This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Randal Silvey’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
The original Ring sequel. Based on 2nd book in the series & picks up immediately after the first film. Different screenwriter & director but same production team and, mind-blowingly, released THE SAME DAY as Ring. That's ballsy. Ring was huge, this flopped, a year later they released Ring 2 which ignores this film.
This film has some wild ideas. SLIGHT SPOILERS.
Sadako is kind of a sex demon, the curse is scientifically explored/explained as a physical virus that spreads optically, more randos with psychic abilities, artificial insemination with both scientific & supernatural elements... There is a lot going on, some of it is interesting, some of it is bullshit, most of it is smashed into the final act of the film. Most of the film is a slow burn drama that lacks the tension or creepiness of the first film. Despite being more drama than horror it also lacks the melancholic tone I appreciated so much about Ring.
There are some good moments and some of the out-there ideas it explores are interesting. I could see how the story would work well in novel form. As a sequel film, though, it feels like an Exorcist 2 kind of follow up. Forget everything that made the first film work, it's got it's own ideas to explore. I'm sure this is due in part to being produced (I'm assuming) at the same time & sticking to the source material.
Ultimately, it's not an effective horror film and not nearly as engaging as Ring. I'm not wild about how Sadako is portrayed or where the plot goes. I do appreciate the implications of what the end sets up even if the series ignores it going forward. If you enjoy the film series it's worth a watch but it's not a great film.