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The Ring

2002 American remake of the 1998 Japanese horror film, Ring (also known as Ringu)

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Solid 'Ring' with a Few Gaps in the Link

  • Jun 22, 2008
(3.5 *'s) Nearly into the first thirty-five minutes of `The Ring' I got so many jolts, I nearly turned the DVD off. Popular, and often revered by horror fans, the film renders a favorably mixed bag. Conceptually it frightens and fascinates even if its premise is hokey, and there are many rules of thumb that are broken or inconsistent. Still, I was glad to take the journey. If the goal of a horror movie is to scare and tell a story, then the film truly has the goods to deliver.

The movie is nearly universal, so I'll be brief: Two teenage girls, Katie Embry and Becca Kotler, are sharing the tale of a video that once seen will be followed by a threatening phone call announcing the viewer has but one week to live. The girls are playing it out as a ghost story as they jive and enthuse one another, but on every other turn each becomes serious until one girl gets the phone call. There are many false alarms that work effectively, but once we're in, there's no turning back.

A short time later, the death sentence has turned out to be true and the haunted vision comes upon those who have viewed the videotape. Anyone would pass it off except all the teenagers associated with it stayed at a cabin with the tape turn up dead.

Naturally, believing it or not requires investigation, so Katie's aunt, Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) is every bit willing and ready as she tries to tie together who or what caused her niece's death. Her own son, Aidan (David Dorfman) is much like Cole in `The Sixth Sense,' and his own supernatural take on dreams and drawings gives us more of an eerie feeling about the whole affair. Her loved one (Martin Henderson) is drawn into the sleuthing mission, but his skepticism does much for the film's tension.

`The Ring' is a carefully crafted full-length `Twilight Zone' or `Night Gallery' adventure. There was one episode of the latter where a "Nutcracker" curse was brought upon its recipients, but that was shorter with rules that seemed to work better. Much of the credibility comes from the videotape itself, which would win in an art exhibition and brings much atmosphere to the movie, but it stretches belief a bit. (Sprinkling clues to bring participants to the truth of a mystery--why not leave a straightforward message? This is answered partly in the movie, but not well enough.)

As a story it works. It does have a mystery to unveil, and mostly it is a satisfying tale of tragedy, but I do have some complaints about the ending. Without revealing the store, there's a scene played out near the fireplace that brings some question as to the rules being broken near the end. The ending is meant to be a chilling resolution, but unintentionally the fireplace scene shows that the powers that be can be manipulated. Let's just say I see a way out of the curse that the ending doesn't seem to indicate.

(Based on a novel by Japanese author Koji Suzuki and an original Japanese movie. Directed by Gore Verbinski.)

(Special thanks to fellow reviewer Steve Hedge for putting this film on my radar screen.)

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November 22, 2010
Thanks for chimin' in. In a nutshell, I'd say it was hokey, but entertaining. JP
November 22, 2010
Yeah I didn't get into this one as much as every one else, nice review.
More The Ring reviews
review by . October 25, 2009
I have to preface this review by saying that I didn't actually see Ringu, but I've often heard that Ringu is scary as all hell.  So one day I'll see that.  On the other hand, I did enjoy The Ring and I thought some of its instances were quite good.  However, it is worth saying... The Ring has been branded (unfairly so) as a horror movie.  It isn't actually that much of a horror movie.  It's a Mystery/Suspense.  It has a couple of scary moments--some of which terrified …
review by . May 16, 2009
I'm use to seeing horror movies with zombies, vampires, blood and gore so when I saw this movie it really gave me the creeps. I don't know if it was all the hype behind the movie or the movie itself ,but the movie had us (my sister, niece and I) so scare that we did not want to answer the phone when it ringed.  That was probably because our house phone ringed right after seeing the 'ring video tape' on the movie.  There was not much detail as to why the little girl in the ring had …
review by . April 23, 2009
I'm not entirely on board with many of the J-horror remakes - there seems to be something deeply entrenched in the Japanese psyche that doesn't translate well (if anyone reading this is from Japan, please let me know why little girls are so paralyzingly scary, because I've always suspected that they are).   I don't think The Grudge pulled it off: if you were a neighbor of that house, you'd definitely wonder what in the hell is going on. Literally everyone who enters the house is dead: …
review by . May 02, 2009
Cheap thrills. That's a summary of the entire film. The Ring (2002) is a dumbed down Hollywood version of the Japanese horror film Ringu (1999). The Ring is actually two movies in one, it combines both elements of Ringu and Ringu 2. Instead of making a straight horror ghost story like the Japanese version, The Ring suffers from the old scheme of trying too hard. Yes, it tries to be scary, hip and an instant classic. The movie fails on all three levels. The subliminal scenes are of old hat nature, …
review by . April 20, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: ....     Cons: ......     The Bottom Line: ___________        I’ve often watched a movie and wondered if I am going to die from watching it but I never assumed that such a thing could really happen. The video in this particular movie has some supernatural power to it so that once viewed the watcher dies exactly one week after watching it. Hey, I’d steer clear of the thing, especially since the glimpses I saw of it …
review by . November 01, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
THE RING is one of those films that makes you wish the writer and editor and director had spent more time with the released project. This little fright film houses some fine effects, gets you hooked into an almost implausible concept, and then sells out to sensationalism in the end. But the cast of actors includes Naomi Watts and Martin Henderson as contemporary lovers who have a strangely sensitive son (well played by young David Dorfman), Jane Alexander at her usual fine state as a physician, …
review by . October 11, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
...Still, it wasn't a bad film by any means. I might not agree with others that it was the scariest movie ever, but I thought it was skillfully-made and had some genuinely creepy moments. I really liked the overall atmosphere it created, and the effects were subtle, for the most part, not overdone. The meat of it is that I enjoyed it. It's a good scary movie, though classics like "The Haunting" are still scarier.The thing I think I appreciated most about "The Ring" is that it wasn't trying to be …
About the reviewer
John L. Peterson ()
I am a substitute teacher who enjoysonline reviewing. Skiing is my favorite pastime; weight training and health are my obsessions;and music and movies feed my psyche. Books are a treasure and a pleasure … more
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Disturbing images and a few good shocks don't stopThe Ringfrom being a hash of half-baked ideas. It's the kind of frightfest you'll watch to set a chilling mood or spook your susceptible friends, but when you try to sort it out, this well-mounted American remake (of the 1998 Japanese hitRingu, based on Koji Suzuki's popular novel) collapses into a heap of incoherent parts. The negligible plot follows a Seattle reporter (Naomi Watts) as she investigates the death of her niece, the victim of a mysterious videotape that, according to vague urban legend, causes the viewer's death seven days later. (Fear Dot Comborrowed the same idea while avoiding this film's lofty pretensions.) The reporter, her son, and her estranged boyfriend view the tape, and the film's countdown structure follows them into deepening layers of terror--all quite effective until the movie attempts to explain itself. At that you're better off shutting down your brain and letting the creepy visuals take over.--Jeff Shannon
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