The Ring (2002) – Review

3 Stars


The Ring gets under your skin early on and despite some costly miscalculations during the process, it still manages to deliver enough suspense and atmosphere to garner a recommendation. Naomi Watts stars in this American remake of the 1998 Japanese horror film Ringu. Here she is cast as Rachel, a reporter investigating her niece’s enigmatic death, which may be linked to the viewing of a videotape. Apparently anyone subjected to the tape’s contents, a seemingly random series of disturbing images, dies within seven days time.

Aiding Rachel on her journey of discovery is her long-time on/off lover Noah (Martin Henderson), an audio/visual expert and the second person to view the death cassette. As they follow a twisting serious of episodic encounters with strange people in ominous locations, the pair eventually begin to unravel the clues behind a murder that was captured on camera.

The script credited to Ehren Kruger, the second based on Koji Suzuki’s source novel Ringu, hangs together by a thin narrative thread that often seems to be on the verge of snapping. The cinematography and overall downbeat tone, which does more for the film than the limp screenplay, greatly aides in establishing a perpetual sense of foreboding.

Director Gore Verbinski plays the light-versus-dark themes for all they’re worth, and his visual style helps make The Ring feel like an adult horror film. Although, the director uses many of the same cheap-thrill techniques featured in many horror films, but Verbinski has the skills to make it look like art. The Ring remake is a solidly crafted and creepily efficient movie with a lot of offbeat moments, but it also raises the question: Why even bother with an update? Despite its soggy second act the film has enough mysteries and weirdness to stir gradually to life.

Director: Gore Verbinski
Stars: Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, Brian Cox

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