Rachel Keller is a journalist investigating a videotape that may have killed four teenagers (including her niece). There is an urban legend about this tape: the viewer will die seven days after watching it. If the legend is correct, Rachel will have to run against time to save her son's and her own life. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The "Moesko Island Lighthouse" is a fictional name for a real lighthouse located in Newport, Oregon. Built in 1873, the real lighthouse is named Yaquina Head Lighthouse and is still currently an active aid to navigation. It is reputed to be haunted by the ghost of a past keeper. See more »
When Rachel is searching the Internet for information, the address in the browser points to a file stored on the desktop of a Windows 98 machine. C:\WIN98\Desktop\....etc... See more »
I hate television. Gives me headaches. You know, I heard there's so many magnetic waves traveling through the air, because of TV and telephones, that we're losing, like, ten times as many brain cells as we're supposed to. Like, all the molecules in our heads are all unstable. All the companies know about it, but they're not doing anything about it. It's, like, a big conspiracy.
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scary, thoughtful and satisfying which is fine with me
These last years, apart from the rendering of popular comic strips and
the adaptation of TV series for the big screen, American cinema feels a
vivacious interest for Oriental culture, especially the Japanese one.
Quentin Tarantino's violent and hollow "Kill Bill" (2003/2004) was
supposed to be an homage to the samurai movie (but I'm not a Tarantino
buff by a long shot). In the derivative "the Last Samurai" (2003), Tom
Cruise discovered the secrets and treasures of Japanese civilization
while Sofia Coppola used the city of Tokyo as the backdrop for her
triumphant "Lost in Translation" (2003). Gore Verbinski chose a more
direct and easy way to get interested in Japanese culture: to make a
remake of a Japanese movie which became a sleeper: "Ringu" (1998).
Against all odds, he made a killing with it although he's an uneven
director. "Mousehunt" (1997) was a formulaic but enjoyable comedy but
"the Mexican" (2001) was a lame movie. Some friends had told me: "don't
watch "the Ring", it's a hokey movie". I think they misjudged it and I
found this supernatural thriller quite intriguing and gripping. It has
enough commendable stuff in store to grab the audience. I haven't seen
the original movie and so I will avoid any comparison.
The starting point promises great things and Verbinski will deliver
them throughout his flick. The main character, Rachel wants to
investigate about a mysterious and cursed videotape which causes the
death of the viewer seven days after the latter watched it. What do
these outlandish and eerie images mean? What lies beneath them? At her
own risk, she and her son watch the video. She has one week to find out
the meaning and the omen of the video. "The Ring" could well illustrate
this famous premise: "to understand evil, we've got to go back to the
What distinguishes "the Ring" from other horror stuff of these last
years is that there's a solid scenario which holds water until the very
last minutes of Rachel's adventure and shelves quite an important
number of formulaic ingredients. Special effects which have seemed to
become the backbone for many horror flicks are used only when necessary
and without flashy effects. Still better, Verbinski shows respect for
the audience by clarifying as much as possible obscure points of the
story. On an unhurried pace, Verbinski takes all his time to film
Rachel's investigation. His directing is also worth the price of
admission. It is well-crafted and set with clockwork precision for the
schedule of spooky moments. Besides, what is notable in "the Ring" is
that Verbinski delays as much as possible chilling sequences to better
play with the viewer's nerves. This entails an unsettling aura which
helps to convey a latent tension. Lighting and makeup shouldn't also be
The thrust of "the Ring" isn't only to entertain and to make shiver. It
is also doubled by a reflexion on the power of the image. One of the
images of the film depicts a woman in front of a mirror looking at the
camera. So, she's also looking at the viewer. This is unhealthy
voyeurism that the movie denounces like the insensible media which
expose to the mainstream, woes and sorrows of the victims and so
manipulate the viewers' fears. The sequence during which Ann Morgan's
husband is incensed by Rachel's will to learn more about Samara rings
thoroughly true. Moreover, these seemingly maladjusted images embody
symbols: the chair and the lighthouse illustrate loneliness, the figure
at the window (a hint at "Psycho"?, 1960) might symbolize parental
That said, Verbinski's genteel piece of work isn't exempted of
drawbacks. Rachel's little boy is a cardboard character, a vague cousin
of Haley Joel Osment in "the Sixth Sense" (1999). When Samara gets out
of the well and the screen to kill Rachel's companion, it's nearly
Punch and Judy and the first sequence with the two female students in
their twenties something, all alone in a house in which strange
phenomena and false alarms occur... well, you get the picture. But
they're minor quibble and don't overflow too much on the thrill of the
I repeat it: I haven't seen the Japanese ambassador but when a remake
is able both to scare with reserve, without flashy special effects and
to make the viewer think about what he watches, it can be gratifying.
And in the case of "the Ring", rightly so...
A sequel "the Ring 2" opened last year. Is it worthwhile?
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