Well, it's here at last. Did bringing original Japanese director Hideo Nakata back prove to be a good move? I suppose about as good as it could have been. Hey, it's not his fault--he originated the material, and he knows how it's supposed to look and how it's supposed to play. 

The trouble is, by this time, so do WE. And it just isn't scary anymore. The girl-ghost with long black hair is now just as overused as the blonde girl-ghost bouncing the white ball. 

And since we're still watching an American film designed specifically for those who thought that the first American RING was the be-all-end-all, we also know what NOT to expect. We've got the potential for one of the most devastating conclusions in horror history, but it doesn't build any suspense at all, because you just KNOW they're never going to to through with it--that they're going to try and have it both ways. And yet the conclusion still leaves one hell of a lot of stuff unresolved... we'll talk later when you've either seen it or decided that you never will. 

Yeah, the cameos work pretty well--there's one big name they save for a while (you probably already know it), but for my money, I got a bigger kick out of Gary Cole's appearance--he gets the best line in the film (which I'll also hold off on revealing). And there are a few effective bits here and there, I'll grant them that... though NOTHING made me jump. (If you saw RINGU 2, you know that this isn't truly a remake, but Nakata did restage the best part of that earlier film towards the end, small mercy.) 

However, it's the "deer" scene that's determined to live in infamy for a very long time. I guess that since the CGI horse-abuse was such a memorable part of the first RING, we just had to do the "animal" bit again--and this is almost worth paying to see. Apparently, the deer are supposed to look sinister and menacing as they stare--but that's not the effect it had on me. Remember the REN & STIMPY episode where Ren was taking a sponge bath and everybody was watching him through the window? Remember the expression on the horse's face? You see what I'm getting at... 

It's going to do well, particularly in its opening weekend, but THE RING TWO (unsurprisingly) isn't worth recommending. It's only fair to point out, though, that this isn't CURSED. This isn't the sort of film that made me ANGRY--not only that I'd sat through it, but that it even existed. It wasn't "offensively" bad. It's just par for the course... it's just the very latest (for now) entry in the overplayed "black-haired ghost" sweepstakes and destined to fade out of memory (except for the deer scene, of course) before its time.

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