The Ring 2 Hideo Nakata

Naomi Watts returns as newspaper reporter Rachel Keller, who investigates the same deadly videotape that plagued her family in the first Ring. This time, however, Hideo Nakata, who directed the original Japanese Ringu movies, helms this stateside version. Rachel and her son Aidan (David Dorfman) have relocated to sleepy Astoria, Oregon where she works alongside editor and quasi-love interest David Rourke (Simon Baker) at the town paper. Rachel links the strange death of local teenager Jake to the deadly videotape, which she finds (too easily) and destroys. Immediately, Aidan is hospitalised for hypothermia and bruises on his body that medical staff blame on Rachel. Accused of child abuse, Rachel flees to Seattle (the setting of the first Ring) to dig deeper into the story behind Samara Morgan, the ghost behind the videotape. Will Rachel uncover Samara's secrets before more people die? Credit Nakata for making an above-average horror sequel and this DVD for including some decent extras, which include a comparison of motifs and symbols between the two Ring movies, make-up and visual effects featurettes, an intriguing short film about doomed teenager Jake, cast interviews and deleted scenes. This unrated version adds 18 minutes to the original running time but doesn't improve the overall film, and although Watts delivers a solid performance and Nakata delivers on atmosphere and suspense, Ring 2 disappoints fans of the first instalment. A scene involving a pack of deer surrounding Rachel's car doesn't make sense. And as a sullen, strange child who becomes possessed, Aidan too closely resembles Haley Joel Osment's The Sixth Sense turn. Finally, Rachel's investigation of Samara takes on a sluggish inevitability that culminates in an unsatisfying scene with the great Sissy Spacek (playing Samara's insane mother). Lastly, the film's subtext of child abuse is never developed. All in all this is a decent package, but will interest only die-hards of the first Ring. (Dreamworks/Universal)