“You will die in seven days.” A strange, disturbing video is carrying a curse. Whoever sees it receives a phone call and seven days later, the viewer dies a horrible death. When Katie Embry (Amber Tamblyn) dies, her aunt Rachel (Naomi Watts) begins investigating the rumors of the tape. When she watches it, a countdown begins as she must find the mystery behind the girl (Daveigh Chase) in the tape and stop the cycle. When Rachel’s son Aidan (David Dorfman) accidentally watches the tape, Rachel must solve the mystery of Samara and where the deadly tape originated.
Directed by Gore Verbinski, The Ring is a remake of the 1998 horror film Ringu which is an adaption of Koji Suzuki’s 1991 novel. The movie was relatively well received and was a blockbuster at the box-office by tapping into the PG-13 horror market. The movie started a big chain of Japanese imports and remakes.
I love a good horror movie, but as an adult, horror movies sometimes struggle to scare. There is something to be said about The Ring which manages to bring scares, a compelling story, and a great cast to a PG-13 film.
The Ring does a good job of scaring without showing much. It plays on the idea of the Bloody Mary type of legend. If you see the video, you’re dead, but the temptation to see the video is also great. With that as a basis, the movie is able to freak out viewers by making them watch this cursed video within the movie. It is all made up, but it plans this hint of doubt in their mind that they are along with Naomi Watts’ character for the ride. She has to solve the mystery of the video to save the viewers.
The Ring also is benefited by strong acting. It gets two good child actors in David Dorfman as the somewhat psychic Aidan, and Daveigh Chase as the creepy Samara that the smart script makes parallels between. Naomi Watts just off of her breakout role in David Lynch’s Mulholland Dr. turned an easy role into a much better role and really did a nice job as the mother fighting for her life and her son’s life…which leads to a difficult choice for her character at the rather open ending.
Gore Verbinski does a great job with the visuals in the movie. First he had to recreate a video that was half-way creepy, and he did it with a lot of style. I know that you are supposed to like the original more than the remake, but having seen both Ringu and The Ring, I actually kind of enjoyed The Ring more. The movie is just faster paced and better constructed.
The Ring is a creepy movie. It is scary and full of jumps. It manages to do this while keeping it PG-13. This shows the power of film and how something can be scary without being gory. Unfortunately in the modern market, this wasn’t enough and The Ring was followed by the disappointing The Ring Two in 2005.