Directed by: Gore Verbinski
Written by: Ehren Kruger, Kôji Suzukim, Hiroshi Takahash
Starring: Brian Cox, Martin Henderson, Naomi Watts and David Dorfman
Film Review by: Rachel Pullen
The Ring Film Review
What movie genuinely scared you in your youth? Gave you the kind of fear that lasted long after the credits rolled, that you couldn't escape for a few days after? The kind of fear that resonated in a dark room, or when you’re alone in the house? What movie had that kind of power over you?
Mine is so easy to answer, even now, when that TV falls onto static, or I see a shadowy figure in the dark of my room, I flashback to that movie...that god damn movie. I am of course talking about Gore Verbinkski's 2002 remake of The Ring, and that annoying girl who came out the TV.
Ahhhhhhhhh, nooooooo an American remake of a Japanese horror film, what garbage will they possibly produce, does the creepy little girl do karate kicks and have explosions all around her as she comes out the tv? Yeah I hear ya, and I feel ya, America has been well known for taking other country’s more popular flicks and putting their distinct spin on them, and with the ever-growing popularity of J horror on the rise it was not long before The Ring got the old stars and stripes treatment.
But that's why we are here...because not only is The Ring a remake we can stomach, but it’s actually regarded as one of the best remakes in the horror genera...so buckle in because some stuff is on a cursed video, lighthouses are ominous and children are once again proven to be the absolute worst (something I have believed for a long time).
The Ring tells the tale of Rachel, a single mum raising her pale and gross son (he is not meant to be the evil one but he is wrong on so many levels) all alone in the city, but soon her niece dies and everyone is saying it’s because she watched a cursed tape that kills you in seven days (like when you watch the Care Bears movie) so Rachel, being the super journalist she is, decides that it’s a good idea to watch the tape and then be all bummed when she is told she is gonna die in seven days...well duh.
The movie then decides to use the old bomb under the table idea that Hitchcock presented in filmmaking, it tells us how many days she has left, a counting clock to her impending doom, we as an audience are all in on the fact that time is of the essence, we know something that the characters don't, we know when the bomb if you will is set to explode, while she desperately tries to break the curse.
We start to see the urgency of everything that Rachel does in order to save herself, as well as the pointlessness of everything Rachel does, time is the driving force behind everything now, whether the characters on screen know it or not.
The original story of The Ring comes from a series of books which was then adapted for the screen, Verbinski sticks to that narrative, one that allows for a more fluid action to the storytelling, which is needed since we are talking about a girl that comes out of your TV (apparently the books are a bit more bonkers, maybe the girl gets parachuted from a plane, or you have to use Teletex in order to solve the case of the cursed tape) he builds characters, we see their past lives just a little, just enough to justify some of their actions, but they have enough ambiguity, like the tape itself to keep us invested in the tale.
As a remake, its style cannot be overlooked; stunning colours, beautiful locations, well-chosen to remind us of the fragility and isolation of the characters, between the towering buildings of the city, to the washed-out blues and greens used to colourise the film, a sense of death is always looming, the characters always feel alone, not unlike the little girl who is in the well...good, stay there you creep!
As for the little girl, although she is the main villain in the film, like all good horror we barely see her, she is simply left to our imagination until the very end, and although when written on paper, a girl coming out of a TV seems silly, I can assure it’s not. At that point in the film, you have been taken on such a journey, built up such suspense and watched the days slip away, that her presence flaws you...plus she came out of the TV...you know that thing that is in every home, store, workplace, that thing you can never escape...yeah, unnerving.
This is horror, this is film noir, this is a crime film, this is people in TVs and a grown man wearing flip flops in Seattle's rainy season (you will never not notice that now!) it’s true terror without anything of actual terror happening on screen for a good hour or so, and is that not the mark of a horror classic? Let me tell you this, you will never trust your TV again.
Now as for me, there are two more parts to this franchise, because of course if a film is successful, Hollywood get their bats at the ready to beat that horse till it’s dead, and so I will, of course, be eating them up like tic tacs and revelling in all the drama that this bratty little girl and her hatred for TVs and wells can cause.
So this week what has The Ring taught us?
Children are the root of all evil.
TVs have people in.
And if you’re not careful, VHS tapes could kill everyone you know.