ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Ringu 2 (1999)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Hideo Nakata

Starring:
Miki Natakami/Mai
Nanako Matsushima/Reiko
Rikiya Otaka/Yoichi
Yuurei Yanagi/Okazaki
PLOT-CRUNCH
The heroes from the original "Ringu", Reiko (Matsushima) and Okazaki (Yanagi) have vanished off the face of the globe. It’s up to Mai (Natakami) and the law to find them. At the same time, the little brat from the first film (Otaka) is now acting all ESP-spooky while mumbo-jumbo driven scientists try to decipher the power behind that undead dame that haunts videotapes. Talk about a busy evening!
THE LOWDOWN
Here’s a little Ringu history lesson before we begin: "Ringu" (1998) the film was inspired by Kôji Suzuki’s book of the same name. The film "Rasen" (also released in 1998) was based on Suzuki’s book sequel for Ringu. "Rasen" flopped miserably at the box-office, but when "Ringu" became a big hit, they decided to pretend that "Rasen" was never made and in 1999, put out a new Ringu sequel. This second sequel had nothing to do with Suzuki’s book and they appropriately called it "Ringu 2". Got that? Yes? No? Fuck you, Arrow? Either way, let's move on!

Although I boogied to "Ringu" way more than to this sequel, I do have to prop this follow-up for playing it smart. It brought back most of the likeable cast members from the original film while changing the focus as to who the leads were. That gave us a Ringu tale from a fresh perspective even with the same players in the house. And instead of doing the usual “sequel” no-no of rehashing the same old jive again, "Ringu 2" took all of the layered goodies that the first film put out and ran with them as far as it could. I have to respect any “Part 2” that stays true to its source material and that manages to give us something fresh (loved the possession angle) at the same time. Lastly, the flick sported some mucho effective moody directing and a double whammy of crawl-under-skin scare scenes which split my skull open like nobody’s bushwhacks. Ouch! I felt those! CREEPY!

Where Ringu 2’s tape got mangled was that its main game was to deconstruct and attempt to tag an explanation to everything that Ringu subtlety communicated. From Sadako’s history to how the videotape really works, all was deeply and painfully anally probed. Personally, that didn’t go down too well for three reasons. #1) What made "Ringu" scary was the mystery behind it, so yes, this nosier-than-nosy sequel was therefore much less frightening. #2) The film was heavily axed on long-winded dialogue sessions and thorough dissections of the events at hand. Hey man! I give a fudge about how the tape works! Stop talking about it and show me already! #3) Let's just say that the “out there” explanations they came up with were pretty damn hokey. We get lots of scenes with peeps being plugged to machines and have to endure lots of drivel about energy and water acting as conduits or some BS like that. The abysmal "Exorcist 2" actually popped to mind a couple of times while watching those scenes (not good).

Although I was somewhat underwhelmed by it, I will admit that "Ringu 2" still had me trapped in its web the whole way and that counts for something. The fine acting, the chilling atmosphere, the fascinating narrative and the handful of potent horror bits (all about The Well…brrrr) made sure to keep me looping with this ring to some degree. Now play this tape and die!
GORE
Not many wet and wild games here. We get a puddle of blood and an ugly vision of Sadako.
ACTING
Miki Natakami (Mai) gave a strong leading show, reaching all of the right emotional levels. Nanako Matsushima (Reiko) did well within the limited screen time she was given. Rkiya Otaka (Yoichi) rivaled Gary Coleman and Emmanuelle Lewis as the creepiest kid to ever grace the screen. Yuurei Yanagi (Okazaki) did what he had to do adequately. Rie Inou (Sadako) reprised her ghostly role from the first one and yes, she’s still a chilling vision to behold. The dame is PISSED OFF!
T & A
I was naked when I watched the movie…does that count?
DIRECTING
Nakata put out a spooky looking and feeling film via slow camera movements, a washed out allure, stylish methods of communicating the “ghost” world and inventive angles. He also sure knew how to handle his “supernatural” scenes to give me willies.
SOUNDTRACK
The film was very silent-- maybe too silent for my taste. When the score by Kenji Kawai popped out though, it got the job done.
BOTTOM LINE
Sure, it's not up to par with "Ringu", but "Ringu 2" was nonetheless an engaging sit-down, with an infectious look, solid characters and a handful of truly spine-tingling horror moments. Too bad this beeyatch wouldn’t shut up and tried too hard to brand explanations to all that was "Ringu". Some things are better left unsaid. I have mixed feelings about this sucka, but I do recommend you check it out...if only to make up your own mind about it.
BULL'S EYE
The first adaptation of Kôji Suzuki’s RINGU novel came via a TV movie called Ringu: Kanzen-ban (1995).

The films Ringu (1998), Rasen (1998) and Ring O Birthday (2000) were also based on novelists Kôji Suzuki’s work.

The Ring Virus (1999) was another adaptation of Ringu the book. It was a Korean and Japanese production.

A TV series was also created off the Ringu novel, it’s called "Ring: The Final Chapter (1999).

And lastly, there was the American remake called "The Ring" (2002) with a planned sequel in the works.

Is that enough RINGU for ya???
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