Running Time: 95 minutes
UK Certificate: 15
A girl with her hair over her face. A mirror. A videotape. Lots of Japanese people grabbing their heads and wailing. It can all only point to one thing – ‘Endurance’!! Nah, not really. It’s actually ‘Ringu 2’, the swiftly released sequel to Ringu, Hideo Nakata’s modern horror masterpiece (which you might know better in its remade American form as The Ring).
Last time round, the tale focussed on the attempts of lady-journo Reiko (Nanako Matsushima) to discover the secrets behind a ghoulish video tape that causes the viewer to come a-cropper within seven days of hitting “play”. Without giving too much away, she was eventually led to a spooky well where a half-mental kiddie called Sadako (Rie Inou) had apparently been left to snuff it.
So now, as you might have guessed, everyone’s favourite water-dwelling ghostie is back. But does this second instalment live up to its critically-acclaimed and mighty chilly predecessor? The answer, in a word, is no. The key members of the original cast are back, the direction is again top notch, and there’s a strong new lead character played by Miki Nakatani – but, unfortunately, the story itself is a bit of a mess.
It centres on the attempts of original flick bit-part-player Mai (Nakatani) to find erstwhile creepy-vid-watcher Reiko and her scary-looking sprog Yoichi (Rikiya Otaka) before Japan’s nastiest VHS can spread its evil any further (they should thank their lucky stars it’s not a Betamax – then they really WOULD have problems).
Switching the focus of the plot onto someone new is a nice touch, and there are again some great spine-tingling moments, but it doesn’t take long for the whole thing to become bogged down in pigeon science and mumbo-jumbo. It makes for an uneven viewing experience, at times genuinely spooky, but at others just plain boring.
It's Got: Poorly-placed and stupidly-coloured subtitles, just like last time. Honestly, have the folks who put this together ever actually TRIED reading white subtitles on a white background? Its not easy, I can tell you.
It Needs: To dump the scientific gobbledy-gook and concentrate on giving us a good quality horror flick.
DVD Extras Filmographies, film notes, trailers, and a gallery of Japanese merchandise related to the film (bet those highly-appropriate kiddies lunchboxes sell like hot cakes!). DVD Extras Rating: 5/10
Creepy in places, dull in others, and not a patch on the original.