Hustled out the same year as the wildly successful Ringu, Rasen was only the first attempt at a follow-up sequel. It picks up where the original left off, focusing on the investigation into the bizarre deaths we thought we had figured out in the original. Surprise: There's no ghost or spirit, really. It's all a virus that makes you see terrible things before you die. (Never mind that you can avoid getting whacked if you show a videotape to someone else.)
There's more to it, and Rasen is content to focus on pseudo-scientific jibberish in an earnest, yet wholly unsuccessful, attempt to explain away all the metaphysical goings-on as being rooted in science. Sounds fishy, and audiences didn't like the idea either. Rasen bombed, and believe it or not, the studio rushed out Ringu 2 the same year (total count: 3 movies), a film which pretends that Rasen never existed. Probably not a bad move.
Rasen isn't an awful movie, but it's hardly a good one. Most of the film takes place in the lab and under the microscope, and the creepy mystery of Ringu is all but gone in this clinical sequel. The difference is like Maxim vs. Scientific American. You just can't follow up one with the other.
You can get the entire Ringu set of four films in a single box set, "Anthology of Terror."
Ak Ring 2: Spiral.
Run time: 97 mins
In Theaters: Saturday 31st January 1998
Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5
IMDB: 5.4 / 10
Director: Jôji Iida
Screenwriter: Jôji Iida
Starring: Koichi Sato as Mitsuo Ando, Miki Nakatani as Mai Takano, Hinako Saeki as Sadako Yamamura, Shingo Tsurumi as Miyashita, Shigemitsu Ogi as Maekawa Keibuho, Yutaka Matsushige as Yoshino, Daisuke Ban as Heihachirô Ikuma, Naoaki Manabe as Kobayashi, Naoto Adachi as Funakoshi, Eri Kakurai as Rieko Andô, Ryûichi Sugahara as Takanori Andô, Masanobu Yada as Junsa Buchô, Ryûma Uchida as Kansatsui Joshu, Chû Takatsuki as Kirokui, Kôzô Satô as Shashin Gakari, Tomohiro Okada as Kaibô Joshu, Suguru Kamioki as Kaibô Joshu, Yoshiyuki Tanno as Keikan, Hiroyuki Sanada as Ryûji Takayama, Hiroshi Shimizu as Keikan