The Ring (2002)
Director Gore Virbinsky
There are dozens of horror and thriller films that are astounding, but The Ring is a work of art- something not typically found in that particular genre. It is visually stunning, the acting flows naturally from the cast, the script is strong, and it has an ending that is nearly impossible to forget. Not only is it a very satisfying remake (the original film was released in 1998 in Japan, titled Ring), it was promoted in ways that films weren’t usually promoted before it, and rarely are now.
For about a month before the trailer was aired on television, the “killer video” itself was ran as a commercial with no explanation, no film title or release date included, just the video by itself during commercial breaks. Because of that, the trailer created so much curiosity that after it’s release in theaters it became the highest grossing horror film remake to date.
The filmmakers didn’t stop there. They made the impact of the film even stronger by selecting certain cinemas to place blank VHS tapes at random in the theaters for unknowing audience members to find on their seats. This no doubt made the ending of the film even more nerve racking and subconsciously believable for those particular viewers. When it was released in movie rental stores and shopping centers, the “killer video” played before the opening scene, which no doubt shook the viewers as much as those who saw it in theaters.
The Ring is the story of a news reporter in Seattle named Rachel (Naomi Watts) whose niece, Katie (Amber Tamblyn) passed away unexpectedly after reportedly watching this mysterious video that supposedly kills you exactly one week after watching it. Katie, being the reporter that she is, decides to look into this tall tale and after collecting information she starts to believe this story.
After picking up photos that Katie had taken when she stayed in a cabin with her friends (who all died at the same time a week after the trip), she makes the decision to go out to the cabin that Katie stayed at. While in the lobby of the resort, she finds a blank VHS tape with no case and nothing written on it and she decides to watch it, not knowing for sure if that tape is the “killer video.”
Just as we (the viewers) suspect, it was the “killer video” and when it finishes the telephone in her cabin rings, she answers, and an unidentified little girl eerily whispers the line that everyone knows, whether they have seen this film or not, “seven days”. Katie runs out of the cabin to try and find who called her, obviously hoping it was someone pulling a prank on her, but she finds no one.
Now that Katie has watched the “killer video”, she decides to further investigate it. She asks for help from a man named Noah (Martin Henderson) who she seems to have some sort of history with, and who we find out is a video recorder. Noah examines the film (which is a copy of the original tape that Katie made herself) and realizes that there is something incredibly suspicious about this tape.
For the duration of The Ring we follow Katie, Noah, and Katie’s son, Aidan (David Dorfman) on their own journey to find the source of this “killer video”. They do find out the full history, and by the end of the story the audience is shaken.
There aren’t very many horror films out there that leave a lasting impression on the audience, and The Ring is without a doubt one of the only horror films that achieves this effect with a solidity that is hard for any director to execute well.
Lucy F. R.