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The Ring Two

The Ring Two is about monsters, mothers and lost children.
Every good horror story begins with an aberration – the alien born from a man’s chest, the child molested in his grave, or the thing between the walls that just can’t shut up. The Ring Two has a ghoul named Samara.  
As an infant Samara’s mother attempted to kill her, seeing a devil in her child. Evelyn (Sissy Spacek) tried to drown her baby in the convent where she had sought refuge, but the nuns heard her and intervened. A wealthy couple adopted Samara, but once again they seem to sense – or imagine – a dark power in her, and her stepmother threw her down a well and then committed suicide herself. 
Samara is unwanted, twice murdered, a creature that persists despite the weight of the world crashing down on her. Pushed down into the darkest corner of the imaginary, she gains power paradoxically by being outside of the order, and draws strength from the powers that seek to make her invisible. She returns from the repressed corner of the mind, not only revitalized, but also demonized and vilified. We want our crimes buried beneath the ground and when they return to exact retribution they seem as invincible as imagination.
When Rachel (Naomi Watts) is drawn into the drama in the first Ring by investigating the death of her niece she sets off a series of events that draw the dead girl closer to her own neglected son Aidan (David Dorfman). The Ring Two begins six months after the events of the first film, and Rachel is doing everything she can to become a better parent. She has moved from Seattle, where she was a newspaper reporter for a major paper, to the small in Oregon to work for the local weekly and spend more time with him.
Unfortunately for them, the strange videocassette that depicts murder – and which has the power to kill those who see it – follows them. This time Samara doesn’t merely want to kill Aidan; she wants to replace him, inhabit his body. Aidan begins to have night sweats and hallucinations after a teenaged boy dies showing all the grisly signs of having seen the film, and it isn’t long until Rachel is tracking down the “true” story behind Samara’s death.
(For those who don’t know, one of the reasons Rachel and Aidan survived the first film was by telling Samara’s story, passing the tape along to others, rather than keeping it to themselves.)
Aidan is hospitalized when his body temperature drops suddenly, and while he’s struggling with consciousness something dead moves into his body. 
Rachel meanwhile has found Evelyn and is struggling with her motherly advice on the problem of demonic possession. Of the three mother archetypes presented in the film – Evelyn, Samara’s adopted mother, and Rachel – only Rachel seems to understand the supernatural power she holds over her child. Evelyn wanted to kill her daughter because she saw what was in her, and Samara’s adopted mother didn’t have the courage to do what she felt was necessary in a proper way, but Rachel faces the challenge of the situation and performs the proper burial ritual for the girl, by literally putting herself in the tomb with her. 
On one level the movie confronts right-to-life issues articulated in debates over abortion, postpartum depression or even the Terry Schiavo case. These mothers feel they have a duty and right to end their children’s lives. The well where Samara spent her final seven days is a deadly second womb, and the abortive efforts to bury her correctly have led to a being that represents the ambiguity both of motherhood and of life.
When Rachel asks Evelyn why this is happening to she and Aidan, how she has failed as a mother, Evelyn answers, “You let the dead get in.”  But it’s really Evelyn’s sin that Rachel is paying for, the original mother’s inability to determine where life and death exist in the child. 
The Ring Two is murky and sometimes difficult to decipher, but it’s a great trip for those who enjoy sightseeing with the dead.

 

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