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

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

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.