3 June 2015 | totalovrdose
Although Satisfyingly Creepy, Sadako 2's Directionality and Peculiarity may Leave some Audiences Perplexed
The opening of Sadako 2 is certainly memorable. Silence fills the scene, before an explosion of noise shocks the viewer, the proceeding ambiance being as splendid as it is morbid, the scene concluding with an unexpected deliverance of terror during a moment that is often affiliated with beauty. Although many of the visuals, including a beach side setting, a peculiar basement facility, a spiral staircase and a stadium are exceptionally beautiful, and the effects are just as lavish in their execution, it is the sound that is especially powerful. The themes by Kenji Kawai offers a sense of ancientness and modernity, mystery and suspense, while the sounds of the environment, and those from the ghostly and monstrous aspirations, really accentuate the terror into life, and is of beneficial assistance during the well directed jump scares.
Despite their articulation, the scares infrequently appear traditional for a Ringu film, and despite their uniqueness in this particular franchise, viewers would have previously witnessed similar instances in other films, Case 31 and Boogeyman 3 being very obvious comparisons.
Despite the original Sadako being rumored to be the last in the Ringu franchise, clearly, much like with other series', producers, writers and directors alike don't enjoy bringing an end to something that still contains some semblance of life. For those of us who have seen Ringu 0 and Ringu 2, we know Sadako is a character who is equally deserving of our sympathy, as well as our fear, though, much like its predecessor, Sadako 2 paints our favorite long haired specter as an antagonist only, refusing to provide new audiences with the opportunity to see Sadako in her entirety. This leads to my next point - Sadako herself. Although characters occasionally talk about her, the screen time that Sadako is provided could be measured in seconds, rather than minutes, the primary focus of the feature being the child that she is believed to have brought into our world.
Miori Takimoto portrays Fuko (I wouldn't be surprised if, when translated, Fuko means gorgeous in Japanese, because Ms. Takimoto is a dreamboat on the ocean of purest beauty), a young woman whose charge is her niece, Nagi (Kokoro Hirasawa), a four year old girl who appears as cute as she is creepy. The daughter of Akane (Satomi Ishihara - whose role is unfortunately miniscule) and Fuko's brother, Takanori (Koji Seto), both of whom were the protagonists of the last feature, Akane's bizarre disappearance after Nagi's birth, and Takanori's absence, which is guaranteed not to win him any awards at the father of the year ceremony, leave Fuko alone in a situation that gradually becomes more dangerous.
Wherever Nagi goes, strange and violent deaths occur, an obvious question being, is Nagi responsible, or is she just a conduit for another character's rage? Although some of the deaths could be attributed to vengeance, others appear to be randomly selected, and without any obvious incentive or motivational cause, the unjustifiable slaughter seems to make little sense. Investigating these obscure deaths is metropolitan police detective Kakiuchi (Takeshi Onishi), who appears to be sheltering ulterior motives, while characters from the previous Sadako, including former detective Koiso (Ryosei Tayama) and the psychopathic Kiyoshi (Yusuke Yamamoto) provide support to some of the new cast members.
Although Fuko's heart is in the right place, on several occasions her character appears ignorant, in that she is provided instructional advice, yet does the opposite of what she is told, which can lead to predictable consequences. Towards the end, the film becomes alarmingly quick - it seems we are only in the middle of the story when the climax is thrust upon us without warning or explanation. Moreover, as the feature continues, some of the scenes defy rational explanation, this, coupled with the unanswered questions at the film's conclusion, will inevitably force audiences to, on more than one occasion, suspend their disbelief. Besides this, the contradictory storyline, which could be perceived as being deliberately orchestrated to provide audiences with multiple twists and turns, is neither well developed or intellectually surprising, viewers often being led to believe one thing, then another, then another, to the point it appears even the film's developers were uncertain of the directionality they wanted the plot to take, this continuing all the way to the film's anti-climatic finish.
Despite this, the themes, which include family, suicide and abandonment are well conceived, while the acting is professionally delivered, one scene in particular being emotionally beautiful. Although Sadako 2 is far creepier than its predecessor, some of the film's disturbing moments being sure to impact the audience, the storyline and imagery, that occasionally appears illogical, while adjunctively resembling certain fairy tales, may cause audiences to wonder what hallucinogenic substance Sadako has been smoking in that well of hers.