starring Naomi Watts, Simon Baker, David Dorfman, Elizabeth Perkins
screenplay by Ehren Kruger
directed by Hideo Nakata
by Walter Chaw The hope that Hideo Nakata's The Ring Two will be as pleasant a surprise as Gore Verbinski's The Ring lasts all of five minutes. Two high school kids (Ryan Merriman and Emily VanCamp), alone without the parents, cuddle up to watch a video but, lo, the boy is just in it to get the girl "in trouble" so that he'll be off the hook while proving to a chortling pal on the telephone that he is, indeed, mas macho. All the reasons we had for doing the awful things we did in high school find a wonderful vehicle in a demonic videotape that, like a really bad venereal disease, kills anyone who indulges in it seven days after they "do" it. But the premise that carried the first film (and the original Japanese trilogy and mini-series)--the idea of a media-borne STD (or drug addiction), transformed here into something carried aloft by the virulence of peer pressure--is instantly discarded along with its deadline gimmick in favour of about two hours of garbage involving killer deer, a somnambulantly-possessed kid (if demonic possession renders your nine-year-old docile as a fawn, that's a trade-off some might be willing to make), and poor Naomi Watts huffing and puffing and delivering awful, repetitive monologues at her catatonic kid.