Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Ring

By Sati. Sunday, October 9, 2011 , , , , , , ,
(115 min, 2002)
Director: Gore Verbinski
Writers: Ehren Kruger (screenplay), Kôji Suzuki (novel)
Stars: Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson and Brian Cox

Before you die, you see the ring

Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) is a journalist investigating a videotape that may have killed four teenagers (including her niece). There is an urban legend about this tape: the viewer will die seven days after watching it. If the legend is correct, Rachel will have to run against time to save her son's (David Dorfman) and her own life
There is such thing as good remake and “The Ring” is the proof for that. The movie is one of the first classic horrors of 00's – almost everyone saw it and it's completely unforgettable. It also started the flood of remakes of Asian horrors - “The Eye”, “Dark Water” and “The Grudge” among others. None of them, with the exception of few amazing moments in “Dark Water”, even compares to “The Ring”, though. I bet after watching it every person freaks out about hearing the ringing of the phone or picking up the coffee mug and seeing a ring. In 2002 “The Ring” was something new and exciting in horror movies, nowadays films from this genre still borrow from this movie, although it didn't invent any the things included in it, along with other remakes of Asian horrors it only made them popular. Years after seeing the movie for the first time, I still feel uneasy when I look on switched off TV set, because I'm scared I'm going to see weird reflections in it. And I remember how scared I was during the first 7 days after I saw this movie.

The prologue of “The Ring”, which is cliched but very well made, suggests another teen horror. But then we meet Rachel, fierce and brave woman who is raising extremely curious son, Aidan (Who calls his mom by her name and not by simple “mom”?) we realize this is not just another silly horror movie. There is some family drama in the story, which brings interesting connections to the players involved. Rachel's curiosity is partly professional and partly mandatory, since she watches the tape. That tape is one of the most fascinating things in the movie – it's abstract, genuinely creepy, interesting and you simply can't get it out of your head. The images from it, all equally disturbing and unsettling, are placed throughout the movie. After Rachel watches the tape the phone rings and quiet voice informs her she has 7 days left to live.


We know as much as Rachel knows and we see her journey and her attempts to find out the truth. We like her, because she is confident and she's at risk of losing her own life but she doesn't even think about giving up the fight. She also genuinely cares about her close ones and about the little girl seen on the tape - Samara, played by Daveigh Chase, who has something truly frightening about her. The movie is so intense it makes simple scenes with her staring into the mirror or sitting in the chair disturbing,

As Rachel struggles with the story she is aided by her ex lover Noah (Martin Henderson). Henderson is rather useless, but the character provides some good scenes and a little insight in the character of Rachel. There are some splendid individual scenes, like the one were Noah watches the tape and Rachel's standing on the balcony looking at her neighbors, who are watching television. What would happen if that tape ever aired on TV? It's unthinkable. Rachel has to find answers for so many things – who is the girl? How was tape even made and how does it work? What can she do to survive? The climax of the film, although quite predictable, brings edgy ending and opening for the possible sequels. But that opening should have been closed.

Apart from the images from the tape inserted in the movie itself, there are various moments we see different rings. It's unique to the American version, in “Ringu” the ring referred to the method through which you can break the curse. But I'll say no more. The music by Hans Zimmer is wonderful and builds up gloomy and saddening mood and the cinematography by Bojan Bazelli is stunning. The performances, especially by Watts (another blonde in despair fighting against unknown forces, something often seen in the genre and interestingly, in all the best horrors) and Dorfman are very good.

The film has it all – evil forces, urban legend, creepy child (even two of those), strong protagonist, sullen atmosphere and mysterious, haunting music. We don't really know the origins of Samara, sad and frightening black haired girl, but we sense something awful hides in girl's past. I know it's tempting to find out more about her, her parents and the fates of the characters, but if you didn't do so already I'd advise you all not to watch the sequel to the movie, which was completely awful, even though it was directed by the creator of the original “Ringu” Hideo Nakata. “The Ring” should have stayed a single movie, not one outstanding one and one which was awful (I'm still amazed “The Orphan” paid homage to it). It is one of the most memorable horrors ever made, because it deals with familiar things like photographs, videotapes, flies, horses, chairs and somehow it makes them creepy. There are some unanswered question, but they aren't annoying the viewer – it only adds to the mystery. Yes, there are scenes which can be viewed as ridiculous, but not in the movie's universe. Because in “The Ring” the roots of evil remain unknown. So anything, absolutely anything can happen, because we have no idea how powerful those forces really are.

89/100

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