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When you die, you see the ring. When you’re bored, you see The Ring Two. I thought the first American installment was truly frightening at start and finish, but suffered from an expository middle hour that brought the film to a standstill. I said then that “what everybody involved seems to have missed is that the movie would’ve been much scarier, at least to my mind, if some portions of the tape had just been left unexplained.” And it is with that caveat in mind that I went in to Part Two, hoping just to see this devious little ghost in the machine inflict carnage on more unsuspecting viewers. Oops, my bad. As it turns out, The Ring Two does not explain every little detail that comes up — In fact, it doesn’t explain anything, and the result, after another creepy prologue, is an incoherent, sprawling mess that follows absolutely no rules at all — it’s Thunderdome, Jerry!

The upshot is this: Apparently, Samara now has something of a crush on Naomi Watts, and she wants out of the well and into the body of her son (David Dorfman) for good. To accomplish this nefarious deed, she manifests all kinds of strange and awesome powers that have nothing to do with a videotape, seven days, a well, or anything else that’s come before. Instead, she turns into a cross between Damien from the Omen movies and Freddy Krueger before the wisecracking, dispatching anyone who gets in her way whether or not they still own a VCR (including Elizabeth Perkins, in a brief but welcome sighting as a doubting shrink.)

As it drags on, the film makes less and less sense (unless you can recall the very similar bathtub scene from Constantine), and plot holes emerge that you could throw a larger child than Samara through. How did the studly reporter guy end up back in his truck? The “Dead Don’t Sleep” but they eat PB&J’s? For what it’s worth, Naomi Watts gives this cut rate material as much as she can, but, even with expectations set very low, The Ring Two turns out to be a considerable disappointment. Still, hopefully this burgeoning Scream Queen might soon find the Great Ape on Skull Island a bit more scream-worthy.

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