Monday, 1 June 2015

The Ring 2 (Japanese version) (4 Stars)

In 1998 the film "The Ring" ("Ringu") was released in Japan and was enormously successful. In an unusual marketing move the sequel was released in the cinemas on the same day with the name "Spiral" ("Rasen"). Both films were based on books by the author Koji Suzuki, both featured the same cast (the ones who survived the first film), but they were directed by different directors. For reasons unknown to me, not having seen it yet, "Spiral" was a financial flop. Maybe the double-release strategy confused the viewing public, maybe it just wasn't as good, I don't know. So in 1999 Hideo Nakata, the director of "The Ring", made another sequel, ignoring and even contradicting the events in "Spiral".

"The Ring 2" begins a few weeks after the end of the first film, and the main character is Mai Takano, who was Ryuji's assistant at university in the first film. After Ryuji's death at the end of the first film she decides to investigate what happened to him. In the process she finds Reiko and Yoichi, who have gone into hiding. Reiko dies shortly after the meeting, and Mai has to take care of Yoichi.

It's difficult for me to give "The Ring 2" a fair rating. On the one hand it's very scary, but on the other hand it has so many random occurrences thrown into it that the overall plot is muddled. We find out that Sadako remained alive in the well for 30 years, and the video curse only began after her death, but this has little relevance to the story. We see that people who have witnessed Sadako killing others (Masami, who appeared at the beginning of the first film, and Yoichi himself) are able to project Sadako's images onto television screens. Sadako's mother reappears and seems not as innocent as she was in the first film. Mai has psychic abilities. Yoichi has somehow developed the power to kill people by looking at them. It's all so confusing.

The American version of "The Ring 2" has nothing to do with this film, despite also being directed by Hideo Nakata. That's just as well. The American film is better written and makes sense.

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