Tuesday, May 21, 2013

REVIEW: The Ring 2 (2005)

Oh man, oh man, I only have a few hours to review The Ring 2 and pass my misery onto the rest of the world, or else my face will turn into a dried up prune and my brain will go defunct! Just like…what happens when one normally watches The Ring 2...

Director: Hideo Nakata
Starring: Naomi Watts, David Dorfman

I really can’t put into words how boring this movie is. But hey, I might as well try!

The movie starts off with some stupid high school kids getting ready for a hot night of sex when the guy asks the girl if she wants to see something scary. If the punchline is him unzipping his pants, I’m turning the movie off right now and converting to Catholicism.

No, actually it’s the Ring tape – apparently Samara was really hard at work in the three years since the first one, at making her very own video store chain, all around the USA now!

We see that he tricks the girl into watching the tape so he can get off the hook from Samara’s curse. But as will be a common theme in this movie, Samara cheats and kills him anyway when the girl only watches part of the videotape, closing her eyes for the rest of it. It’s not like it really matters, anyway. The first movie had plenty of people dying even after they showed other people the stupid tape. It’s an arbitrary, silly rule that just seems to be made up for Samara to kill people. What is even the point? Does she just get off on oddly specific murdering rules? I really want to see a ghost movie from Asia where the killer doesn’t have some bullshit excuse or guideline on what and how to kill people – that would be very refreshing.

Anyway, we then return to the main characters of the first movie, Rachel and Aidan. While I’m all for sequels actually featuring the same main characters as the originals, whoever cared about these two reappearing in another film? They’re bland as can be. It’s fine if you want to tell a continuing story, but for Satan’s sake, could you at least try to make it an interesting one? Or at least, not one that makes me wish I was in a coma?

"Honey. watch out, you're getting in the way of me neglecting you."

Rachel, being a super cool journalist, tracks down the girl who survived her idiot boyfriend’s Ring tape fiasco, and wastes a lot of time at a police station for basically two seconds of exposition where she learns that – DUN DUN DUNNNNNN – the horror is starting over again! Why did we need a five minute scene of her aimlessly putzing around at a police station to establish that this will in fact be a continuation of the horrors of the first film? I think it’s pretty self-explanatory, guys...

"Oh, I'm glad there weren't any guards around or anything. That would have made this completely impossible! And why did I wait that long and waste so much time when clearly I could've just snuck back here in the first place? I...I don't know..."

After that, Rachel manages to track down the tape in the dead kid’s house, and she goes and has her own personal bonfire with it. And just in case you’re completely retarded: this is not the end of the movie. If you think her burning this tape will end their troubles, or do anything beyond just punching holes in the “why don’t they just destroy the tape?” arguments that would have popped up...well, you’re in for a sour, rude awakening with the rest of the movie. As I said before, Samara just breaks every single rule the movie tries to tell us in set in stone. What a load of horse snot.

"I burned the tape! I'm so glad the rest of the movie just doesn't exi---oh shit, the DVD player tells me I still have an hour and a half left of the movie. Wow, this red herring totally failed."

Back at home, Aidan has some freaky nightmares about Samara and the tape and everything. Rachel assures him that she definitely will not just leave him alone while going out and almost dying again. So maybe her parenting is a step up in this one. But that just means she’s at the level of “drunk and slightly incoherent” mom instead of “holy shit, she just did THAT to her child” mom...don’t worry Rachel, you’ll have your own show on MTV sooner or later. It’ll probably be called “Whoops, I Left My Kid Alone to Go Ghost Hunting.”

After that, they go to a fair where she just lets Aidan run off in the middle of a bunch of perfect strangers, who could potentially be crazy serial killers or rapists, but it’s OK. He just goes in the bathroom and takes pictures in the mirror.

Glad your kid is weird and just goes off to take pictures in bathroom mirrors, instead of getting into vans with strangers - seriously, WTF is the logic in telling your young son "oh yeah, just go off without me, it doesn't matter"? Are you high?

In a truly Insidious-esque twist, we see that the camera just makes ghosts appear in the picture with you now, rather than the last movie’s silly ‘blurred face’ crap...apparently this is a signal that Aidan has contracted hypothermia mysteriously, so they get out of the house and go stay with Rachel’s reporter friend Max, who is filling the ‘generic horror movie guy’ quota of the movie. You know the guy who is inoffensive, bland and milquetoast as hell? The guy who, in every horror movie, is the best friend with a possible romantic interest in the main girl, but who would never dream of actually taking advantage of the situation in any way? The guy whose only role is to be the voice of reason and talk in a really wimpy, whiny sort of tone all the time? That’s Max.

In the bathtub, we see some crazy stuff happen as I think Max will want to re-look at his water bill for the month...hope he’s not too mad:

Just think of all the money wasted on this effect. Think of all the green backed dollars and shiny coins that got sucked deep into the funnel of corporate pandering in order to create this scene, in this soulless movie.

Then Rachel decides the best idea is to strangle Max just because she thinks he’s Samara for a second…it’s funny to me that THIS is the big reason that everyone finally starts doubting Rachel’s parenting ability. Let’s count the horrible things she’s already done before this:

1. Leaving the killer videotape for Aidan to watch on his own and thus put his life in danger?

2. Leaving him alone while she goes off on a journey that she could very well DIE on?

3. Letting him wander around a strange new town fair alone where anything could happen to him?

Yeah, like I said in the other review – just take Aidan away from this crazy broad and put him in a home where he’ll actually be SAFE. Christ, these movies give the Poltergeist series a run for their money in terms of bad parenting.

But nevertheless, at least they’re finally starting to suspect Rachel is a horrible parent, even if it is for the wrong reasons. They take Aidan to the hospital, even though Rachel says she doesn’t want to...WHY?! Why would you not take him to a goddamn hospital, you bimbo? What possible reason could you have? Are you just mentally deficient? Is that it? Are you just the worst shit-eating, loathsome, scum of the Earth parent to ever exist?!

Jesus. I’m reaching my limits here. Let’s just get the rest of the movie over with.

There are a lot of boring, dull, trite scenes where Rachel goes around to the old Morgan house from the first movie to research stuff. It’s a complete waste of time, and I’d rather watch paint dry. Why does every 2000s supernatural horror film have to have these slow-paced, uninteresting ‘research’ montages? It’s totally bullshit. There are ways to do these kinds of scenes right, but The Ring 2 doesn’t, and neither does any other subpar excuse for a horror film around this time. It’s lazy filmmaking and all it’s really doing is taking up precious film reel that could have been used instead to educate people, or at least to make an actual good movie. Sigh.

God, I'm glad Cabin in the Woods exists to show how stupid all of these kinds of scenes are. Maybe a couple of times, in the entirety of horror as a genre, has research scenes ever led to anything important to the plot. IT'S NOT SCARY, people! Learning the origins of things is not scary!

Rachel goes off on a quest to talk to Samara’s birth mother and figure out what the hell is going on. After another over-five-minute scene of wasted time trying to get in to see the mother, we finally get there – I think The Ring 2 thinks it’s conjuring up atmosphere, but this isn’t atmosphere, it’s just dragging out the inevitable, like a knife-wound left untreated while your paramedics go and get a grilled cheese sandwich from the bar next door. Painful, excruciatingly dragged out crap is what it is.

So apparently there’s some story about how Samara’s mother, Evelyn, once tried to drown Samara in the pond outside the mental institution, and that’s why Samara was given up for adoption…to the other family that tried to kill her. Evelyn tells Rachel that she did it because “Samara told her to.” Yup, she tried to kill her infant daughter because her infant daughter told her to; clearly this woman is a beacon of sanity in a forest of madness. Her advice to Rachel is to “listen to her child.” Hey, isn’t it a bit weird that Rachel would go to a child murderer and insane asylum inmate to get advice on parenting? Somehow it doesn’t surprise me though.

"I'm totally insane! But I'm a wise prophet on taking care of kids...please, yes, listen to what I have to say. It will tell you everything you need to know."

Oh, and NOTHING about this scene is ever brought up again. That “listen to your child” bullshit? Never referenced or mentioned in the film again! Hooray for pointlessness!

Back at home, Aidan is possessed by Samara now – did you know THAT was one of her powers? How about when he uses psychic powers to make his doctor kill herself? Did you know THAT was one of Samara’s powers? No? Well, that’s because this movie made that shit up without even bothering to try and connect it to the original movie’s story. Is it any surprise that a film so boring and lifeless has trouble even keeping its story straight? “Samara is an evil ghost with the power to kill people, but only if they watch a video tape...or if she just feels like possessing someone and murdering people for no reason...” What absolute ass.

Then Aidan goes to Max’s house again and somehow kills him. Rachel finds him in the car:

Did he even watch the tape at all? Did Aidan/Samara just force him to? I'm more inclined to believe the movie has just thrown all pretense of making sense to the wind.

Isn’t it kinda suspicious to the police in this town that people keep turning up with their faces like that? Even if half the murders happened in another town, they’re all obviously identical in what happened to them – even if nobody knows how it happened. So do the cops really just think it’s all a big coincidence? Geez, movie. I know small town cops aren’t always Sherlock Holmes, but c’mon.

Aidan acts strange and Rachel figures out that Samara is inside him, so she just drowns him in the bathtub again until Samara pops out like a jack in the box. Rachel revives Aidan and everything is cool, until Samara tries to come back through the TV – seriously, are they even trying with this shit now? The premise of “you have to watch the video to die” has become “Samara just does whatever she wants until she kills everyone.” Real gripping plot, movie.

Rachel gets sucked into the TV and ends up back in the well with Samara again. And we also see her do her best Dark Knight Rises re-enactment!

"RISE! RISE! RISE!" Maybe Samara can break her back and take over Gotham City afterwards. Makes about as much sense as anything else in this movie.

Despite all that crap the movie tried to shovel about Samara being sympathetic because people tried to kill her, we see Rachel just drop-kicks Samara in the face and condemns her to live forever in a dark hole with no light at all. After seeing what Rachel considers to be good parenting and just general good humanity, I question whether the ‘good guy’ really won in this movie at all. What else says ‘heroism’ like a little girl who was knocked around her whole life continuing to get shoved back down in the dirt for no other reason than the fact that she makes creepy insect sound effects when she moves and has too-long hair?

This movie is just wretched. It’s stupid, has questionable morals and, oh yeah, IT’S BORING AS HELL. There is nothing about this movie that I liked, or even found the least bit tolerable. It’s just a steaming pile of manure compost made up of the worst elements of post-2000 horror movies. Why even bother with horror movies at all anymore? I’ve already said everything there is to say, and this movie is the final nail in the godforsaken coffin. It’s just...God, this is so bad. It’s so completely insipid, and I’m as burnt out as you can get on reviewing movies like it.

That’s it, then – I’m done reviewing horror movies! I can’t do it anymore! From now on, I will only review romantic comedies!

Images in this review are copyright of their original owners. I do not own any of them.