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After The Ring came out of nowhere to become a massive hit, it wasn’t long before the studio wanted a quick sequel. Only three years after that box office success, Naomi Watts returns for The Ring Two. Occasionally disappointing and more reliant on CGI for its limited frights, something valuable is lost along the way.

Unfortunately director Gore Verbinski doesn’t return as the studio hands the job off to Japanese director Hideo Nakata, the original filmmaker behind such classic J-horror as Ringu and Dark Water. Sounds like a great idea, right? Wrong. This sequel largely drops the VHS gimmick that made The Ring’s premise so uniquely satisfying. Turning the iconic scares from the first film into just another everyday haunting and ghost possession flick. Samara returns as Rachel (Naomi Watts) and her son Aidan (David Dorfman) flee to Oregon.

This sequel largely drops the VHS gimmick that made The Ring’s premise so uniquely satisfying

The screenplay from returning screenwriter Ehren Kruger is far more aimed at female audiences than The Ring, tackling themes such as postpartum depression and child abuse. It reaches far beyond the genre’s grasp developing a ridiculous backstory for Samara, undercutting the franchise’s iconic character. The background they cook up for Samara is confused and unnecessary. Worse, it places one of cinema’s scariest and creepiest characters in an occasionally boring movie.

Hideo Nakata loses the great atmosphere found in the first film, displaying a poor feel for its signature VFX and the necessary terrifying set pieces by emulating his own Dark Water. Was it really necessary to fabricate the deer scene with CGI animals?

The Ring Two leans on young child actor David Dorfman in a movie with a rather small cast. He’s not bad as the creepy Aidan but it’s a problem so much of the plot hinges on a kid. Rachel has a token love interest played by Simon Baker in a completely undeveloped role who serves as little more than fodder for Samara. Sissy Spacek shows up for an almost pointless and unrecognizable cameo.

Horror sequels are usually made as cheap cash-ins coasting off the success of the popular first movie. The Ring Two is no different despite star Naomi Watts returning. If you merely want to catch Samara terrifying helpless victims, the sequel isn’t quite packed with scares. The ideas here aren’t awful but mostly half-baked, ditching many of the elements which made the first film so great.

Video

Director Hideo Nakata and cinematographer Gabriel Beristain go for a much more conventional palette and color grade than the original movie. Gone is the lush green tint from The Ring in favor of natural flesh-tones, a nice contrast and inky black levels. The 2005 production was a very early digital intermediate and Scream Factory employs a new 4K scan from the camera negative for UHD. The first movie had naturally gritty picture quality, while The Ring Two goes for greater clarity and less atmosphere in its VFX.

Only the original PG-13 theatrical cut, running nearly 110 minutes, is included on a triple-layer UHD. Its 1.85:1 presentation enhanced with Dolby Vision offers crisp, lively video with pleasing color rendition. More heavily reliant on dated CGI, The Ring Two’s rather ordinary cinematography shows decent improvements in finer detail and shadow delineation. There isn’t much eye candy but the horror movie definitely deserves this new 4K film scan.

Audio

The 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio is packed with excellent sound design providing an atmospheric surround mix. The neatly discrete sound effects pepper the soundstage as water begins flowing whenever Samara makes an appearance. It would have been great if Scream Factory had bumped this mix up to Dolby Atmos but all things considered the movie’s fidelity and immersion are fantastic. Bass is especially aggressive in spots with significant depth.

It should be mentioned DreamWorks didn’t bring back composer Hans Zimmer for The Ring Two and his absence is felt.

Optional English SDH subtitles play in a white font. A 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD MA option is also included.

Extras

The Ring Two is released on UHD as part of a six-disc combo UHD and Blu-ray box set from Scream Factory titled The Ring Collection with the original film and the largely unrelated Rings sequel. Each film gets its own UHD with a companion Blu-ray holding the bonus features. Archival extras from the DVD era are paired with a new audio commentary for The Ring Two. Only the commentary is available on UHD for The Ring Two. Everything else is pushed to the companion BD.

The biggest bonus here is the inclusion of the unrated cut on BD for the 2005 sequel, running a whopping 18 minutes longer than the theatrical cut. Interesting side note, this is the first appearance of The Ring Two on Blu-ray in North America.

The three UHD cases arrive in an attractive, hard outer shell.

The Ring Two Unrated Cut (127:52 in HD) – Arguably a superior version of the movie, director Hideo Nakata’s skills are on better display in this unrated cut with several unseen sequences. The older transfer on this cut is quite noticeable, probably why Scream Factory decided against using it on UHD.

Audio Commentary with film critics Emily Higgins and Billy Dunham

Rings (16:42 in HD) – A short film that uncovers the terrifying and secret connection between The Ring and its sequel.

Deleted Scenes (18:37 in SD)

Fear On Film: Special Effects Featurette (05:45 in SD)

Faces of Fear: The Phenomenon Featurette (06:12 in SD)

Samara: From Eye to Icon Featurette (05:48 in SD)

The Power of Symbols Featurette (05:20 in SD)

The Making of The Ring Two Featurette (13:02 in SD)

The Ring Two Theatrical Trailer (01:30 in HD)

Full disclosure: This UHD was provided by the label for review. This has not materially affected DoBlu’s editorial process. For information on how we handle all review material, please visit DoBlu’s about us page.

The Ring Two
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
3

Movie

A disappointing cash-in sequel which brings Naomi Watts back but replaces the compelling mystery and stellar production design with much heavier CGI scares.

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User Review
1 (1 vote)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 37 full resolution, uncompressed 4K screen shots ripped directly from the UHD:

 


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