"Ring", last year's scariest horror film which showed up both "The Blair Witch Project" and its sequel in all their mediocrity, was Japan's most successful horror film to date, and quite right too. Based on the imaginative notion that those freaked-out by an unnerving image on video might die exactly one week later (unless someone they knew also watched the tape by the end of the week), "Ring" was a quietly controlled spine-tingler rooted in psychology, not effects.
Of course, with the inevitable heady desire to milk that colossal success, "Ring 2" has been rush-released to satisfy an international audience panting with anticipation. Sadly, they will feel cheated by the sequel which comes across as half a film, an enterprise nowhere near as substantial as its predecessor. Following on from "Ring", and pursuing the same central idea, it does not transfix the viewer with an opening, scary moment. Instead, it lands you slap-bang in the midst of endless conversation as various parties (the police, the obsessive TV reporter and her colleague) discuss the curse from all angles. It's rather like entering a room and just missing the juicy part of a chat. In other words, "Ring 2" presupposes you've seen "Ring".
Thus the director's gentle approach, because it so often leads to yet more dialogue and thoughtful faces, does not work, and he sees fit to include only a smattering of scares, almost all of which - like the mother and child struggling to claw themselves out of a deep well - are slotted into the final third. As for conversation, it never was very frightening.