The Ring (2002)
Reviewed on 2006 November 28
The night after I saw this movie the first time, I fell asleep on the sofa in front of our TV. My husband went upstairs without waking me up and I woke up on my own a while later, alone in a room that was completely dark except for the glow of the staticy TV. The cable went out. Anybody who saw this movie understands why I ran upstairs.
The Ring is a remake of the Japanese movie Ringu (1998), and it’s pretty faithful to the original. This version is set in rainy Seattle, and starts with two teenage girls discussing an urban myth: there’s a supposedly cursed videotape out there. If you watch it you die seven days later. One of the girls, Katie Embry (Amber Tamblyn) claims she saw the thing. She doesn’t entirely believe the scare stories but just the same she’s glad her friend Becca (Rachael Bella) is with her. Unfortunately Becca can’t save Katie.
Katie’s aunt Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) is a reporter, and is determined to find out what happened to her niece. At Katie’s funeral some of her peers tell her about other nasty deaths linked to the tape. She questions Becca, who can’t give her much information because she was so traumatized by that night she’s now in a mental institution. Rachel is curiosity personified, but she’s also the kind of person who would do anything for her family, and now she’s more determined than ever to get to the bottom of all this. While doing this she uncovers the tape herself, putting her life and that of her son Aidan (David Dorfman) in danger.
Gore Verbinski needs to make more horror movies. The Ring may take its time getting to its destination, but that’s fine since the tension increases as it goes. The gloomy Seattle weather set the mood perfectly and the entire cast is wonderful. The soundtrack is minimal except for some very good creepy effects. There’s a lot of discussion over whether the Japanese Ringu or the American retelling is the better movie. They’re both wonderful but I think The Ring delivers a bigger payload. It’s pretty telling that when this came out for home rental, every DVD was picked clean but lots of the videos were left behind.
Three morsels, and a shot of sake for Kôji Suzuki, who started it all with his novel.