The Ring (2002)
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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 ;)
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 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!
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.
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...
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.
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 :.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Even this film was originally a remake for the Japanese version (Ringu 1998)it has it's own magic ( The Hollywood magic) which is the way of shooting the film a long side the special effects that no other one can due till this date. Naomi Watts delivered one of her best performance to the big screen she really gave us all the emotions of a women who is more scared of her son's life than hers, even though she is going to die before him!
And the best thing that saved this film and made it a successful hit in 2002 is the story line which shows you each day what's going on with the character's life till the final day, which made it superior to the sequel and the remake.
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.
Terms that have come to be wholly dismissed by the filmgoing public, met with a collective sigh of exasperation whenever they're uttered. Yes the world of entertainment has notably been going through a bit of a trend over the past decade or so... any successful property, no matter how old (or young) or how highly (or lowly) regarded it may be, can and will likely be revisited with one of those labels slapped on.
From a business perspective, it makes sense. Familiarity and recognizable names are an invaluable thing to have in the world of entertainment, with millions upon millions riding in the balance and audiences fickle of which original properties they'll give a chance to or not. But from a personal perspective, there are plenty of people who are getting sick of the remakes and reboots. Because they think it represents the loss of original ideas or does a disservice to the original works.
But the reason why I personally cannot wholly dismiss good-old remakes, reboots, etc. is because for every few terrible cash-grab retreads... for every couple needlessly gritty re-tellings... for every handful of just plain awful re-treads... there's at least one good one. Sometimes even one fantastic one. A rarity that rivals the original, honoring it while also functioning well as its own artistic piece.
"The Ring", a 2002 horror film from director Gore Verbinski, is one such film.
Taking inspiration from the worldwide phenomena that is director Hideo Nakata's Japanese thriller "Ringu" (or "Ring"; inspired by the novels of Koji Suzuki), "The Ring" is a stirring, thrilling and often chilling excursion into the world of supernatural terror.
After her niece is killed under mysterious circumstances, journalist Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) probes her death, soon discovering it is connected to a mysterious video cassette containing a series of disturbing and twisted images... soon after, a phonecall with the cryptic message of "seven days" warns her of her impending doom. Together with her ex Noah (Martin Henderson) and young son Aiden (David Dorfman), Rachel must solve the mystery of this supernatural video in order to save her life.
One of the most important things a remake must do in order to justify its own existence is to not only give honor and homage to the original, but also explore the concept, storyline and characters in new, relevant and interesting ways. And that most certainly is one of the main strengths of "The Ring." It takes the basic premise presented in the Nakata original, but builds upon and subverts the circumstances of the story in order to retain a degree of freshness. While most noticeable in the obvious and necessary differences in American and Japanese cultures and horror, the film also does a lot of other new and interesting things with the very concept itself and the characters to differentiate the two stories. But it never loses sight of what made the original so effective- that being the grand mystery aspect and the old-fashioned ghost-story. You can watch it immediately after the original, and still not quite know where it's going while still appreciating the wonderful homages to the original and the familiarity of the story. That's perhaps one of the best things a remake can do... present something familiar, but give it just enough of a new spin that it feels fresh once again. Which is sadly something most other remakes fail to heed, with many either being too much a slave to the original or too far removed from it.
The other great strength of the film is the wonderfully oppressive and dreary visual direction courtesy Verbinski. While he is perhaps most noted as the big-budget director of fare such as "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "The Lone Ranger", I've often found that his strongest work is his more intimate and low-budget... particularly the quirky drama "The Weather Man" and this film. Here, he paints a beautiful and dark portrait of terror, using strong composition and subtle moments of striking fear to create an absolute atmosphere of dread. Along with his keen use of elements like rain, muted color and quick cutting, Verbinksi crafts a wonderful visual guidance that brings you right into the film. Combined with the cool, deathly palate of cinematographer Bojan Bazelli and the freakish and mournful music of Hans Zimmer, Verbinski is able to craft the perfect visual and audible horror experience to tell this tale.
The performances of the cast are also quite magnificent. In particular Watts, who is just perfect in her role. There's a great sense of both personal strength and self-doubt that she fills Keller with, and it makes the character memorable and easily identifiable. Definitely one of the best horror-movie leads of its decade.
If I were to nit-pick the film's few weaknesses, I'd have to say it's biggest issue is that it can occasionally fall for the rare cliché and predictable moment. And I'd be lying if I said I couldn't help but compare it to the stellar original, which was on the whole just a touch more startling and cohesive an experience. Especially in the way the story comes together in the end and you discover just what's happening and why... it seemed almost a little too far-fetched in this remake in comparison to the original.
Still, those minor flaws cannot detract from the overall film, and it remains not only a great film on its own right, but also a prime example of why remakes shouldn't be outwardly dismissed without being given a proper chance. If it weren't for remakes, we wouldn't have fantastic works like this.
I give "The Ring" a fantastic 9 out of 10. Worth seeing for fans of mystery, horror and suspense!
I am a huge horror fan, and this is one of the movies that unsettles me the most. The suspenseful pace, the incredible, beautiful but haunting visuals make this a unique experience. I love gory films, but this one relies a lot more on psychological horror and imagery to create scares. No jump scares, just good story telling.
The movie may not answer all the questions it creates, but the viewer, if he pays attention accordingly, will be able to figure them out for himself.
Unsettling to the bone, The Ring is one of my favorite horror films of all time. Truly underrated.
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.
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...
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.
The Japanese RING is effective because of the stark realism and dry terror it evokes; the remake takes the opposite route, taking on a nightmarish and surreal atmosphere. While RING steams forward to the final climax with menacing intensity, THE RING creeps forward with a languid, contemplative pace. Criticisms for being "slow" are inevitable, but to those who can appreciate it, THE RING ultimately benefits from the way it languishes on its vivid dreamscapes. One is not likely to forget the shot of the well, bathed in blue, or the leaves lighting up "as if they were on fire." But my real point in writing this review is to praise the excellent adaptation this film is of its Japanese counterpart. Scriptwriter Ehren Kruger adds his own version to the legend behind the tape, replacing psychics with unnatural conceptions, and scandal with tragedy. Kruger also adds layers to the film, introducing arcing themes of parenthood, the nature of children, and empathy.
Parenthood is examined in a number of places in the film. Naomi Watts' character, a crass and insensitive journalist, is also an uncaring mother, not wanting to acknowledge the distance between her and her son. Martin Henderson's Noah is a deadbeat dad, afraid of taking responsibility of the child. Jane Alexander, as the Moesko Island doctor, talks to Watts about her mentally retarded grandson. "We loved him anyway," she says. "It takes work. Some people have limits." She is indirectly talking about the Morgans, whose daughter shows them the worst-case scenario of becoming a parent. The extent to which they go when dealing with their child is horrifying. Aidan and Samara have a subtle relationship in that they are both victims of parents struggling with their role as parents. It is finally the curse that leads Rachel Keller to take full role as a mother, and the empathy she creates with the neglected daughter Samara Morgan's plight ultimately reflects on her own son.
There is a lot more to this film than one would think. The final climax with the television has its own dark edge, even with the superior climax of the Japanese RING edging it out. The final scene brings up a moral dilemma though that rivals the original in resonance.
For added insight, watch the DON'T WATCH THIS feature on the DVD. There is one scene between Rachel and her sister Ruth that should not have been cut from the film: their conversation reflects directly another mother-child relationship and how "involved" a parent should be with their children.
Great film, one of the best horror films in years. 9/10.