The Ring Two (15)
Time Out says‘Fear comes full circle,’ announces the poster tagline. Appropriately so, since Hideo Nakata’s fine film is closer in tone to his own Japanese original than to Gore Verbinski’s 2002 re-make. A grown-up sequel, it mostly eschews the cheap scares, redundant sub-plots and join-the-dots plotting of its American predecessor, pushing the cursed video tape into the background and focusing instead on the gradual ‘possession’ of Rachel’s son, Aidan (David Dorfman), by Samara’s unquiet spirit. There are echoes, too, of the water imagery and mother-child bond seen in Nakata’s ‘Dark Water’, as Rachel (Naomi Watts) and the maternally abused Samara struggle for control of Aidan’s soul.
Having pursued Aidan and the now neurotically over-protective Rachel to a small Oregon coastal town, Samara makes her ghostly presence felt, appearing in Aidan’s dreams, in mirrors, and in digital photos. But when Samara gradually invades Aidan’s body, things become more complex and more affecting. With cruel irony, Rachel’s obsessive mother-love drives a wedge between her and the Samara-influenced Aidan, and creates suspicions of child abuse in work colleague Max (Simon Baker) and hospital shrink Dr Emma Temple (Elizabeth Perkins).
Once again, Nakata fuses arresting water imagery and emotional involvement, culminating in a stunning bathroom scene in which Rachel – sucked into a watery vortex of confusion – realises that she may have to drown her son in order to save him. There is also a quiet, devastating meeting between Rachel and Samara’s real mother, played with painful, convincing lucidity by Sissy Spacek. The final confrontation between Samara and Rachel is anti-climactic, but up till then, Nakata’s emotional undercurrents create a dark whirlpool of terror.
Fri Apr 1, 2005