The Ring Two
2005
Six months after Rachel and her son Aidan move to Oregon to forget their encounter with the supernatural, strange events still plague them. And when a mysterious videotape is found at a crime scene, it's proof that evil Samara Morgan wants revenge.

Scott Hardie: “It sucked.”

Is it possible that "Aliens" has ruined us for strong maternal heroes? After figuring out Samara's secret in the original film, Rachel should no longer become terrified by her presence, and regard her as a predator to be fought off, especially when Samara threatens her son. I don't necessarily buy Rachel's transformation from a lousy, mostly-absent mother in "The Ring" into Suzie Homemaker in the sequel (which is wise to build a plot point on how her son calls her by her first name), but taken as the conceit of the film that Rachel now feels a push to protect her son, it's unsatisfying and downright disappointing to see her become nearly petrified at the alarming signs of Samara's interest in him and each new corpse that she produces. It's telling that "The Ring Two" comes most alive when it finally uses the one F-word granted by its PG13 rating, in a moment of maternal toughness that we've been waiting for Rachel to flash for the entire film.

More scenes like that one and this film might have been something interesting, instead of the drab, languid mess that it is. Too many scenes drag on far beyond their ability to make a point, particularly when Rachel comes home to find her son watching TV; the film circles around that nap-inducing slog for what seems like an eternity before something finally happens. I hesitate to charge any film with the dreaded "b" word (boring), but these filmmakers have made it easy for me, by underestimating the level of interest the audience can maintain in these hollow ciphers of protagonists. There's watchable material here, along with a chilling Hans Zimmer score and some impressive technical effects, but they're lost in a sea of cold, gray nothingness. Pretentiousness isn't doing the horror genre any favors.

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