AN INQUISITIVE REPORTER VIEWS A MYSTERIOUS VIDEOTAPE THAT IS LINKED TO SEVERAL DEATHS, SHE SETS IN MOTION A CHAIN OF EVENTS THAT PUTS HER LIFE IN DANGER. NOW SHE IS IN A RACE AGAINST TIME TO SOLVE THE MYSTERY BEFORE IT'S T... more »OO LATE.« less
Chad B. (abrnt1) from CABERY, IL Reviewed on 5/11/2011...
Boring and very pointless. This film is all hype with no actual payoff. It drags along and the viewer waits for something to happen. When the so called scares begin they r watered down to the point of being laughable. PG-13 horror films r a waste of time.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Nicholas G. from CONCORD, CA Reviewed on 3/3/2011...
Holy sh*t, this is one frakkin scary ass movie!!! (even though it's a remake, they did a brilliant job of Americanizing and even enhancing it rather than detracting from the original Japanese version) If you like scary movies, you can't miss this one.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Rani L. (Mina) from WASHINGTON, DC Reviewed on 1/1/2009...
Impressive remake of the Japanese Ringu. Naomi Watts was great. Good scare elements.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Brainy Horror, Nicely Done
Jeffrey Leach | Omaha, NE USA | 05/17/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Ring" is an American adaptation of the 1998 Japanese horror film called "Ringu." The plot is hideously simple: a videotape floating around kills anyone who watches it at the end of seven days. We know this because after the poor viewer gets to the end of the film, the phone "rings" and a voice whispers "seven days." A week later, someone finds the body of the viewer dead as a doornail with horribly swollen facial features. During the final week of life, people who watched the tape suffer from unpleasant hallucinations and nosebleeds. If this sounds like an urban legend to you, you're right on the money. But when this urban legend appears in the form of a movie like "The Ring," it blows hooks hanging off doors or ghostly hitchhikers right out of the water. This movie is full of creepy shocks, claustrophobic atmosphere, and hidden symbols and clues. It even has Naomi Watts, the blond babe from Lynch's schizophrenic "Mulholland Drive" as the main character.The beginning of the film pulls no punches. Katie and her friend Rebecca are discussing the effects of electromagnetic waves on the human brain when an offhand comment about a videotape that kills comes to the fore. Katie looks fearful as she confesses to her friend that, indeed, she saw the tape in a cabin with some friends. After some playful hijinks, we discover that Katie really did see the tape as we catch a quick glimpse of her final moments of life. This tragedy brings into the story her enigmatic cousin Aidan and his mother, a reporter for a Seattle newspaper named Rachel. At the request of Katie's mother, Rachel begins to investigate the videotape, a task that assumes dire proportions after Rachel watches the tape and realizes she might die in a week's time. What follows is a race against impending doom, a doom that assumes additional dimensions when Rachel's acquaintance Noah and her son Aidan watch the video.Research into the tape unearths one strange turn after another. A woman who appears in the tape turns out to be one Anna Morgan, a horse breeder who went insane after adopting a little girl named Samara. Moreover, the images Rachel saw on the tape continue to turn up during her investigations. As the mystery slowly unravels, many questions arise. Who is Samara and what is her connection with this dreadful videotape? Is this frightening little girl a ghost who chooses to haunt through the processes of media instead of rattling chains in a house? How can misery transfer itself to an inanimate object? And my personal query, did anyone else find Aidan as eerie as Samara? One thing is certain: repeated viewings of this film are most helpful. One time through won't do the trick with this movie. You must be patient and pay attention because the answers are do not come easy. I think too many people expected an undemanding slasher film instead of this suspenseful, downbeat exercise in cerebral terror. I for one welcome these fresh attempts to deepen the horror genre. Gory exploitation films and teenage stalker movies certainly have a place (consider how Jason, Freddy, and Michael Myers are now a permanent part of our pop culture), but for those of us who want something deeper and darker to strike us insensate, "The Ring" delivers the goods. The scene where Noah experiences what really happens when one's seven day waiting period expires will stay with me for a long time, and it was all done without a knife, axe, machete, power tool, or whatever else horror film murderers are using to dispatch their victims with these days. I haven't been this unsettled by a little girl since the twins in Kubrick's "The Shining." "The Ring" hits a home run on several levels. The DVD version, with wonderful sound and a great picture enhanced the horrific aspects of the film. Included on the version I watched was a trailer for the original "Ringu" and deleted scenes that provide additional information about the mysteries of the film, including a chilling alternate ending. Regrettably, there were no commentaries or behind the scenes clips for the movie, although one imagines that a "Special Edition" will soon appear containing such things (for extra dollars, of course). If the Japanese public's response to "Ringu" is any indication, expect a sequel to "The Ring" in our country within a year or two. Sequels often do serious damage to the original picture, but if more films take us deeper into the mysterious realm that is Samara, I welcome them with open arms."
A cut above the sludge that Hollywood usually calls "scary"
Hugh Thompson | Atlanta, USA | 02/16/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After being barraged with countless trailers and promotions for all the movies that come out, I somehow manage to find only three or four really worthwhile movies that I like every year. Despite some of the criticisms leveled at The Ring by a variety of disparate sources, I consider it to be (if not a masterpiece) a provocative and entertaining movie. I watched this movie without the corrupting influence of Ringu to color my views. I have yet to see Ringu (I await its imminent release on the 4th), so I have rated The Ring based on its own merits rather than comparing it to the original (which by the way differed so much from Koji's book as to relegate criticism leveled at Kubrick's "The Shining" for its lack of similarity to King's book to a low level of believability).I bring up Kubrick to make a point... I consider Verbinski's "The Ring" to be just as frightening as Kubrick's "The Shining." And when evaluating the merits of Kubrick's work, it is unfair to compare it to another source (in this case the book). It is similarly unfair to criticise differences in Ringu and The Ring. Carbon copies stink of redundance... and the twists that Verbinski adds to his work to "Americanize" it should give Ringu fans another perspective from which to view the characters.The other source of criticism lobbed at The Ring stems from what some consider to be an editing problem on a massive scale. I argue that this was intentional and fit the schizophrenic and unpredictable plot better than spoonfeeding us the whole thing. The whole reason that the movie was frightening to me was that it had all these subtle connections (like the fly on the tape walking in circles) that you had to really look hard to notice. And those little things added to the subtle ghost story that is The Ring.Upon watching the first scene, I was worried that this was going to be another teeny flick, but then I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the teeny-bop feel of the beginning was incidental and that the plot would be mainly played out by adults. In fact, one of the strongest points of The Ring is that, unlike most horror bilge, it does not use violence to carry the plot. Of the relatively few deaths that occur, I can say that each was in the plot for a definitive reason. There was no ritual "killing of the excess characters" that always seems to be a staple of the more "R-ish" rated movies in Hollywood this century. And this is the real terror of the movie. There are a few jump scenes (including the infamous final sequence that still makes me nervous when I walk past my TV) but the feeling of dread is constant. I could not distinguish points in the movie when there was less or more dread (as one can usually do in horror flicks to accurately predict such jump moments) so the few BOO!s that there were had me surprised and scared.The Ring was more than anything else a classical ghost story wrapped in the facade of a modern setting. In fact, I was reminded in some scenes of the last great ghost story to grace the theaters... The Shining. The difference being that the ghostly Samara chooses to haunt our technology rather than be constrained to a specific place. This is an interesting cultural event... our world has been "shrunk" by technology and people are no longer tied to one locale. Neither is the haunting in this remarkably innovative movie.Overall, I highly recommend this movie for anyone who wants to be frightened sans knowing that a good portion of their ticket cost will be paying for the massive quantities of katchup used to produce the film. Verbinski's "The Ring" is an intelligent movie for an intelligent audience that will neither compare it mindlessly with its predecessor or need the actors to spoonfeed them the whole plot in direct dialogue. So, go watch it. You know, you have to, because... Before you die, you see "The Ring"!"
Modern horror's finest hour...
TheHillsHaveEyes13 | Nashville, TN | 01/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Let me start off by stating the fact that I am somewhat of a horror movie buff, I watch just about any horror movie that I come across and I own a horror movie collection that contains about 75 real gems of pure terror. With that being said , I must say that the only movie that has ever truly disturbed me while watching it would be Gore Verbinski's stunning remake of "The Ring". I found myself on the edge of my seat from the chilling opening scene right up until the mind bending conclusion.This is in my humble opinion, the best horror film to be released in at least 10 years. Any analysis of the plot would reveal too many spoilers so I will only stsate that if you are a fan of cerebral horror and dont mind the fact that the story will not be spoon fed to you in the style of a slasher film, then do yourself a favor, turn off the lights, and watch "The Ring". Fans of the genre should not be disappointed."
Pretty Darn Scary
p chase | san diego, ca United States | 03/03/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ok, let me start by saying that I saw The Ring in the theater and it scared the bejeesus out of me, not so much in the theater as over the next few days in my own home.
How scary is it? It's probably an individual thing. Some people can't stand the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard, for others it's the sound of a squeaking balloon; I thought the Exorcist was a joke, some people call it still the scariest movie ever. For myself, I don't think I've ever seen a movie that freaked me out as much as this one, but that's just me. I guess that what tweaks that sensitive nerve is different in everybody.
There has also been a lot of comparison between The Ring and the original Japanese Ringu, mostly by reviewers whose level of discrimination and taste are, by their own admission, far beyond that of the average American. Please! Most criticism in this area is just snobbery. Ok, I haven't seen Ringu, and I admit that The Ring probably has suffered to some extent in it's adaptation for American audiences. For example, the cursed video contains some images which are meant to be disturbing but which do not have anything to do with the movie, and that probably weakens it. But the original Ringu video (which I've seen) is only about 40 seconds long, too short for an element so central to the film. On the plus side, The Ring's production values are outstanding and the acting is solid. I'm sure The Ring stands up nicely next to the original.
To Verbinski's credit, The Ring doesn't succumb to the temptation to explain everything. That may make the movie seem disjointed and plotless to some, but in my view such spoon feeding is usually just patronizing. Some ambiguity here is probably a good thing.
I can't promise that this movie will scare everyone, but if my TV (which is broken) ever turns itself on and shows static, I'm running!"
The Ring - Explained in Detail (Big Spoilers)
Marian Villalobos | Seattle, WA USA | 11/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Ring (unlike its inferior sequel) is a complex, mysterious movie with a deep backstory. However, it is told in a subtle almost evasive way in which the audience needs to figure it out through repeated viewings. The Ring's fascinating yet mysterious story spawned many websites and web forums simply devoted to unraveling its mysteries. If you were ever confused about what in the world this movie was about here are the basic meanings behind the story. Though the movie is meant to be "interpretive" and many create their own explanations to many of the mysteries, here are the ones generally agreed upon by The Ring aficionados. Much of this information is taken from Ring websites and forums. WARNING: Watch the movie first since this will basically give all the major story behind the plot away. You've been warned.
The Backstory of Samara and the Morgan's: Samara, when alive, was a very powerful psychic child with a terrible sadistic streak. She could implant her nightmarish mental images into photograph film. This specific ability is labelled by Eola County Psychiatric Hospital as "projected thermography". This is what is generaly known as PHOTOKINESIS (the telekinetic ability to create, control, and manipulate light and energy). She also had limited Telepathic powers as she had the ability of implanting thoughts and images into the minds of others (into her parent's minds and the horses at the Morgan ranch), however, she could not tell the future nor read other's minds since she could not stop her own murder. She may have had Hydrokinesis (the ability to manipulate water) and she also seems to have Pyrokinesis (the ability to manipulate fire) -- the wooden walls in her barn room were burned by her. Anna Morgan could not have a child naturally and according to her husband Richard, "was not supposed to". The Morgan's left the island and came back with a very young Samara, "adopted, they said". Afterwards Samara began attacking Anna Morgan (along with the horses and apparently Richard Morgan) with horrific images and hallucinations. Anna was driven almost insane and would spend hours brushing her hair in front of a mirror for no reason. Anna spent some time in a mental ward. Samara was diagnosed by doctors and paranormal researchers. Richard Morgan apparently put a stop to that and tries to hinder any more attention on the "little monster" Samara (apparently out of concern for society). Anna, out of sheer torment and maybe also out of concern for society, kills Samara by throwing her down the well. (Its interesting to note that Richard may have also been there helping since its unlikely Anna had the strength to move the stone lid over the well by herself). After spending seven days slowly dying at the bottom of the well Samara contemplates revenge on all humanity over her horrific death. Anna Morgan commits suicide by jumping off a cliff apparently out of a combination of guilt and persisting hallucinations (probably intensified by Samara's agony and rage directed at Anna while dying in the well).
The documents: There are shown several documents regarding the whole backstory from which some of the above is based on. There are two interesting ones of note. A certificate of live birth of Samara is shown stating the Morgan's as parents. Another interesting document states that Samara was impervious to physical pain. Neither of these two documents seems to be of any relevance in either of the two Ring movies.
Samara, the present: Samara, now dead, exists mainly in these 3 primary ways: 1) Her psychic energy persists inside the minds of her victims who watched the tape (in dreams and hallucinations). 2) Part of her psychic energy seems to persists in the physical world mainly in broadcast signals (air waves, phone lines) and magnetic media like VHS tape, (example: the phone rings when you make the connection to her after watching the tape). When alive one could assume that Samara learned or accomplished this while spending months isolated in a barn with only a television as her companion. 3) Around the immediate vicinity of death. Her spirit haunts that place down in the well.
The Tape The images on the tape are a combination of dream imagery and symbols that representing some aspects of Samara's life, her suffering and death, and the "nightmare images" she likes to come up with. Most prominent was the ring of light created by the well's stone lid that she would stare at for seven days until she died -- hence The Ring.
The Curse: Samara, now dead, has no power over the world or the living, except down in the well which she haunts. The ONLY way Samara could spread her curse and kill her victims was through the visuals of her VHS tape. The images act as a conduit for her psychic force to infect the minds of the ones who watch the images. If Samara is in your head, she can kill you! (Apparently in the most horrific way causing cardiac arrest and facial deformity.) The VHS tape concerned in the movie had its origin in the lodge that was built above her well where the teens where taping a football game but the "curse" images were taped instead. Samara's angry spirit did it. The victims, with Samara firmly in their brains overseeing them now, were spared death if they made a copy and made someone else watch it, but that is merely a riddle that few can solve in time. Thus, a perpetuator of the curse is spared death but most will die.
The death of Richard Morgan: Richard Morgan was still being plagued by the hallucinations for years until his death (he states this in the bathtub scene) and somehow knew that now (via the tapes) Samara's curse was out in the world so he kills himself. Richard thought the tape-duping was only the beginning in which Samara would be unleashed on the world.
Conclusion: There you have it. Take this with you next time you watch the movie, ;). This also does not contradict the inferior sequel's continuity of the story either, even though the sequel seems to diminish the importance of the tape curse (unfortunately). The disappointing sequel is a lot less about backstory, unsolved mysteries and family ambiguities and more about the immediate scenario of Aiden's possession by Samara's spirit and it also tries to add conclusion in the form of a hockey hollywoodesque showdown between Rachel and Samara. The only backstory information we get from the sequel is that Samara's real mother is still alive but insane and Samara's spirit has tried many times throughout the years to posses other children, that's really it. "