The Ring
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FAQ for
The Ring (2002) More at IMDbPro »

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A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for The Ring can be found here.

What is "The Ring" about?

The Ring tells the story of a cursed videotape. Anyone who watches it will receive a phone call just seconds after the tape ends, with the caller on the other end saying, "Seven days." After Aidan Keller (David Dorfman) loses his cousin Katie (Amber Tamblyn) to the curse, his mother Rachel (Naomi Watts), an investigative reporter, tries to find the cause of Katie's death and the source of the tape.

Yes. The Ring is an American remake of the 1998 Japanese horror film, Ringu (aka Ring), which was based on Ring, a 1991 horror novel by Japanese writer Kji Suzuki. It is the first novel in the four book Ring series, followed by Spiral (Japanese: Rasen) (1995), Loop (Japanese: Rupu) (1998), and The Birthday (1999). There are also a series of mangas based on the Ring series. The screenplay for The Ring, the American-made movie, was co-written by Kji Suzuki and American screenwriter Ehren Kruger. It was followed by a sequel, The Ring Two in 2005.

What does the title mean?

This is a more complex question than it might first appear. In the US remake, 'the ring' seems to refers to the ring of light that can be seen from the bottom of the covered well. This image, however, is not the reason for the title of the book or the Japanese Ringu films. Here is a quote taken from an interview with Suzuki Koji, writer of the book:


"...when I was writing the Ring I got about halfway through and I hadn't thought of a title yet. I happened to be thumbing through an English-Japanese dictionary when I decided it was about time to decide on something. And then the word "ring" passed my eye. I had the strong feeling that it would fit. "Ring" is usually used as a noun, isn't it? But there is also a verb usage of ring, meaning "to call someone," or "to call out," such as an alarm clock or phone ringing. I liked this. And so from the beginning I didn't exactly use the name Ring in the circular sense. But since I gave it that title, a lot of circular things have shown up in the story. The spiral, the DNA double helix, the loop, and so on. I guess it's a good thing I chose that title."

Seven. Katie, her boyfriend, and two other friends are the first to watch the tape. Seven days later at 10:00PM, all four of them die. Rachel finds the tape that got left in the cabin, watches it, takes it home, and shows it to Noah Clay (Martin Henderson), the father of young Aidan. Several days later, Rachel finds Aidan watching the tape because he couldn't fall asleep.

Who or what killed Katie?

The official cause of death given by Katie's doctor is that of a heart attack. After telling her friend Becca (Rachael Bella) about the tape that she and her boyfriend watched in the cabin at Shelter Mountain Inn, Katie went upstairs, opened the door to her bedroom, saw that the killer tape was playing on her TV, screamed, and apparently suffered a heart attack. Although no killer is shown, it is assumed that Katie was either killed by or frightened to death by Samara Morgan (Daveigh Chase), as evidenced by the water on the floor and dripping from the doorknob. Whatever scared Katie to death was so horrific that Becca, who witnessed the event, had to be incarcerated in a mental hospital.

The movie doesn't fully detail Samara's backstory. It is given that Samara was a long-awaited-for child of a childless couple, Anna (Shannon Cochran) and Richard (Brian Cox) Morgan, and that she possessed the ability of nensha, also known as projected thermography or the ability to imprint her thought images like photographs onto specific surfaces. Her unusual ability, coupled with the fact that she never sleeps, eventually resulted in the townspeople of Moesko Island, including her own parents, feeling very uneasy around her. The more Samara felt alienated by the townspeople, the more she used her powers (another "ring"). Anna finally snapped, suffocated her daughter, and threw her into a well. Years later, Shelter Mountain Inn, specifically Cabin 12, was built over the well. When Katie and her friends stayed at the cabin, they tried to record a football match. Since the reception is very poor up in the mountains, however, nothing actually recorded on their tape. Seizing her chance, Samara (whose remains and spirit were trapped in the well beneath the cabin) used her powers to imprint various images onto the tape. She also incorporated a curse: either copy the tape and pass it on or suffer your own death in seven days.

Rachel concludes that they were given a week to live because that's how long Samara probably survived after being thrown down the well.

Yes. About 35-40 minutes into the movie, Rachel's leads take her to Shelter Mountain Inn, where Katie and some of her friends stayed in Cabin 12 and watched the videotape. Rachel rents the same cabin and watches the tape. It's a short set of random images, some ordinary and some disturbing, e.g., faces, furniture, trees, bugs, fire, etc., all preceded and followed by static snow.

No. However, in a short clip of what looks like deleted scenes, the video is shown sitting on a shelf in a video rental store.

How does the movie end?

Rachel and Noah locate the well under Cabin 12. As they're trying to determine how deep it goes, Rachel falls into the well, landing in waist-deep water. While Noah goes to get help, a hand grabs Rachel's arm and she has a vision of Anna Morgan suffocating Samara with a black plastic bag and tossing her into the well. Rachel pulls Samara's dead body from the water and cradles it in her arms as Samara's face decomposes before her eyes. After Rachel and Samara have been pulled from the well and promised by the police that Samara will be given a proper burial, Rachel and Noah go home to Aidan, secure in the knowledge that they have freed Samara, a lonely little girl who, as Rachel puts it, "just wanted to be heard." The next morning, Rachel tells Aidan how they freed Samara from the dark place, but Aidan becomes disturbed. "You weren't supposed to help her," he says. "She never sleeps." Meanwhile, Noah has returned to his studio and is studying some photographs. Suddenly, his television turns on, showing the picture of the well. Samara can be seen slowly crawling out of the well and walking towards Noah. When she reaches the screen, she continues to crawl right out of the TV set. Noah tries to run but falls into a freestanding shelf as Samara advances on him. A bit later, Rachel arrives at Noah's studio, after trying unsuccessfully to reach him on the phone. She finds Noah seated in a chair, dead. Rachel races back home and tosses the tape into the fire while screaming, "Why not me? What did I do that he didn't?" Suddenly, she remembers that she made a copy of the tape and Aidan watched it. In the final scene, Rachel is making a copy of the tape for Aidan, and Aidan asks what will happen to the person that they show it to. The screen then turns to static.

People who have seen The Ring sometimes liken the movie to Poltergeist (1982) which also features ghosts haunting a family through their television set. The Sixth Sense (1999) features a young boy who sees ghosts, while in The Changeling (1980), the ghost is a young child. Also recommended are The Grudge movies -- The Grudge (2004), The Grudge 2 (2006), and The Grudge 3 (2009) -- three Japanese -American movies that also are concerned with a curse that keeps cycling through anyone who comes in contact with it. In The Ruins (2008), a group of tourists are held captive in the ruins of a Mayan temple that also houses man-eating vines. Likewise, in Stephen King's The Mist (2007), a group of people are forced to take cover in a supermarket when their town is invaded by a strange mist that brings with it some otherworldly, blood-thirsty creatures.

Page last updated by bj_kuehl, 4 months ago
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