After the events of the first film, Naomi Watts and her young son are starting a new life for themselves in a small town. But the curse of Samara reaches out to them, as not only are there more victims of the lethal videotape in this town (thus driving home Watts’ guilt for having copied the tape herself), but Samara strives to possess Watts’ son.
Everything is here, conceptually, for a pretty gruelling exercise in horror. Every mother’s nightmare is played on as Watts is suspected…of abusing her son, and the method she is forced to contemplate in order to save her boy should be the stuff of nightmares (I’ll leave it for you, gentle viewer, to discover). Furthermore, the director of the original Ringu is at the helm. I confess heretically, however, to preferring the American remake. Whether the blame lies with him or screenwriter Ehren Kruger, the fact remains that the sequel, though not incompetently put together, is frankly rather dull, and the CGI FX are laughable rather than scary. A real disappointment.
The sound, however, is not dull. This is an exciting 5.1 mix (2.0 is available too), with an ominous, majestic music mix, and plenty of BOO! surround noises, be they music cues or sound effects. The environmental effects are good, too (and nicely placed), and the dialogue is clear and free of distortion.
The picture too, is very nice. It’s a moody 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, faithful to the theatrical experience, with strong, atomospheric (but never murky) colours, no visible edge enhancement, a sharp image, and very minimal grain.
The four featurettes and the HBO making-of piece are all fairly standard promotional stuff, though they do focus on one aspect or another of the film (make-up, symbolism, etc.). The cast and filmmaker bios are quite generous, and there are production notes, deleted scenes, and trailers. The highlight, however, is a short film, “Rings” (introduced by producer Walter Parkes). This gives us the backstory to the sequel’s first victim, and is tense, unnerving, and evocative (one badly conceived CG bug notwithstanding). It is strong support to the argument that ghost stories work best in the short form. In any case, the disc is worth renting just to see this feature. The menu is fully animated and scored.
Dull movie, great short. Rent it, but don’t buy.
Special Features List
- “Rings” Short Feature
- HBO Making of Featurette
- “Faces of Fear” Featurette
- “Fear on Film” Featurette
- “Samara: From Eye to Icon” Featurette
- “The Powers of Symbols” Featurette
- Cast and Filmmaker Bios
- Deleted Scenes
- Production Notes