action descends into a tangled web of psycho-babble; no doubt intended to obfuscate the lack of logical narrative. Neither film is the chilling, horror masterpiece their cult success, and some critics, might have you believe. They are, however, a far subtler shade of eerie than any teen-oriented slasher thatís crept out of Hollywood for some time. |
Brad Green



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 2

RING 2 [1998] (MA)
(Japan)

CAST: Daisuke Ban, Kyoko Fukada, Kenjiro Ishimaru, Nanako Matsushima, Katsumi Muramatsu

DIRECTOR: Hideo Nakata

PRODUCER: Taka Ichise

SCRIPT: Hiroshi Takahashi

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Hideo Yamamoto

EDITOR: Nobuyuki Takahashi

MUSIC: Kenji Kawai

RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Potential

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 18, 2001 (Sydney & Melbourne)

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: AV Channel

VIDEO REASE: July 30, 2002







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