The Ring

"Weak"

The Ring Review


"The Ring" opens with a scene straight out of a teen horror movie: A high school girl is trying to scare a friend with the supposedly true story of a haunted videotape -- if you watch it, you die in seven days.

The other girl turns white as a sheet, not because the story scares her, but because she's actually seen the tape -- seven days before.

What follows is an chilling five minutes of eerie goings-on in which director Gore Verbinski ("The Mexican") skillfully winds the audience up like a jack-in-the-box, then sets us jumping at his pleasure with the simplest scare-movie tricks. A TV turns on to static, by itself, immediately after being turned off -- and unplugged. The phone rings menacingly. One girl searches for the other, sees water leaking out from under the bathroom door and s-l-o-w-l-y reaches for the knob.

It's a perfectly executed, very scary scene in which your imagination runs wild while you see...pretty much nothing.

Then "The Ring" goes into a steady decline, mostly because it tries to become a brainy horror movie without bothering to plug its many plot holes large enough to drive anyone with half a brain to distraction.

When one of the girls dies of fright (we're told "her heart just stopped," which is an absurd diagnosis considering her body looks green and half-decayed), her aunt (Naomi Watts, "Mulholland Drive") decides to look into the story of the videotape.

An aggressive investigative reporter who never seems to do any actual work despite being so career-oriented that she neglects her young son (one of those hollow-eyed horror movie moppets who gets creepy visions), she quickly makes a connection to the simultaneous deaths of four other kids who watched the video with her niece (the cops couldn't figure this out?). Then she watches the eerie tape herself, becomes a believer and tries to piece together what it means before the grim reaper comes calling in a week's time.

Adapted from "Ringu," a 1998 smash-hit in Japan, if the plot sounds vaguely familiar it's because a couple months ago the bomb "fear dot com" stole the same idea but changed the videotape to a web site. While that film was completely inept, this one is merely ineffectual. Verbinski spends the rest of the picture following Watts by day (he completely fails to explore or exploit how her imminent death might effect her sleep) as she investigates the images on the black-and-white tape -- a lighthouse, dead horses lying on a beach, a burning tree, a well in a clearing, a long-haired woman in a mirror. These eventually lead her to an island in Puget Sound where a disturbed little girl many have been killed.

But Watts' character (whose soon slips into vacant, interchangeable, pretty blonde heroine mode) is too foolish to garner much sympathy -- she leaves a copy of the tape where her son can find it and watch it, so now his clock is ticking too, and her investigation is sloppy and insultingly easy to second-guess. Meanwhile, the plot is driven by the kind of pointlessly cryptic dialogue that haunts all horror flicks that consider themselves above the genre. Watts asks specific questions of island residents and gets responses like, "See when you live on an island, you catch a cold. It's everybody's cold."

While "The Ring" might be able to slide by on its mighty forbidding atmosphere of fog, chills and latent peril for an hour or so, it's never genuinely scary after that opening scene. The picture doesn't get really stupid, however, until its twist ending that leaves two characters in an alleged dilemma that would be so easy to circumvent it's hard to not feel insulted when the credits roll.



The Ring

Facts and Figures

Run time: 115 mins

In Theaters: Friday 18th October 2002

Box Office USA: $128.6M

Distributed by: DreamWorks SKG

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 72%
Fresh: 144 Rotten: 57

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.