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THE RING (BLU RAY)
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Reviewed by: Andre Manseau

Directed by: Gore Verbinski

Starring:
Naomi Watts
Brian Cox
David Dorfman
Jane Alexander

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
When her niece is killed after watching a mysterious videotape, a reporter goes on the hunt to solve the mystery. In doing so, she watches the "cursed video", and it would appear that she too will die in seven days. Can Rachel uncover the truth in time?
Is it good movie?
I still remember walking out of the theatre back in the early 2000s. I had a message on my phone from my (now ex) girlfriend, saying that she'd gone to see The Ring and thought it was really scary. I was going to call her and say the same thing. I remember this flick really unsettling me. In fact, it had a similar effect on everyone I watched it with, some of whom were so bothered by it that they turned their TVs around when they got home that night and went to sleep!

For a long time, I'd have called this one of the scariest modern horror flicks I'd seen. Of course, this was before I became a super cool horror reviewer for this site.

Either way, maybe it's because I've seen it all before a few times or because I got older and my tastes changed, but I didn't find the flick quite as scary as I used to. With that being said, I still think it works quite well as a film.

This movie started off the wave of J-horror remakes in North America, a wave that hit hard and really sucked for the most part. You could argue that the Grudge was decent, but for every decent one, there were 3 or 4 crap remakes (The Eye, Dark Water, I'm looking at you). Even The Ring's sequel (funnily enough, directed by the director of the original Ringu) was awful.

But I digress. Let's chat about this one. As I said before, I still think it works. It's quite different from the Japanese original though, as it takes the American route of having to have every single thing explained to the audience. This originally bothered me, but after re-watching now, there wouldn't be much movie if they didn't explain everything.

The Ring isn't so much of a detective story as it is a story where supernatural forces are guiding Rachel towards solving the mystery. She doesn't really use any brilliant detective work to find out how and where the scenes on the videotape came from, instead she pretty much just bumps right into everything in a pretty convenient and linear fashion.

The cursed video itself is still pretty damn creepy. It's cut all industrial style and juxtaposes weird imagery and creepy sounds and it certainly works. The movie is undoubtedly one to stretch your imagination though, so don't go thinking you can take it literally, as things on video can literally become real without much explanation.

Naomi Watts turns in a pretty believable and determined performance as Rachel, although she really gets on my nerves (don't ask me why). She's supported by Martin Henderson as her baby's daddy, David Dorfman as her son Aidan and Brian Cox as Richard Morgan, the weirdo husband who survived the death of his wife and creepy daughter from the video. Martin Henderson looks (and acts) like an absolute 2002 stereotype, but the guy is fine enough in the role. Dorfman as Watts' son Aidan has always given off a really annoying vibe. I know he's supposed to be creepy but I always want to smack him, his precocious act doesn't jive with me.

One person who nails their role perfectly is the always reliable Brian Cox. He shuts down Rachel's poking and prodding and really provides a sense of forboding danger. Something bad is brewing, and he's protecting it. One way or another, Cox's character is played well until the chilling finale. The flick isn't perfect of course (why doesn't Rachel answer back when she's being called in the well? why the hell does she keep watching the terrifying video? why is the ending so mean?), but there aren't many slip-ups.

I still like the Ring. Director Gore Verbinski has layered some pretty great cinematography on this one, with a really cool visual style. Admittedly, I didn't find it as scary as I once did, but the flick is definitely still unsettling, and could be downright disturbing to some viewers. It provides plenty of good little jump scares and although it didn't hit me with the same oomph, the ending is still fairly chilling. For its time, it was different, fresh and scary and for the most part the performances are solid and you won't know where the plot's going. For that, I commend it.
Video / Audio
Video comes in 1.85:1 widescreen in a glorious 1080p transfer that really impresses. Lots of detail and definition in this one. I don't think it could look much better.

Audio is presented in a DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack that'll knock your socks off. Dialogue sounds great and there's plenty of impressive surround effects. This movie packs a lot of audio punch.
The Extras
There isn't really anything here that wasn't on the DVD years ago, unfortunately.

You get Don't Watch This, the 15 minute film of deleted stuff that's just a bunch of creepiness cut together.

Rings is the short film that bridges the gap between the first and second film, and it's good that they included it here. It runs almost twenty minutes long and is presented in HD.

There are a few throwaway interviews with the cast and crew that take up less than ten minutes of our time.

The Origin of Terror is a promising featurette that explores how we're affected be urban legends and things like that. Unfortunately, this is only 4 minutes long.

Finally, a trailer.
Last Call
Although it has lost a bit of its lustre, this is still a solid and engaging mainstream horror flick that was pretty influential and has been ripped off countless times since. The blu-ray offers up great picture and sound, but the same old extras. If the price is right or you're a fan, I certainly recommend it.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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