The Ring (2002) Poster

(2002)

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A Big Scare
hlakey7915 October 2002
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.
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10/10
Great!
rafajs7717 August 2006
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 ;)
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9/10
disturbing, unsettling and downright creepy.
monsoon_1124 December 2008
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.
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A return to true horror!
ptwomey21 November 2002
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.
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10/10
Horror with Depth!
KillerLord1 February 2007
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!
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As good as the original, and better than most
superfett18 October 2002
Warning: Spoilers
I'm just as much a fan of gory, splatterhouse exploitation films as the next 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 imagery. 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 goosebumps and nightmares.

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...
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Ring it on
scott-39018 October 2002
Warning: 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.
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9/10
Superior, Atmospheric, Twisted Little Creepfest
Elswet15 April 2007
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 :.
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9/10
One Of The Most Horrifying Movies In My Early Teens...
Girish Gowda28 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this movie when I was only 13 and I didn't switch on the TV for 2 weeks after I saw this movie. I cursed my parents for taking me to watch it in the theatres, I was so afraid. After I actually lived for more than 2 weeks, I was feeling better and have watched it and The Ring 2 many times since then. The Ring 2 didn't match expectations. But that is my next review, I will explain in that. The Ring and The Sixth Sense were the movies which played a huge part in making me a fan of the horror genre. Gore Verbinski directs this movie which is a Japanese movie remake. This film and The Grudge spawned all those bad Asian remakes in the coming years.

Anyway, coming to the story, Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) is a journalist in Seattle city. Her sister's daughter died under mysterious circumstances and when she investigates, she finds out about an urban myth according to which a person after seeing a video dies exactly after a week. Her son had predicted his cousin's death before it had actually happened. She also watches the tape and knows that she is going to die within the week. Along with her boyfriend, she tries to find the reason behind the killer video and finds a strange and creepy story behind it. Can she save her son from Samara Morgan (Daveigh Chase), the girl in the video? Will Samara rest in peace?

The beautiful and talented Naomi Watts captures Rachel's motherly instincts perfectly. Rachel is the only person to uncover anything about the video. So far, all the others simply died without knowing anything about Samara and her adopted parents. The son Aidan Keller (David Dorfman) is actually very creepy because his tone is very adult-like. He is no Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense, Artificial Intelligence), but he really made me nervous. The film worked on many levels, mainly because the director does not go over the top with cheesy special effects. The backstory is really coherent and the film is completely sure of itself and that is a major plus of the film. It doesn't have long pauses in the story just to push the running time, as in many horror movies. For adults, the film may not be that scary, but it works as a thriller as well. Brian Cox as Richard Morgan is also very good. The story about the horses is something I had never seen before and it was amazing. When the plot unfolds and we know Samara's story, it is not too difficult to sympathize with her fate. A very satisfying horror movie which will be classic in the future.

9/10
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9/10
Truly terrifying stuff!!
beccabentley5 June 2003
Warning: 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 in. I was fortunately very mistaken! I have not seen the original "Ringu", which 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 a fantastic film. It's not everyone's cup of tea and the usual horror fans may think it slow, incomprehensible or just plain unscary. However, I loved the 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.
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9/10
First class suspense
Dragoneyed3634 May 2008
The Ring, an American remake of the Japanese film "Ringu", is in my honest opinion a spectacular and enthralling film. The writing, directing, performances and replay value are amazing in and of themselves. I especially love the premise, and I will review this movie as it's own film, not a remake. What really makes it wonderful is the incredible performances and suspense. I really love all the actors' and actresses' dedication and believability, there being very memorable deliverances of lines and scenes after the film is over. The suspense is top-notch, because of how well the movie is played out and how creepy and fun the material is, that I was both eyes on the screen every second. Naomi Watts is radiant and brilliant; the scenes where she slowly puts the pieces of the puzzle together, or uncovers something dark and haunting are haunting themself because of how marvelous she makes this material.

Do not get me wrong, the material itself is great, but it would have been nothing were it not for the cast. The characters are all interesting, and the main story is quite saddening and effective when it is slowly revealed through many different aspects. While it seems as though the main threat, a "killer videotape", would be a ridiculous and stupid threat, hard to make convincing, it undoubtedly works to the fullest here and is entirely convincing, the videotape's images and the events themselves all being very interesting and entertaining. While the movie is not a masterpiece, it is not too short from it, having a great replay value and being one of the top 20 most effective horrors of the 00s, in my opinion. I am glad it receives a lot of positive reception, for it deserves every bit of it.
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7/10
scary, thoughtful and satisfying which is fine with me
dbdumonteil2 January 2006
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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7/10
Visually intense creepfest--different purpose than the original
refresh daemon4 February 2008
This film is the American take on the Japanese original and while it absorbs its source material intact, it twists around its formula a bit in order to make it fit its new surroundings. The story is the same: a journalist, after losing her niece to a mysterious circumstance, investigates and discovers a cursed videotape, which gives a viewer only seven days to live.

Like its predecessors, the film doesn't spend that much time on the supernatural elements, but focuses more on the mystery. However, The Ring features a lot more supernatural elements immediately and throughout the film than either previous version, perhaps to make more obvious and visceral the impending doom that faces our protagonist. Visually, The Ring has been injected with a shot of adrenaline, being less the brooding mystery of the original and more immediate and menacing. The color palette is colder than Ringu and the story is also more detached and focused on the ghostly mechanics than the human story, which leads the film to be more recognizably intimidating.

The story itself is a little more mysterious in that the backstory of our villain is rather thin and unexplained. Furthermore, the villain is clearly portrayed as senselessly malevolent; this weakens at least two significant scenes. The ending, I think, is more clever than the previous versions. I like that there is something to the relationship between the protagonist, Rachel, and her ally, Noah, but it still seems a little weak when compared to Ringu--where one line can effortlessly show the development in the relationship.

As far as a horror movie goes, The Ring is a blunt, but nonetheless creepy example. Losing some of the trappings of its predecessors helps simplify the story for faster flow and to create room for more visual creepiness, but also loses some of the complexity that helped the story have more depth. It's more of impressive frightfest than Ringu, but is a little weaker in story resonance. In the end, that makes The Ring just as effective overall: if you want more chills, catch this version. If you want more meat, catch Ringu. Decent entertainment. 7/10.
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A good scary film – but please watch Ringu to see how good it SHOULD be
bob the moo24 November 2002
A rumour is going around about a video tape that may have some sort of killer virus on it. Anyone who watches it dies mysteriously seven days later. Naturally disbelieving the whole nonsense, journalist Rachel Keller decides to investigate further when a relative of hers supposedly views the tape and dies seven days later. She finds the tape and watches it, enlisting the help of video expert Noah to help her uncover where the tape was made. Can she solve the tape's secrets before 7 days are up?

OK. It's important to know where a reviewers bench mark is before you judge where they are coming from. So let me say that I saw Ringu a year back and it really freaked me out. So as you can imagine I came to this half expecting it to be a rubbish remake of a film that I didn't see any need to remake. However it was better than I had feared and probably will stand out as one of the best horror movies of 2003 (when it is released in the UK). The plot has changed slightly from the original but not really to the detriment of the film – it actually helps it be more modern and more believable now that it's in America.

The film's main problem for me was the fact that it went for the `jump scares' rather than `creepy scares' which Ringu had. Here we have more sudden movements where Ringu moved slowly and deliberately. Ring does this well at points too, but for most it will always go for the jump rather than the unnerving creep. However I defy anyone not to get a little creeped out by the remake as well. If I hadn't seen Ringu I know I would have enjoyed this more – but I only kept remembering how well it was done in the first place. For example THAT scene (viewers will know what I mean) is too quick and too jumpy in Ring whereas in Ringu it was slow, deliberate and terrifying in it's sheer unnerving horror. Likewise in ring we see the child'' face a lot more which detracts from the fear of the unknown – in Ringu it was more of the long hair.

The performances are not as good as Ringu in some respects. Watts is very good and is believably scared. Henderson is OK but I wanted a more mature man rather than a surfer-dude type. The support cast were all good, with Brian Cox thrown into the mix. My only pause for concern was Dorfman – why was he allowed to change the character of the boy? In Ringu he was a normal kid, here he comes across like a poor man's Haley Joel Osmond in 6th Sense? His routine took away from the emotional involvement that should have come with the danger he was in – instead he just comes across as difficult. The performance is OK but 1, the change to the character is strange and unnecessary and 2, it just felt a little too like the 6th Sense!

Overall I enjoyed the film and was scared at some points. However too often it went for the jump rather than just being consistently unnerving as Ringu was. Fans of Ringu may dislike this but I think those who haven't seen the original will enjoy this. Word of advice though – go out and find a copy of the original and watch it first, you'll enjoy it a lot more and it'll show you why Hollywood fell over themselves to try and copy it in a more commercial way.
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10/10
Finely crafted, superior film
Brandt Sponseller19 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
After her niece and three of her niece's friends mysteriously die on the same night, at the same time, but in different circumstances, reporter Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts), hears the rumors of a video that when seen, "curses" the viewer so that they die in 7 days. She investigates the phenomenon with the aid of her ex, Noah Clay (Martin Henderson). They end up seeing the video. Can they figure out a solution in time?

For my money, although the Japanese "original" upon which this film is based, Ringu (1998), is worth watching, this Gore Verbinski-directed U.S. version is superior in many ways, having none of the flaws but all of the assets and then some.

I'm going to do something unusual and examine the differences between the two films by detailing just a portion of one scene present in both. I think the examination reveals why the U.S. film is superior. The scene is the tail end of the opening, which results in a death.

Here's how it goes in Ringu: Tomoko Oishi's (Yuko Takeuchi) television mysteriously turns on to a baseball game as she's looking inside the refrigerator. She looks up, above the door, surprised. We get a reverse shot. We can see the television through frosted glass in the next room. A steadicam follows her from behind, peeking around the corner with her. We cut back to her face, which is relatively expressionless. We go back to a rear shot and see her walk to the remote and shut off the television. She turns around and walks back to the kitchen, pouring herself a drink. We cut to a lower-angled closer shot. We hear a noise. A subtle fear crosses her face. She trembles. Cut to a close shot from over her shoulder. Suddenly, she turns around, frightened. The frame freezes and quickly turns a blue/gray-tinted "negative" color.

Here's how it goes in The Ring: Katie Embry (Amber Tamblyn) is in the kitchen, just about to drink, when the television turns on by itself to static. She stops dead in her tracks, her glass just barely touching her lips. Cut to a close up of her slowly turning her head and looking at the television, horrified. Almost achingly slowly, the camera creeps around the corner to show us the television. We see Katie look for any sign of an intruder. She sees the remote on the chair, but no one is around. She hurriedly shuts off the television, then walks away, trying to rationalize the event.

Before she can get out of the room, the television turns on again. She stops again and turns even slower. The camera slowly creeps into a medium shot of Katie, with the television and its static reflected in a pane of glass. She runs over and puts her face right next to the television. We see this from a fantastically skewed angle, which distorts the television screen, sticking one end right in our face. We get an insert of Katie yanking the plug. Sparks shoot out. Back to the skewed angle, but now the screen is blank. We circle around slightly. Suddenly there's a noise from the kitchen. Katie gasps and turns around.

Slowly, she peeks into the kitchen, just in time to see the refrigerator door open by itself. She runs to shut it, now breathing heavily. She mutters to herself and begins looking around with a very subtle panic on her face. As she quickly turns towards the hallway, the camera rapidly changes focus. We cut to an interesting overhead angle on the stairway. Katie appears, peeking around the corner. She calls for her friend Becca. She trots up the stairs.

We cut to a beautiful, extremely low angle of the upstairs hallway, which exaggerates the perspective. As we see Katie reach the top of the stairs, we also see water slowly flowing into the hall from beneath a door. The camera stays at the low angle until Katie reaches the water. We cut to a close up. She's scared and bewildered, then trembling. We get an extreme close up of the door handle as her hand comes gradually into the focal range. She grabs the handle. Another close-up of her face. Cut to the interior of the room--her bedroom. Katie flings open the door, horrified. With a series of extremely fast cuts, we see a snippet of the Ring video on the television set in her bedroom. Cut back to Katie. A super fast zoom to her distorted, horrific face. Then back to the Ring video in a series of quick cuts, before the entire screen goes to static.

The point here isn't that the U.S. version is longer. Rather, it's to exemplify the attention to craft, from technical to emotional aspects. Verbinski's pacing is much more deliberate and varied, creating intense suspense. Bojan Bazelli's cinematography is breathtakingly beautiful. There is an obsession with details, from those that integrate and propel the story to those that are artistically striking. The construction is much more complex, but every shot is analyzed for relevance. Every angle exists for a reason. The ornate aesthetics amp up the effect of the story. This approach isn't unique to the opening scene, but occurs throughout the film, including the famed "Ring video" itself.

The music is also better here, and is better integrated into the film. The performances are excellent, with Aidan Keller (David Dorfman) just as creepy and disturbing as the antagonist, Samara Morgan (Daveigh Chase). As would be expected for U.S. audiences, Verbinski includes a lot more exposition in his film, working in explanatory material from Ringu 2 as well as new material exploring Samara's history. It works well here, as the story is much tighter. Everything eventually fits together like pieces of a puzzle, and it gives the Ring video and the varied settings of the film more relevance.
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9/10
One of the better horror movies out there
Sleel13 July 2003
Warning: Spoilers
My girlfriend and I saw the original in Japanese, and we both agree that the US version is much more suspenseful and scarier than the Japanese one, with the exception of some extraordinarily creepy sequences in the Japanese version. One of the small but significant changes from the original was that the Japanese version had the girl's face mostly hidden by her hair and she never makes eye contact, which I found more effective than Verbinski's treatment. The original also had one scene that I thought was a bit creepier than the remake, when the girl comes to attack the man. Other than that, the changes made were mostly positive.

Japanese plots tend to be short on causality and detail, so the story changes, which add about a half hour to the original story line, serve to make the plot coherent to Westerners. The production values in Japan make the fairly high-budget original with A-list actors look like a B-movie to people accustomed to Hollywood films. The ending shows the difference between cultures, since in the original Japanese, the woman appeals to her father for help.

There are holes in the plot, as many people have pointed out in reviews. Those that remain are either intentional, like those relating to the essentially unsolved mystery of the tapes and the girl, or were left over from the original Japanese.

The lighting and deliberately limited spectrum enhance the mood of the film greatly. The attack on the ex-boyfriend occurring during daylight hours is surprisingly effective even though it flouts the normal rules of horror films. One of the things I liked most about this movie is that it is a bit unconventional, through a combination of good director choices and some fresh ideas borrowed from Japan. People who were expecting to see a kill-em-all slasher flick were probably disappointed by the relatively slow pace in the building of the story and suspense.

Overall, I found the film to be a very good treatment of the original story and a fairly creepy horror movie too. It doesn't try to startle you into being frightened, it doesn't offer lots of gore and shocking violence, and it doesn't play down to the audience. The result is a slightly cerebral and haunting movie. There are some images and scenes that will stay with you and still give you the creeps for quite some time after you see it.
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7/10
You Die In 7 Days!
roddekker9 October 2016
Though I haven't yet seen 1998's "Ringu" (from Japan) - I certainly thought that 2002's "The Ring" (which was its American remake) was (as far as modern-day ghost stories go) a satisfyingly eerie tale of the supernatural. This film actually produced some very real and powerful chills without having to resort to grinding excessive, bloody gore into my face.

Featuring plenty of ghostly images to frighten the viewer, royally - Along with a mellow flow of hypnotically haunting music (composed by Hans Zimmer) to set the mood - "The Ring" certainly didn't let me down at all as its story went deep into an investigation into the deaths of those who had viewed a mysterious video tape.

Impressively directed by Gore Verbinski - There was definitely no question in my mind that this talented movie-maker understood the genre of film that he was working with, completely.

For me, "The Ring" was a real "gem-of-a-fright-flick" whose spooky images and scary story-line actually stayed with me long after the whole horror-show was over.
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7/10
Not without flaws, but better than the Japanese original
debblyst1 December 2003
After having seen both the original Japanese "Ringu" (1998) and its American remake "The Ring" (2002), I found the latter superior in almost every aspect (atmosphere, cinematography, effects, soundtrack, acting, pace), though the script is in the usual Frankenstein-style of contemporary U.S. horror films -- borrowed pieces from everywhere put together with visible stitches all over.

The original "Ringu" is part of the "new trend" in Japanese horror films (and since then imported by the U.S.) that goes like "when everything seems the quietest...when you're least expecting...it's precisely then that...NOTHING happens!" (add loud metallic noises). The cinema of anti-climax!! "Ringu" was full of these anti-climaxes, with an annoying slow pace, but it had other major problems: a very unsympathetic male lead character with Cronenbergian "Dead Zone" ESP powers played by a deadpan actor (in the American remake this far-fetched stuff is left out); perfectly expendable characters (such as the grandfather); several plot holes impossible to come to terms with (even more than in the US version), culminating in a very confusing third act.

The American remake has several assets of its own: a trimmer pace; lovely and charismatic British/Australian actress Naomi Watts; fine attempts at creating haunting images (the breathtaking horse sequence on the boat; Samara's psychiatric treatment; and especially the "short film on the videotape" itself, a gem of surrealistic inspiration and telegraphic efficiency -- no wonder, as director Gore Verbinski was a highly successful publicity director). However, there are some letdowns too, especially those impossible phone calls (how DO you explain them at ALL? Who cares?) and some of the cast (the male lead, insipid; and the boy who plays Naomi's son, creepy beyond any sympathy).

Not "revolutionary", but with subtler, richer shades than the usual U.S. noisy, in-your-face-special-FX brainless horror routines and much more exciting than the anti-climax Japanese modern horror films. My vote: 7 out of 10.
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8/10
I absolutely love this movie
tsheridan945 February 2010
The Ring remains to this day one of the creepiest movies I have ever seen. It is not particularly violent, like all those cruddy (and the occasionally decent) slasher film. But honestly, is there anyone who doesn't get a chill running down their spines when they show those dead bodies with the gray skin and hollowed out eyes staring out at nothing. This movie honestly gave me a nightmare the night after I watched it.

And that videotape. With its odd, seemingly random images flashing across the screen. I remember distinctly the falling chair, a ladder leaning against a wall, a tree standing isolated in the middle of an empty feel. These images by themselves wouldn't be able to generate anything remotely resembling fear, but it's not the images. It's the relative calm and oddity of these pictures that leads to a feeling of unrest, a feeling that something more sinister is lurking just out of sight.

This is Gore Verbinski's best movie. Period. I liked all the Pirates of the Caribbean movies a lot, too, but none of them come remotely close to achieving the upper echelons of their respective genres, as the Ring did, at least in my opinion. And honestly,perhaps most terrifying of all...is just seeing-her. With the long dark hair hanging ominously over her face, so no expression is visible.

This movie is relentless. Something is always waiting in the dark, around the next turn. And then just when you think it's over...the movie hits full throttle. The pacing starts off quickly, and just continues to pick up speed. The Ring is the definition of the phrase "Never a dull moment."

This is another movie to watch alone, in the dark, just like Alien. The difference-once Alien is over, you can say the terror was long in the future, on an isolated spaceship. The Ring is here and now. And with nothing stopping her, that cold-hearted terror, it seems just within the realm of possibility that she is coming up behind you now, as you read this, about to strike...
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9/10
Videos Are Hazardous to your Health.
nycritic30 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
There is a quote from the trailer for 1963 film version of THE HAUNTING: "What does it take to prove to you that the dead don't always rest in peace?" Well, the question is about to be answered in Gore Verbinski's clever and very frightening adaptation of the Japanese movie RINGU.

It tells the urban legend-like story of a "cursed" video that, when viewed, will bring death unto the viewer within seven days -- no less, no more. As a matter of fact, the tongue-in-cheek beginning in which two teenage girls are chattering about this video sets the stage which inexorably details the unspeakable fate which is about to befall to one of the girls, Katie (played by "JOAN OF ARCADIA" star Amber Tamblyn), the first of four victims to die in an inexplicable fashion.

Enter Katie's aunt Rachel (Naomi Harris), a reporter called on by her sister to find out about what lead to her death. Rachel learns that Karie and three other friends died at exactly 10 o'clock at the same time and notices that pictures taken at a trip to a remote lodge reveal blurry, almost monstrous faces... as if their very images had been completely corrupted. She heads out to this lodge, picks up the video by chance, rents a room, views the tape -- which is a collection of disturbing, "art-movie" images... and gets a call in which she has seven days to live.

And as simple as that, the story of THE RING takes off into uncharted territory as Verbinski develops the events stemming off from the act of viewing this tape while simultaneously trying to find out about its nature: where it comes from, who made it, why does it even exist. Because Rachel only has seven days to solve this mystery, as does her ex-husband Noah who has seen the tape, and because their own son's life is also in danger, the tension is greatly heightened. Matters must be settled, because it's becoming progressively clear that this is no ordinary tape, and because things are getting more and more complicated, and the noose is tightening.

Verbinski brings forth the back-story surrounding this tape expertly, a little at a time, almost casually. One is led to believe the woman in the video -- Anna Morgan -- is the person to focus on, but this is far from the truth, as are several other details surrounding the ill-fated Morgan family. This is a trick that Hitchcock used fairly regularly in all of his suspense films and Verbinski clearly knows his suspense: in not revealing too much too soon and misleading his viewers, he fools them. Adding surreal elements of imminent danger about to manifest itself at every turn only amps up the terror, and one sequence is a definite standout. While heading to a secluded island on a ferry, a horse, sensing something other than Rachel's presence (or reacting to her taint, since she has seen this cursed tape and is marked by its black energy), breaks free from where it's being kept and threatens to cause some grievous bodily harm to someone, anyone, on the ferry. What happens to that horse is as horrifying as anything committed on screen, even more so than the film's denouement, and forces us to realize we are entering into a world of true, absolute evil.

The thing is, to fall right into the heart of a mystery can be one of the most awful things anyone can experience, and Rachel, here being the Final Girl, does just that. More than a reporter she is the person who penetrates the inner circle that lies within the images of the video, but also, in doing so, she is also the one who releases its will upon the world and perpetuates its existence. Like the ring from LORD OF THE RINGS, like many of Stephen King's monsters and skeletons from his own books, Bad Things Want To Be Found because pain and terror are the things in which they feed on.

Relentlessly disturbing, THE RING is proof that one doesn't need to spell it out to be terrifying. The mundane has become chaos, the third wall has been broken, and the author of this hellish nightmare has come to vampirize on our very souls. An excellent horror film, made better because of its deft direction, precise acting, rich atmosphere, and the law that having no explanation for the whys is the best approach.
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1/10
over-rated piece of cheese.
redsweater27 June 2003
lately i've seen nothing but references to The Ring everywhere i go. people talk about it when they speak about their feelings and dreams, as if this movie were something thought-provoking and not just a crap of cheese. honestly, i've never seen something so cheesy in my life. the original wasn't the most fantastic thing in the box, but at least it wasn't too pathetic, over-acted and trying to be more high brow than the story is.
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1/10
How bad can it be
taleee28 May 2003
Ok, this movie is like too bad to even rate. Father of the adopted girl was reading his lines as he gave his big speach, YOU CAN even see his eyes darting back and forth over the cue cards instead of looking at the other person.

The clips seemed to be outtakes or sophmoric effort of film school 15 min shorts. We had the blood / drain scene, the pulling of a finger nail from a well, the lit tree on a hil and water pooling on the floor.

Needless to say the parts they stole from other movies says it all. BAD BAD BAD

wasnt even scary and typical ending. Just a sad movie over all and I wasted 4 bucks. Where is my RMA on this tripe
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1/10
Truly Imbecilic
Koskosov30 April 2003
Well, this film left me depressed, not because it was creepy, but because it was so stupid and at the same time so cynical. I may say that there is not a single thing in this picture which makes any sense or has any genuine humanity in it. The monster is an evil little girl, but there is never the slightest indication to suggest why the girl is so evil or so powerful - indeed, precisely the sort of silence which is a certain giveaway that the picture has been made by people with adolescent mentalities, for adolescents. You posit some sort of monstrosity, and that's all there is to it, nothing more need be said. "Okay, like, there's this evil little girl with incredible powers...?" To give but two instances of the astonishing illogic which characterizes the film. For one, the mysterious video which is killing people is said to have been imprinted from the evil girl's memories. But the video is full of images of things that the girl could not possibly have seen. For another, the characters are horrified to realize that it is a terrible calamity that her skeleton has been taken from the well, because somehow this means that now she is free to wreak her evil upon the world and kill people. But she has been wreaking her evil upon the world and killing people even with her skeleton at the bottom of the well! Oh, I'm sorry, apparently she can now actually drag her ugly carcass out of the television set and kill people instead of killing them from inside the television set. But perhaps her identically melted-face victims would not consider this such an important distinction. Then there is the clerk who manages the cabins and upon whose shelf the evil video is found - the curious fellow who plays him is given a nice little character-actor turn, interacting with the blonde lady who is the star, trying to perform card tricks, and so forth - and then we never see him again! What the heck was <i>that</i> about? What was his part in the sinister events, what was the video doing on his shelf? We never learn! We never see him again! You see, it is as if the screenplay for this film was written, scene by scene, without any reference to anything that had been written before, certainly not with any intention to exercise the slightest logic or continuity, but merely to work certain changes upon the psyche of the filmgoer, who is presumed to be a teen-ager, I suppose, and who is certainly held in utter contempt. And here is the real horror, that the film wants nothing from you but your money, and has no meaning other than to trick you into pushing some bills through the slot at the box office.
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1/10
Phenomenally terrible
acrappa26 March 2003
This is the only movie (other than Dreamcatcher) in which I wished all of the bad stuff that was happening to the characters was happening to me instead. It is amazing how poorly this movie is executed. It's rare that a movie can make Air Bud and Baby Geniuses seem like Oscars material, but The Ring does the job.
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R.I.N.G. -- Remade Into Nauseating Garbage. Another perfect example of how to Americanize (aka ruin) flawless Japanese cinema.
Cowman21 October 2002
Being a huge fan of the original RINGU series, I was eagerly awaiting this American remake for several months. Don't get me wrong, I was wary at first, but as the release date grew nearer and the trailers and positive reviews started pouring in, I became more and more anxious to see it. I walked into my local bug-infested, foul-smelling cinema with high hopes. Plopping myself into a sticky, soda-encrusted seat, I began feeling a sense of overbearing excitement as I impatiently waited for the godawful previews to end and the lights to dim. However, ten minutes into the movie, I knew exactly what I was in for: a dull, formulated, vastly overhyped letdown. As the film trudged to an overlong, disappointing conclusion I was constantly reminded of a little promise I had made myself after seeing NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1990), PSYCHO (1998), and OCEAN'S ELEVEN (2001): under no circumstances will I ever watch another remake again, especially those remakes whose originals are completely faultless in and of themselves, and couldn't possibly be effectively updated and/or improved in any way without detracting from the superiority of the original. How I wish I could keep my own promises!

In the 1998 masterpiece, a distinct feeling of dread and uneasiness was constantly present, slowly but tensely building into an unexpected and downright terrifying climax. The mood it created was absolutely haunting and so carefully executed that it stuck with you long after the credits rolled. It didn't need to rely on big-budget special effects and continuous loud, cheaply startling jump-cuts. Unfortunately, that's all THE RING has going for it. It doesn't even try to tap into the nail-biting atmosphere of the original. Sadly, with the permeation of trashy stalk-'n-slash gorefests during the 80s and trendy, pop-horror SCREAM clones during the 90s, it's safe to say that modern American horror has dug itself into an inescapable rut of thoughtlessness, unoriginality, and an embarrassing dependency on attractive characters (who, might I add, are usually half-dressed or nude at some point, if not most, of the movie) and gross visuals. THE RING is no different. It is typical, contrived, and pretentious to the nth degree.

The lackluster remake also strips RINGU bare of its enigmatic nature, spending way too much time trying to explain everything. There is nothing left to the imagination. Everything is spelled out for us, right up to the trite, tacked-on ending. In RINGU, the viewer is left to draw his or her own conclusions, but not here. Everything is wrapped up nice and neatly. God forbid we have to think!

THE RING just couldn't seem to get anything right, not even the movie within the movie. The videotape in RINGU contained about 30 seconds of grainy, abstract, and unsettling images. After it is played for the viewer, you feel as if you are now part of the curse. In THE RING, it is stretched out into a lengthy, laughable mishmash of arbitrary nonsense. RINGU's tape worked because it was brief and of extremely low quality, making appear as if VHS is far too new a medium for its content. This also succeeds in adding a great deal of ambiguity to the tape's origin. Upon seeing the video playback in THE RING, you'll find that it's just the opposite: long and overproduced, complete with sharp color, fluid motion, needless gross-outs, and even computer-generated images. Give me a break! Noah's braindead character chalked it up accurately when he mumbled "it's very student film", except for the fact that many student films are actually way more interesting.

Although I was deeply disappointed in this movie, I realize now that I shouldn't have been so eager to believe that it had even a smidgen of potential. After all, what on earth could I have been expecting from the writer and the director of such insipid, braindead pictures like "Scream 3" and "Mouse Hunt"? Shame on me.

Next time you're standing at the box office, contemplating which overpriced movie ticket to spend your hard-earned cash on, take my word and pass on THE RING. At least wait about two or three weeks when the general public realizes it sucks and it ends up at the $1 theater. Or better yet, order yourself a copy of RINGU instead.
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