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Rated 3.03 stars
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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Exploiting Illness for Horror Plot
by Geoffrey D. Roberts

I blame screenwriter Ehren Kruger for my disappointment with The Ring Two: Unrated Edition. He crams too many ideas at one time into the movie. And he gives his characters too much dialogue, no matter how insignificant they are. Most of them drone on for long periods of time. However, Kruger does get rid of a lot of characters who say too much and then are never heard from again. 

An opening sequence meant to set up the entire film fails to do so. Kruger introduces new ideas which he seems intent on exploring but never goes back to. The movie soon becomes totally unwatchable, at least for me. There are several ridiculous over-the-top scenes that come across as laughable.  For example, showing demonically possessed reindeer attacking automobiles? Stupid to say the least. If anything should attack humans in a horror flick, it ought to be something much more terrifying than that. 

Director Hideo Nakata, Kruger and company needed to tighten up this screenplay. And why didn't they realize that five or six other ideas Kruger wrote and then dropped at the beginning of the movie would have been better script material? If only the director and screenwriter had used the opening sequence as a window into a much better plot. So many rules, new ideas about the tapes and who saw them as well as what their motives were would have been interesting to see developed. 

I also wonder why the movie wasn't based on and tied right into the opening sequence in a barn, then moved to the house where Emily VanCamp (Everwood) is head over heels for a certain boy. That self-centered boy forces Emily to watch the infamous tape for two minutes. But she doesn't like scary movies, which the boy told her it was, so she hides her eyes instead of watching the tape. Had she not, she would have died instead of the boy. A new rule discarded and never mentioned again: one person can see the tape and live if they convince some naive person (in this case a girl who knows nothing about the tape) to take their place as the victim.

We see Emily later for two minutes in a police station with Naomi Watt's reporter character Rachel, from the first film, asking about what happened to her. Rachel is investigating the death of the boy she was with. Emily, of course, is left stone-faced in shock. It turns out that Rachel is curious about how this youngster saw a tape only she possesses. That potential backstory is sadly discarded.

Instead, we get the same old story about Samara coming back and wreaking havoc. Watts and son Aidan (David Dorfman) become the sole focus of the plot. Six months after the events of the first film, they are trying to move on. Startled by vivid memories, Rachel knows Samara has returned. Facing a nightmare on earth, she must struggle for her son's -- and her own -- survival.

It's frightening to me that, while the director and screenwriter have obviously done research on Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, they use it to explain Aidan's medical problems. This disease is a rare mental illness in which someone, usually a caregiver, induces symptoms of serious illness in a child. Sometimes the child even dies as a result of the delusion their caregiver is right. The controversy surrounding the illness is that some parents, mostly mothers, have been falsely locked behind bars for seriously harming their children. But there's more to it than meets the eye where Munchausen is concerned, for many times the cause of illness or death cannot be found -- and some people end up being falsely accused.  

The DVD offers a featurette on why The Ring Two and The Ring are connected and how scary this connection is. (Too bad that connection is never made in the actual film.) Other bonus items included are: deleted scenes, a special effects feature, and a feature on symbolism in the movie.

(Released by DreamWorks and Universal Studios. Rated "PG-13" for violence, tense/disturbing images, thematic elements and some language.)


                                                                                                                                                                               
 
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