Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES: 'Rings' - a short film that
tracks the history of the video tape from The Ring to The Ring
Two. Making of. Don't Watch This. Much more... Regions 2/4.
ALL of the essential components required to make a really great
horror film are present and correct in The Ring, a genuinely scary
remake of the cult Japanese horror film about a blank video tape
that means death within seven days for anyone who watches it.
Firstly, theres the nail-biting opening, usually involving
an attractive young damsel in distress, followed by the creepy
child with extra-sensory powers, and, finally, the psychological
factor - ie, the ability to get into your mind without having
to resort to cheap shocks and random blood-letting.
The Ring sets its stall out from the start. Two girls, both attractive,
discuss the urban myth surrounding the aforementioned
video tape, each trying to creep the other out. The only trouble
is, one of them claims to have actually seen it, seven days earlier.
Cue lots of mystery phone calls, disappearing acts, dark corridors
and weird electrical activity involving the television, before
one of the two becomes so terrified, that she is literally scared
Cut to Naomi Watts inquisitive reporter, Rachel Keller,
who is asked by the parents of the deceased to investigate what
She discovers the tape, watches the surreal montage which appears
on it, makes a copy and then has seven days to unravel the mystery
before meeting the same fate.
Enlisting the help of her boyfriend (Martin Hendersons Noah),
who also watches it, the film then becomes a race against time
for both of them, particularly when the stakes are raised by the
fact that Watts son, who appears to be psychic, stumbles
upon the tape himself.
Ringu, the Japanese classic upon which The Ring is based, became
one of the countrys highest grossing films of all time when
it was released in 1998 and spawned a sequel, and there is already
rumour surrounding the possibility of the US version following
the same path.
It is one of the better remakes of recent years and remains a
genuinely unsettling and nervy affair.
Ehren (Arlington Road/Scream
3) Krugers screenplay does an excellent job of teasing the
viewer with the clues contained on the video, while Gore (The
Mexican) Verbinskis direction is suitably creepy throughout.
The film possesses an air of menace which makes it very difficult
for viewers to relax, especially if they havent seen the
original, while the truth behind the tape is well-hidden; it will
keep you guessing up until the final reel.
Verbinski also pays clever homage to past Hollywood chillers,
with the opening, in particular, evoking memories of the first
Scream, and sequences involving Watts son harking back to
the creepiness which surrounded children in films such as The
Shining and The Sixth Sense.
But he also remains fairly true to the spirit of Hideo Nakata's
original, particularly when employing the visual gimmickery which
surrounds the images on the tape.
In Watts, the film also boasts a suitably feisty leading lady,
who lends proceedings a great deal of credibility without feeling
the need to resort to the scream queen tactics of
the likes of Jamie Lee Curtis. She is far more than just a damsel
in distress and her quest for the truth is fuelled by the need
to protect her son, just as much as saving herself.
Nakatas template may still be the definitive version, but
Verbinskis clone succeeds by providing mainstream audiences
with something all too rare nowadays; an intelligent chiller than
engages the intellect as well as making the hairs stand up on
the back of your neck.