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on 2 October 2003
A television screen full of static hasn't been this frightening since 'Poltergeist'.
In brief (and without revealing anything crucial), a sceptical journalist hears of a videotape which causes anyone who watches it to die seven days later. Of course, she boldly investigates, finds the tape, watches it (in a most foolhardy fashion if you ask me...) and starts to wonder if perhaps the story is true. Because if it is, she has only seven days to get to the bottom of the mystery.
A truly atmospheric psychological thriller, where the horror element is supplied by a steadily growing sense of menace, rather than copious quantities of blood and gore. Creepy, seemingly random images get even more scary as the story unfolds and their significance is revealed.
I have deducted one star simply because there are some deleted scenes in the special features that should have been left in.
Watch it, but not on your own. And you might want to turn all your mirrors to the wall before it starts. Oh, and the day after watching it, don't do what I did and accidentally flip to an untuned channel on the video. I swear I left my seat.
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Every horror buff knows -- the horror that creeps up on you gradually is much, much scarier the one who bounces out and yells "boo" as it decapitates somebody with a machete.

And sadly, most current "horror" movies lack horror, because it's easier to substitute it with screaming blondes, blood, guts and sharp objects. But "The Ring" is soaked in foreboding, creepiness and horrific imagery. Director Gore Verbinski relies heavily on the original Japanese movie for a lot of his remake's flavor, and the result is a slow-building terror that keeps twisting right up to the end.

Single mum Rachel (Naomi Watts) is attending her niece's funeral, after she died under bizarre circumstances. Several of her friends died on the exact same day, at the same time, which (surprise surprise) makes Rachel think this isn't a coincidence. So she investigates the mountain cabin all the kids stayed at a week ago, and finds an unlabeled videotape with a series of bizarre images -- and a curse that will kill you one week afterwards.

She enlists the help of her ex-boyfriend Noah (Martin Henderson) to help her unravel and break the curse. The secret of the tape is wrapped up in a young girl, Samara, who vanished from her adoptive parents' horse farm years ago. Somehow Samara's evil rage has lived in on her curse, and it will destroy Rachel, Noah and their son unless Rachel can find a way to escape it.

Remaking Asian horror movies is one of those movie trends that is hanging on in Hollywood, with everything from "The Grudge" to "The Eye" to "Bangkok Dangerous" getting the A-list Hollywood treatment. Some are good, some are mediocre, most are wretched. But "The Ring" was the first of these, adapted from Hideo Nakata's adaptation of Koji Suzuki's novel (cue cries of "but the original was better). And it achieves the distinction of being almost as atmospheric and haunting as the original.

Most of its brilliance comes from director Gore Verbinski, who thankfully did not simply use the name and concept, and invent a teenybopper plot around that. This is actually rather similar to Nakata's adaptation -- Verbinski alters some few things from the original film, but keeps the same dark, murky atmosphere and many of the same scenes. Even the cinematography has a dark, overcast look, filled with forbidding symbolism -- lots of grey skies and overflowing water. It's as if Samara's influence is permeating everything.

And what about the horror? It comes from the building tension as Rachel's deadline creeps toward us, and brief flashes of Samara's influence -- for example, that poor horse going berserk on a ferry, or the blurred-out faces of the doomed. The entire movie is infused with the feeling that something invisible and ghastly is just waiting to attack you, and it's just waiting for the right moment.

The keystone of this movie is Naomi Watts. This talented actress is virtually perfect as the perpetually worried, perplexed Rachel; as the deadline approaches, her fear and grief are almost palpably overwhelming. Henderson is also good, whether as a flip carefree artist or as a caring ex-boyfriend. Dorfman is the one disappointment -- he seems less like a little boy than a pompous oracle, and he's almost creepier than Samara.

Which is saying something, because Daveigh Chase is utterly chilling as Samara Morgan, a creepy little devil-child with black weedy hair over her face, a white nightgown and "Omen" eyes. In keeping with the watery theme of the movie, she always seems vaguely damp.

"The Ring" is one of those rarest kinds of movies -- a remake with its own flavour, even as it sticks to the original story. Excellent direction, great acting, and the haunting determination to never, ever watch an unlabeled movie again.
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After the mysterious death of her niece Katie, journalist Rachel Keller starts to investigate an urban legend about a videotape which kills you seven days after watching it. With dire consequences coming her way if she can not solve the mystery....

The sentence, English language remake of successful foreign horror film has been known to instill fear of the wrong kind in many a genre fan. So when it was announced that Gore Verbinski was to remake Hideo Nakata's terrifying nerve shredder, Ringu, the reaction in horror circles was akin to someone urinating on your chips. Refreshing to report then that The Ring is a candidate for best American remake and proof positive that remakes sometimes can be a good thing.

Starring Naomi Watts {who is terrific} as Rachel, Verbinski and writer Ehren Kruger {adapting from Kôji Suzuki's novel} successfully transfer the atmospherics of Nakata's piece to a dank and eerie Seattle. It's with atmosphere that The Ring starts to play on your nerves, after viewing the creepy and unsettling tape itself, we ourselves have been set up for the race against the clock that is driving Rachel on. And as the mystery starts to unravel, and sadness threatens to take hold, the story quickly shifts direction to give horror one of its most baddest and cruelest characters. It's impact is the kind that crawls under your skin and refuses to move when you are trying to sleep at night.

Tho the story has been streamlined from its source, The Ring still has a bit too much filler in its structure. Feeling a need to give Watts a quest among quests, Verbinski almost over cooks the mystery essence of the plot. But with much relief, he reins it in to stop any sort of scooby doo like nonsense detracting from the creepy sense of dread that has been built up. The ending here works, but it is a tone down from the source and with that it's not even close to Nakata's version, and just maybe it has something to do with Dream Works wanting to secure a PG-13 rating? What is left tho is a truly suspenseful and unsettling thriller-come horror film. One that even on revisits manages to bother and keep one on the edge. It made an $80 million profit in America alone, ensuring that a sequel was sure to follow. Now that one was a bad idea! 8/10
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on 30 July 2003
My lady and i went to see this at the cinema. Im the sort of hopeless romantic who therefore sits through 'Horrors' with my thumbs in my ears, fingers over my eyes, humming to myself. On the other hand the girlfriend loves to be scared, and generally sits quietly, laughing to herself. But we went to see The Ring and have never quite been the same since.
This movie has both enough gore to satisfy the slasher movie lovers and the 'i cant breathe' suspense of any good psychological thriller. But it also has an excellent, twisty plot which continously changes direction to keep you guessing, and takes so many turns for the worse that you just want it to end. When it does, its such a relief, it all makes sense, and you can relax - your smiling. At this point a 'Carrie-esque' final sting in the tail finishes you off. And dont worry about my having ruined it for you, believe me, you wont anticipate this!
For myself, there was no point trying to block out whats was on-screen, as to close ones eyes only made it worse! Cheryl, as usual, laughed her way through it. Only im now not the one with recurring nightmares months down the line now am i? ;-) So. A good movie for testing your nerve and getting that viceral thrill if your like me, and a delight for the Horror terrorists who think nothing can effect them. Needless to say with the DVD about to be released, we are inevitably drawn to a second sitting - better or worse second time around i wonder? See it!
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on 21 July 2003
When I first went to see this at the cinemas I did not expect this film to be any good. I thought it was a cheap horror film with a stupid story line. I was wrong.
If horror films scare you then this will scare you too much. Im a great fan of horror but when I saw this film I needed some toilet roll. This film is very scary. Watch it with the lights off and the volume up high.
The Film is about a video tape that when you watch it you have 7 days to live. Sounds stupid but it is a great film.
This film is a hollywood remake to "ring" which I havent seen yet but is also said to be scary, unfortuanly it is in subtitles.
Buy this film if you love horror films and like being scared.
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on 8 September 2011
I didn't like this film. I agree with some of the other reviews who say that it isn't as good as the Japanese original. It wasn't very frightening.
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on 11 April 2005
What a disappointment it is when a studio releases a special edition DVD a week before the theatrical release of the sequel, you just know that it isn't for the viewers benefit.
But, being a huge fan of the movie and not in possession of the previous DVD release i thought i would get this one, the "collectors edition". Very disappointing.
Don't get me wrong This movie is fantastic, truly scary in a Blair Witch kind of way, great acting, great everything. But enough of the lovey dovey stuff - this review is about the DVD.
The features are weak - The "making of" is barely 8 minutes long and is not at all enlightening. The short film - "Ring" - is very good though.
Too bad that there is no commentary - but worst of all is the exclusion of a feature that was on the original DVD, The actual ring video as a stand alone extra. A glaring ommission to make and such a simple one to include.
Too many lacklustre DVDs are being released these days, and this is one of them.
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on 3 April 2005
Ok, first off I do feel slightly cheated that my first purchase of The Ring on DVD did not have these extra features. I was in two minds whether to get this new copy because I already had the first issue. But I am such a fan of this film I gave in.
Well, the 'Making Of..' feature is (as most making of features are these days) 'Lovey speak'. All this 'It was wonderful working with .....' and everyone verbally patting each other on the back. THIS DOES NOT TELL ME HOW YOU MADE THE MOVIE!!! I so want to say this to many filmmakers. I want to see the set design, makeup, prosthetics, special effects, fancy camera moves, etc. That's what I call a 'Making Of' feature. I don't care that cast and crew were all one big happy family, and they all got along like the Waltans. So, disappointing.
The mini-movie 'Rings' was quite good. Really, I recon it would have made a better Ring 2 than the one at the cinema, had it been expanded into feature length.
The Easter Egg (entitled 'Don't Watch This') is a confusing mish-mash of deleted scenes thrown together, but this was on the original DVD. Interesting, but would have been better separated, and given optional Directors commentary.
So, all in all medium marks. A star for being a brilliant movie anyway, and a star for a reasonably good mini movie that tells the story of the boy and girl we see at the start of Ring 2 at the cinema. No marks for the Making of Feature. It's time filmmakers stopped fobbing us of with self congratulatory rubbish like that, and no star for not having directors commentary. Oh, and one obligatory star (because you cannot give a no star rating)
If this is a collectors edition, I'm not impressed.
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on 23 July 2003
This truely is the first time i have been scared by a film since watching The Shining all those years ago.
If your expecting a typical Hollywood style gor fest then think again, this is about as predictable as weather, and will keep your on the edge of your seat right until the very end.
Highly recomended!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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on 8 August 2003
what a film!!I was shocked after watching this that is was only a certificate 15 !! I went to the cinema to watch this and i thought it was going to be one of those tacky horror films like scream and i know what you did last summer,but i was wrong from the beggining of the film i didn't take my eyes off the screen not even to eat my popcorn a real thriller film.If you dont see this then you are missing out.Buy it !!I
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