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The Ring (2002)
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Review Date: October 12, 2002
Director: Gore Verbinski
Writer: Ehren Kruger
Producers: Laurie McDonald, Walter Parkes
Actors:
Naomi Watts as Rachel Keller
Martin Henderson as Noah
David Dorfmann as Aidan Keller
Plot:
It's pretty simple actually. If you happen to watch this specific videotape, you will receive a phone call from a creepy voice immediately afterwards and you will die seven days later. No questions asked. A few kids have already bit the big one and now a reporter is on the case to uncover the mystery of the tape. She too watches it and...ring!! Creepiness ensues.
Critique:
Brrrrrrrrrrrr...definitely the scariest movie that I've seen so far this year, I suspect that a lot of people will be comparing this spine-chiller to the much-ballyhooed THE SIXTH SENSE and you know what...it deserves it! Here's a genre flick with a creepy premise, a creepy story, creepy imagery, a creepy score, creepy atmosphere and just a whole lot of creepiness all around. Nice job, Mr. Verbinski! And it's not your typical "horror movie" either, as much as it is a mystery with plenty of well-developed horror elements intertwined. One of its strongest attributes is that it actually manages to maintain a real deep sense of dread throughout, beginning with its eerie opening sequence, with two girls alone in a house...with a TV set. And by the way, if this movie doesn't give you the willies the next time you walk by a television set and it suddenly gets all fuzzy on your ass, you might just be made of stone. I can just imagine folks watching this flick when it comes out on video, all alone at home, late at night and suddenly...the TV goes grainy! I'd shoot myself in the left temple if that happened to me. So yes, if you love movies that get under your skin, provide many a goosebump, sustain palpable suspense, an intriguing detective story, some boo scares and an engaging lead in an unsettling world...you gotta check out THE RING! If at all possible, try to see it at night with a loved one and expect to feel uneasy throughout and if you're lucky like me...to be deeply disturbed by it all. Naomi Watts, who dazzled the world as one half of the lesbo team in David Lynch's MULHOLLAND DRIVE, proves once again that she's an actress to be reckoned with and that she's here to stay. Looking a lot like her good friend and Aussie counterpart, Nicole Kidman, in several scenes, Watts manages to draw you into her mounting sense of frustration, helplessness and yup, you guessed it...fear!

Her son in the film, David Dorfman, is decent, although I didn't think he gelled with the material as well as everyone else (and you can't help but compare him to the kid who set the bar so high for the genre...Haley Joel Osment), while the one other "lead" in the film, Martin Henderson, portrayed a serviceable partner. The film moves slowly, but builds clues and patterns as it creeps along and ultimately drives home one of the lesser commercial endings that I've seen come out of Hollywood this year, and for that...I offer even more props. In fact, kudos to Dreamworks for not pussying out on this one. For anyone who doesn't already know, this film is a remake of the Japanese cult classic RING (read the Arrow's review of that film here), which I haven't seen, but by which many were also genuinely frightened. And to be honest, even if you don't like this film, it still manages to offer various other elements that click like a brooding score, awesome visuals, many of which are surreal and ghostly, a dark and grungy atmosphere (loved that constant rain!), as well as a memorable play with sound. I will also admit to not having all of my questions answered by the end of the movie, but you know what...it didn't really bother me so much. I got the gist of it all and like many of my other favorites from the past few years, it's just one of those flicks that needs to be seen again in order to be fully digested (and will most certainly lead to more discussions with your buddies afterwards-I was flying solo on this one). This film is very original on its own terms, doesn't compromise, provides for many twists and revelations, is wrapped in darkness and offers plenty to contemplate the next day. I also loved the special effects in one of its final sequences...disturbing, to say the least. And did I mention how creepy it all was? Shit me...I ain't picking up my phone tonight, that's fer sure!! (J-Lo...please call me next week, ayight?)
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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