WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Rachel (Naomi Watts) is an ambitious young journalist, juggling her career with the needs of her young son, Aidan (David Dorfman). While investigating the mysterious death of her cousin, she stumbles upon a strange VHS tape- which seems to contain a strange, avant-garde video featuring the ghostly figure of a young girl. Immediately after watching the tape, she receives a phone call telling her “seven days”. To her horror, she discovers that once seven days have passed, the ghostly figure from the tape, Tamara, will come for her- just as she did for her cousin. By the time she discovers this, the tape has already been seen by her son, and now- to save herself and her son, she has to team up with Aidan's estranged father (Martin Henderson) to solve the tape's mystery.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Ah THE RING. This is the film we can blame for half a decade's worth of bad Japanese horror film knock-offs like THE GRUDGE, PULSE, DARK WATER and more. A (close) remake of a 1998 Japanese film called RINGU, THE RING was a sleeper hit in 2002, and propelled star Naomi Watts to stardom, and put director Gore Verbinski straight on the A-list (his next film was PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN).
It's easy to see why THE RING struck the cord that it did, as it's an exceedingly well made, A-class horror film, of the kind we rarely see anymore. Back in the seventies, films like ROSEMARY'S BABY and THE EXORCIST could be both high-brow and scary, and THE RING follows in their footsteps. I remember being thoroughly on the edge of my seat when I saw it ten years ago (amazing that it's been that long) as a less jaded twenty-year old film-goer. I enjoyed it then, and I enjoy it now- despite the slew of bad clones it inspired.
Chief among the strengths are Verbinski's skill behind the camera, and Watts' terrific performance in the lead. Everything about the film is first class, from the visuals, to the amazing sound FX, to the supporting cast- including the great Brian Cox, to the terrific twist ending. It holds up remarkably well, with probably the only thing about the film that's dated being the use of VHS tapes (although they were almost obsolete back then too).
THE RING has a modest, but intriguing collection of bonus features. First is DON'T WATCH THIS which is a collection of deleted scenes and outtakes that were on the original DVD release. Next us RINGS which is a short film tacked on-to a RING re-release when RING 2 came out (a film I've never watched- which I hear is godawful). Next up are cast and crew interviews about the film and their favourite urban legends. Finally, the original Ring Video is here- hidden in the special features as an Easter egg (to access it- just use the left arrow key after highlighting the Don't Watch This featurette).
I still really like THE RING, although the films it inspired were mostly atrocious. The PG-13 rating on this also showed that a film doesn't have to be R-rated to be scary, although very few directors have manged to make a similarly rated film work as well as this.
Note- this is a Best Buy exclusive for now.