The F*ckin Black Sheep: The Ring (2002)

THE BLACK SHEEP is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATH. We’re hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Dig in!

The Ring (2002)

Directed by Gore Verbinski

Looks like THE RING has come full circle. Indeed, despite lying dormant for a good dozen years here in America, the powers that be have opted to bring the accursed Samara back to the big screen via RINGS this Friday, February 3rd. Be honest, how many of you are genuinely pumped to see what RINGS has engraved for us in 2017 and beyond?

Because honestly, I am not at all! In fact, outside of the original Hideo Nakata RINGU movies, I’m not remotely interested in the insipidly diluted American counterparts…at all. I know many to most adored Gore Verbinski’s 2002 redo (The Arrow rated it 7/10), and I can see why, as the increased budget allowed for expansion on the movie’s exciting novelty through advanced CG and VFX. But still, the cash-grabbing rehash amounts to little more than a tepidly watered-down, overstuffed PG-13 appropriation aimed at the widest audience possible. Ladies and gents…we hereby declare the 2002 remake of THE RING as a F*ckin Black Sheep!

But before the lambasting, let’s start with the good. There’s no denying what a cool, original, frightening and utterly novel premise RINGU boasted. The notion that a cursed video tape could manifest into the grisly deaths of those who watch it seven days later is so simple, so brilliant, and frankly so hard to believe it’d never been thought of before. Granted. Problem is, Gore Verbinski took all of the great things about the original and failed to translate the terror therein. He more or less opted for a play-by-play, beat-for-beat reverberation without ever nailing the notes and expounding beyond the original premise Nakata introduced in a way that feels like his own. I blame oft-bashed remake and sequel scribe Ehren Kruger (SCREAM 3, THE RING TWO) for failing to set the movie apart while still honoring what made the original so effective. There’s surely no coincidence he wasn’t invited back to size-up RINGS.

Beyond that though, there’s a tonal gravity to THE RING, an utter lack of fun and humor, that not only persists throughout the tedious two-hours, but becomes borderline risible along the way. It’s almost like an M. Night Shyamalan movie, so deathly serious that it can only be laughed at during certain moments. THE RING clings to this tone and tenor throughout, as everything is played so austerely one-note that it borders on parody. This would be far less of a hamstring if movie were genuinely scarier. But it isn’t. Aside from a few jump-frights (that one quick flash shot of the dead girl was mildly effective), everything eerie and unnerving about THE RING was already executed in the far fresher original. What this does is make that overly-serious tone kind of ridiculous. Not that you can’t be that humorless and still be terrifying. THE WITCH is a perfect example of how such is done right.

Another major reason why THE RING throats more shaft than Valentina Nappi is its dragged-out, overlong runtime and all the false endings along the way. What a crock! Clocking in at 115 minutes, the remake is actually 20 minutes longer than the original, yet substantively, feels far emptier. If you’re going to pad the product, you better pack more of a punch than that! Then of course there is the droning, slogging final act that’s harder to kill than Samara herself. Sheesh. Be honest, how many of you thought when Naomi Watts’ fine ass is soaked in rainwater and saved by her beau before whining “I want to go home” and resting her head on his shoulder that the movie would end right there. I sure did. Not so clementine. We’re then given another one or two near-endings, which only adds to the tedium by unrolling more lame-ass exposition, flashbacks and unneeded back-story. Put simply, THE RING remake is 20 minutes too long.

The Overall Dee-cision: Despite enjoying great critical and commercial success – so much so that it warranted an even more atrocious sequel three years later – Gore Verbinski’s 2002 THE RING is an overhyped, overlong outing that ranks far inferior to the original on which it’s based. It apes all of the standout moments of Hideo Nakata’s RINGU, milks them for all they’re worth, but then woefully fails to elaborate on them in a way that feels really fresh or all that different. Worse yet, the deathly serious tone and effort of the movie makes it feel like one of those inexplicably awkward M. Night HAPPENINGs. THE RING simply doesn’t fit…it’s too long, too tame and tonally, too damn tight!



Extra Tidbit: Where do you stand on THE RING (2002)?
Source: AITH



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