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Ring 2

Ring 2
It’s an unwritten law of film-making that sequels to surprise hits are inferior to the originals and usually naff. But every rule has its exceptions, and Ring 2 is a sequel to rank alongside Mad Max 2: in many ways better than the film it follows. The first Ring elaborated an invented mythology with roots in the faraway 1950s: Sadako, the psychically out-of-control daughter of a clairvoyant from Oshima Island, was entombed in an old well by her terrified mentor but survived as a vengeful spook and returned, using modern technologies (notably video) to terrorise and kill an ever-widening ring of victims. Ring 2 picks up exactly where Ring left off, starting with an extremely gruesome revelation about Sadako’s fate down the well. Reiko has disappeared with her young son; her father has fallen victim to Sadako’s homicidal videotape images; and the investigative baton is picked up by two more scared-shitless reporters and a reckless doctor who imagines that he can explain it all scientifically . . .
With this diptych, director Nakata Hideo almost single-handedly drags the Japanese horror genre away from its Buddhist origins and into the Cronenberg era by making the threat existential. Wisely, he declined to make the prequel Ring , an Olympic-standard bore which purports to offer the ‘truth’ about Sadako. Nakata presents Sadako’s curse as a kind of psychic virus, lethal and unstoppable. And, like Cronenberg (but unlike most mainstream horror-movie directors), he sees no need to provide a redemptive ending. There is no way out, and the isolation cell awaits. Scary as hell…

Japan, 1998.
English subtitles.
Colour.
Dolby stereo SR.
95 mins.

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