Deadly video tapes and the creepy long-haired girl crawling out of wells and televisions return for the sequel to the 2002 hit horror film. The sequel continues to follow Rachel (Naomi Watts) and her son Aiden (David Dorfman). They've left behind the horrors of the original film and started a new life in a small town. Rachel is a journalist at a small newspaper when she hears of a gruesome death of a teenager and a flooded house. Investigating the death, she sees the same deformed face she found on her niece and her son's father.
Feeling guilty, Aidan has visions of Samara continuing to stalk him. Rachel tries to dispose of the evidence and move on with her life but she can't help but notice the strange behavior of her son. Animals continue to act weird like the horses in the first one but this time deer outright attack them, one of the more exhilarating scenes of the film. The horror in this film comes from Samara popping up repeatedly as she attempts to take over Aidan's body and received motherly love from Rachel.
As the strange occurrences grow more extreme, Rachel confides in her boss Max Rourke (Simon Baker), who is skeptical of her statements and believes she has mental issues. Rachel leaves her son and explores the history of Samara and her origins. She discovers that the source of Samara's power is the mysterious circumstances surrounding her mother Evelyn (Sissy Spacek). It's hinted that there have been other people who have sought out the mental patient for answers and a bigger universe for The Ring series.
Samara's powers grow stronger when she has Aidan's body and can murder people who haven't even seen the video. The logic of The Ring was already a bit confusing but with further exploration in a sequel, it becomes harder to maintain the rules in any sort of logical sense. The second film does not match the atmospheric terror and mystery of the first though Hideo Nakata, the director of the original Japanese version, tries his best to add some scares.
This sequel pretty much ended the series for over a decade. The film wraps up the story of Rachel and Aidan but Samara would stick around in people's memories for some time to eventually inspire a sequel in this age of rehashes. The Ring introduced a new kind of horror and sparked the adaptation of Japanese horror but couldn't maintain the thrills of the first one to keep the story going for much longer.