Director(s): Gore Verbinksi
Writer(s): Ehren Kruger
Reviewed by: Christine Lambert on
Release Date(s)Oct 18, 2002 - Wide
The Ring stars Naomi Watts as Rachel Keller, a reporter investigating the mysterious death of her niece, a healthy 16-year-old girl who has died from heart failure. The movie opens with the niece’s friend telling her that watching a particular video tape will have devastating consequences — the person watching it will die in seven days. Rachel, investigating the death as a favor to her sister, watches the tape and spirals into desperation trying to find the truth of the tape before the seven days are up.
The Ring, a remake of a Japanese film, is an extremely scary movie. Don’t see it alone. I had to apologize to total strangers for jumping up and screaming. While the premise isn’t probable, the notion of dying after watching a video preys on the minds of the audience. Videotapes are everywhere. The thought that one could be lethal is chilling and the stuff that urban legends are made of.
The Ring turns the impossible into a possibility in the mind of the viewer. This is where Ehren Kruger’s screenplay is at its strongest: taking an idea that is far fetched and turning it into something that is thoroughly engaging.
The only fault with the film, and it’s a minor one, is the way in which the characters are portrayed at the beginning. Naomi Watts plays Rachel, a woman who is the typical workaholic: a brash, busy, single parent with a son that understands all this. Noah (Martin Henderson), Rachel’s camera and video savvy friend, is the typical man/child: immature and unwilling to grow up. So the characters aren’t completely original and neither is their emotional situation. Rachel becomes jealous of Noah’s pretty young assistant, as if Rachel herself is less than beautiful.
Unlike films such as Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street, where the enemy is tangible, The Ring’s enemy is time and the seven-day deadline to solve the mystery behind the tape. The director of photography, Bojan Bazelli, does an excellent job creating both visually stunning and terrifying images. These visuals and the terrifying story quickly forgive whatever clichés creep up during the beginning of the movie.
There is such an urgency to find out the truth about the tape that I found myself wanting them to discover what it was in time so that Rachel wouldn’t get hurt. The talented Naomi Watts’ Rachel combines strength, vulnerability and desperation to create a character that’s engaging to watch. She can make you feel so much for her that I wanted her to be okay.
The trend with intuitive children in scary movies doesn’t end with this film, but as in Signs, The Sixth Sense (two personal favorites) and The Others, it is done well.
I highly recommend seeing The Ring, but not alone. Don’t make my mistake. I’m thinking of chopping off my long, dark hair. When you see the movie, you’ll know why.