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I must say that I consider myself to be a lover of horror, but much too often, sex and gore is subsituted for real horror and you don't get that feeling of genuine fear in the pit of your stomach. Not so with "The Ring". Never have I seen a film that has affected me so. The images seem to tug at your subconscious, at the dark things we keep inside. I haven't been able to close my eyes without replaying bits of the film behind my eyelids. I have slept with the light on since I've seen it, and we can't stop talking about it. Hands down, it was the best, the scariest, the creepiest, and the most intense horror film ever. The audience in the theater all gripped their armrests, breathed heavily and felt everything the characters were experiencing. It was excellent! But beware.... don't expect to leave "The Ring" in the movie theater, it will certainly be with you for a long time.
This movie makes you realize why so many other movies fail to be
scary...not enough psychological elements. What this movie does right
is that it skips the gore, and blood, and over-the-top overacting
crazed lunatics that seem the norm in horror movies.
I saw this with a friend in the theater and 10 minutes in we were sinking into our chairs with fear. Not even the annoying teens making their phones ring to scare their friends (when you see the movie you will understand why) were a powerful enough distraction to undo the terror we felt.
Definitely see it, make sure you have as big a TV as you can get your hands on when you rent it, and that you watch it at night in the dark...if you want the full effect. Also, make sure you rent it on DVD and NOT cassette...you know, just to be safe ;)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I know there will be some misguided souls who stumble into a
showing of THE RING believing that it's either a film of Richard
Wagner's famous operatic cycle, or has something to do with
Hobbits. Needless to say, they will be in for a surprise.
Gore Verbinski's THE RING, based on an extremely popular Japanese film and novel, is a creepy and disturbing thriller that may do for VCRs what JAWS did for the ocean. After watching a recent sneak preview, I couldn't help but imagine people all across the nation going home and throwing out their videocassettes and players, in fear that they might accidentally watch the tape that's at the center of this movie.
The fast-paced suspense film begins in Seattle with an urban legend-type set up: two high school girls - Katie and Becca - are alone in Katie's home at night. Conversation turns to a videotape that has a horrifying effect. Moments after you watch it, the phone rings, and a voice tells you, "Seven days." And exactly a week later, you die. Katie reveals to her friend that she watched that tape at a cabin in the woods, seven days before. In a brilliantly edited sequence that is sure to make you drop your popcorn, Katie meets her fate, and we learn that the tale of the tape is no mere kids' story.
Katie's aunt, a newspaper reporter named Rachel (Naomi Watts), is asked by her sister Ruth (Lindsay Frost) to investigate the death, and she soon finds herself drawn into a world that's as dark and claustrophobic as the grave. Pulled in with her are former boyfriend Noah (Martin Henderson), and their son Aidan (David Dorfman).
We see the tape in question early on, and at first it appears to be just a random series of weird images - a ring of light that looks like a solar eclipse, dead horses floating in water, a woman leaping from a cliff, a fly buzzing, a stone wall that encloses a well - playing out like a home movie made by David Lynch and Luis Buñuel. As the film progresses, however, we learn that the eerie black-and-white vignettes are clues to who made the tape and why. I'd hate to give away too much, so I'll just say that the answer takes Noah and Rachel to an island where a horse breeder (marvelously played by Brian Cox, the original and best Hannibal Lecter) seems to be hiding a secret that's by turns sad, and horrifying.
The acting in THE RING is fabulous throughout, with the actors stretching well beyond the caricatures all-too-often found in horror films and creating realistic, intriguing people. I've met and interviewed Naomi, and yes, she really is that beautiful and charming in person, and here she proves once again that she's an outstanding actress. Martin Henderson, another actor from Down Under, is perfect as a videographer turned reluctant action hero, and young David Dorfman and Daveigh Chase are scary-good. Amber Tamblyn (daughter of multitalented actor/singer/dancer Russ Tamblyn) and the engaging Rachael Bella do a wonderful job of starting the movie off with a scream, Lindsay Frost shines in a small but important role, and Jane Alexander (an actor's actor) is fun to watch as a doctor who knows more than she wants to. The direction is crisp, stylish, and sure-handed (hard to believe that this is the same guy who helmed MOUSE TRAP and THE MEXICAN). Even the lighting and sound are beautifully worked out; those elements make a sequence with a horse on a ferry especially chilling. Hans Zimmer's soundtrack hits all the right notes, and the screenplay is smart, original, and pulls no punches. It's worth noting that unlike most modern horror films, you won't see people terrorized with knives or other conventional weapons, and there's very little actual gore. What you do see, however, as well as what's implied, may give you the worst case of the creeps you've ever had. I'm sure that some purists who've seen the original Japanese film (which spawned sequels and a TV series) will pick apart this version, but, for my money, this is one case where the remake of a foreign film can stand on its own merits.
If you love being scared, grab a hold of Verbinski's THE RING and hang on for the ride of your life.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'm just as much a fan of gory, splatterhouse exploitation films as the
sicko, but when it comes to generating a chill down the spine, there is
something to be said for being as terse as possible with onscreen
This is one of the chief reasons why The Ring--a film with a PG-13
rating--is so successful in its ability to leave an audience with
The film is a remake of the 1998 Japanese film Ringu, itself widely considered a terrifying piece of cinema, and aside from a subplot about horses, the American version is very faithful to the original.
Now, being that The Ring is a remake, one may be tempted to dismiss the power of the story and script as unoriginal. But as other films have demonstrated time and time again, a remake, no matter how good the source material, can just as easily fall flat on its face ("The Haunting", "Psycho", etc.). So it's a joy to see that this remake stands out as one of the better films of the year despite emerging from the shadow of a great and recent original.
The Ring follows journalist Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) as she investigates the mysterious death of her niece (revealed in the gripping opening sequence). At the wake for her niece, she overhears some friends discussing the videotape that the niece and her boyfriend watched the week before their death. Given their cryptic description of the tape and the fact that the boyfriend died across town at the same time as the niece, Keller decides to track down the tape for herself and watch it for clues.
She then begins to experience a number of strange coincidences, as she sees objects from the video appear in her every day life. When her friend and son watch the video as well and begin to see similar objects, she begins to realize that the stories about the tape may be real. She is then led to a small island off the coast to search for an answer on where the tape came from and why it has the effect that it does.
Whomever it was that composed the actual videotape for this film (and the audience does get to see the whole thing) clearly did a great deal of research on disturbing imagery. It's grainy, monochromatic and at times bordering on silly, but by the time it is shown you have become immersed in the story and it works; the images truly get under your skin.
For fans of subtle, atmospheric and extremely creepy movies, especially around this time of year, The Ring is a dead-on success. The brilliantly understated story moves swiftly, is told beautifully, and enough questions are left unanswered to maximize the mystery of it all, yet not so many that the plot is left full of holes. The music is sparse and atmospheric, and the images are beautifully shot and edited, with great use of filters and composites to give the appropriate washed out looks where necessary. The effects, used minimally, are flawless and very creepy without seeming garish or overbearing.
As with classics like The Changeling and 1963's The Haunting, The Ring is a perfect example of how you can still muster a scare from a jaded populace without resorting to cheap jolts and gore. More Blair Witch Project than Sleepaway Camp, and thus far more impressive than most recent attempts at terror. Now if I could just stop hiding from my television...
Before I saw The Ring, I used to think of horror movies as something
about a supernatural (sometimes not supernatural) force that gobbles up
people in bizarre series of deaths usually accompanied by blood and
gore. Maybe I ought to blame it on my own selection of movies. But I
realized that horror movies can have a deep and a decent story line
after seeing The Ring.
The Ring is an adaptation of the Japanese movie Ringu. Ringu is a well respected horror movie. Rather than call The Ring as an adaptation I would prefer calling it as an improvisation of Ringu. For I have seen both movies and in my personal opinion the producers of The Ring have made the story a bit deeper and of course with the music and special effects scarier.
A particular thing worth mentioning is the work done by the child actor David Dorfman (playing the role of Aidan). My personal opinion is that he has done a very good job. And Ehren Kruger, in his script for the movie has given a major role to Aidan as opposed to lesser important role given to Aidan's Japanese counterpart.
Full credit to the Ring's makers for a very fine adaptation of the original Ringu. And yes, a small word of advice for those who have not seen the real Daveigh Chase (playing Samara). After seeing this movie, do look up on the net for a picture of hers and make the comparison! And do try and watch Ringu as well. A very respectable movie indeed.
A good story, nice scares, decent acting and smooth direction! Enjoy the movie!
I first watched this movie with a couple of friends. To be honest, I
was expecting a teenage, slasher flick, I was proved wrong.
The film circles around a cursed videotape that causes it's viewers to die in seven days. Investigative journalist, Rachel Keller, begins to uncover the secrets of the videotape, and must race against the clock to save herself.
The movie was very unsettling and disturbing, which worked more effectively than some teens getting slashed with axes. The videotape was nightmarish and disturbing, and the images will stay with you long after the movie. The setting was gloomy and atmospheric, which enhanced the mood. Naomi Watts portrayed Rachel perfectly, her emotions are believable and haunting.
So if you are looking for a horror flick to watch on Friday night, be sure to watch The Ring, just make sure to watch it at night with the lights off.
The Ring did three things no film of late has done. It took the genre
of Horror seriously without going over the top. It is derived from a
superior story and translated to American film superbly, regardless of
what the naysayers say. And, while it starts off typically, it ascends
into a beautiful, darkling, twisted, genuinely creepy story, which
holds you through to the end.
Gore Verbinski's style is unmistakable. He has left this work well marked with his stylistic shots, and suspenseful progression.
Actually, I found this far superior to most horrors done in the last thirty years or so. A lot has been said about Ringu, the work from which this was adapted for American cinema, and inevitable subsequent comparisons made, however, that is certainly NOT the case. That argument is moot, as this work was based on the novel, "The Ring" by Koji Suzuki, so if you want something to which an honest comparison may be made, I would suggest you read the book, and leave Ringu where it belongs. Personally, I found the American adaptation much more to my liking than Ringu.
This is one twisted little creep-fest! It rates an 8.7/10 from...
the Fiend :.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
My husband took me to see this film and when he said it was a horror I was
expecting to sit through another of his kind of horror films i.e.stupid
teenagers with lots of gratuitous blood, guts and violence thrown
I was fortunately very mistaken! I have not seen the original "Ringu",
everyone keeps harping on about, but I am glad I saw this first as it is
good not to have anything to compare it to. Taken by itself, I think it is
fantastic film. It's not everyone's cup of tea and the usual horror fans
think it slow, incomprehensible or just plain unscary. However, I loved
mystery and weirdness of it.
It begins a bit like your typical American nonsense with two teenage girls chatting and the conversation coming around to a videotape that is supposed to kill people that watch it. My first thought was: how "urban legend"ish and ridiculous!! However, as the film went on, it clearly had a darker, more powerful and very much more thought provoking aspect. The images on the videotape itself are so "nightmarish", in that disjointed and freaky way that real nightmares can be. They really got under my skin anyway and I actually came to believe in the power the tape had to kill. You wonder how on earth Rachel is going to escape the same fate as the others and I felt real horror and despair on her discovery that Aidan has also watched the tape.
One thing that I think really robs horror films of their ultimate "horror" value is when you come to the explanation/discovery of what's behind it all at the end. I thought the film had let itself down with a typical, rationalised ending. I was very pleasantly surprised with the horrifying twist that developed and I loved the eerie "non-ending" ending - it left me really freaked out and actually believing that the whole thing might be real after all. It is wonderful, psychologically terrifying stuff and I defy anyone to watch it and forget it - I am still thinking about it and giving myself the shivers months later! I won't give any film 10/10, as this is the ultimate and I am always challenging for there to be an even better film out there (this film does exist and is Ringu if everyone else's comments are anything to go by). I give it a superior "must see" 9/10.
A one line review of this film would simple be `The Ring does what most
scary films promise, but never deliver'. That should be enough for any scare
enthusiast to justify the price of the ticket, and for the most part no one
will be disappointed. I say `for the most part' because it is tough to
define what is scary for everyone, and I don't deny that this film may not
scare many people as easily as others. It must be said however that this
film is probably one of the more successful scare flicks, in the spirit of
movies like The Exorcist'.
Well crafted, extremely well developed and perfectly executed this remake of the 1998 Japanese Horror film Ringu' is one movie to fit into your top 10 scare flicks. Disturbing from start to end the film quite effectively leaves you writhing in your seat, grasping a loved one until its gripping conclusion without a single piece of gore at all. An art often lost on modern films and obviously inspired by the original (I have not seen the original), the subtle approach to making these kinds of films is delivered to the screen close to an eerie perfection.
The Ring is about a tape, a tape that features some rather disturbing yet very `student film' like snapshots of what can only be described as someone's nightmare. The problem is when the tape concludes, the phone rings and a voice tells you that you will die in exactly seven days. When four teenagers die, simultaneously at 10pm exactly seven days after secretly staying at a secluded cabin a reporter named Rachel, who was the mother of a boy named Aidan, who was a cousin to one of the girls decides to investigate. Partially motivated by the will of the dead girls parents to find an answer as to how their daughter's heart simply stopped, Rachel successfully finds the tape the group watched. Unfortunately for her, she watches it and to her horror she receives a phone call, she now has seven days to solve the puzzle or end up like the others. What follows is an exposition mystery about the chilling origins of the tape, and the power behind the sudden death of each viewer.
Notably, there is nothing terribly exceptional about the acting in this film, it is by no means truly award worthy. It is however extremely well suited to the film and very well executed. Naomi Watts as Rachel holds up very well as the centrepiece of the film and remains a constant link to the audience making the drama more real. Martin Hendersen as the X-Husband Noah was quite well played and David Dorfman as Aidan was not only well cast, but will most likely go on to be apart of many more films that involve a child like this (very much like the Sixth Sense).
The most notable part of this film is its visual and auditory construction, which is responsible for creating most of the tension and scares in the film. There is a great deal in the sound design that will go unnoticed by the average movie-goer, but it features some very subtle sound ranging from scratching to moans and groans and a few other twisted noises. These are woven into the films music to create a deep sense of abnormality during the films more freaky moments and mood sequences.
The visual aspects of the film are close to perfect, a delightful blend of colour that looks digitally graded as opposed to filtered. A strong cold blue dominated throughout the entire film, very rarely mixed with any warmth at all, with the exception of a few scenes. The autumn colours are used quite sharply in contrast to the cold to create another level of abnormality that accompanies the sound design and makes certain aspects of the film standout quite deliberately. From there the camera captures the direction on screen perfectly and with some very well paced editing you end up with a visual treat as much as a formidable film. Much of the story is told with the camera and most of the stories best moments come from effective use of visuals.
I am afraid now that I can't go on without spoiling the film, except to say that the climax is one of the more simplistic yet terrifying moments I have had in a cinema. To watch the packed audience all twist in their seats, gasp and groan in a sort of painful anxiety while the events unfolded on screen was just as much of a treat as the film. This film should scare or at least in the best part disturb you, but I am not promising anything as there have been the odd one or two who claim they found nothing frightening in it at all. Still, scary or not, it is one of the better made Hollywood horror films and more importantly it does not stick to the Hollywood formula not does it give us a Hollywood ending.
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 sources...".
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 forgotten.
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 severity.
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 vision.
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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