The Ring (2002)

DVD Cover (DreamWorks)
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Overall Rating 67%
Overall Rating
Ranked #412
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Connections: The Ring

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Review by Chad
Added: March 14, 2005
In this American remake of Ringu, we find pretty much the same storyline with only a few deviances from the source material. To start the show, we find two teenage girls - Katie (Amber Tamblyn) and Becca (Rachael Bella) - who are staying at Katie's house while her parents are away. Becca tells Katie the story of the infamous cursed video... the one that contains some disturbing images, then causes your phone to ring, and when you answer it, you hear a voice saying "seven days." This seven days bit means that seven days after watching the tape, you will die. Katie is a bit spooked by the story, but Becca attempts to calm her down by explaining that it's just a story with no truth behind it. Katie goes on to mention that she watched the tape with some friends last week... about six days and twenty-three hours ago. If you guessed that Katie joins the deceased when the seven day mark is officially hit, you'd be correct.

This brings us to the star of this version by way of Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts), Katie's aunt. Katie's mother is throwing some sort of mourning party for her dead daughter, and at this party, mother dearest starts talking to Rachel about the way her daughter died. No doctors can explain it, and there's absolutely nothing on the internet detailing what could have happened to cause her heart to just stop, which is what led to her death. Mother asks Rachel, who is a journalist, to do some digging and see what she can come up with, to which Rachel agrees. She goes outside, where she hears the story of the video from some of Katie's friends, who also inform Rachel that the other three kids who watched the tape with Katie are now deceased as well. After wearing the detective cap for a bit, Rachel finds out that the teens were staying at a cabin up in the mountains, so that turns out to be her next stop in solving the mystery. Upon arriving at the resort, she finds a video collection in the lobby, with one of the tapes being unmarked. Rachel rents a room, grabs the tape, and proceeds to watch the video. The phone rings after the movie has finished, signaling that Rachel now has seven days to solve the mystery. She enlists the help of her photographer ex-husband Noah (Martin Henderson), who decides to watch the tape as well... now, his seven days have started up. Along the way, her son Aidan (David Dorfman) also watches the video, which results in Rachel becoming even more determined to solve the mystery in order to save her sons life.

As far as remakes go, this one turned out to be better than most. The general idea of the original is kept intact, and most of the good scenes are redone here as well. This was a refreshing change of pace, seeings how the recent slew of Hollywood remakes have decided that it would be in their best interest to completely piss all over the source material in order to appeal to today's teenage audience. Back on the topic at hand, we have a storyline that moves along pretty nicely and doesn't slow down from start to finish. Some of these scenes may seem pointless at first, but in the end, everything ties together and looking back, one can see why the scenes were included. Standing on its own, this was definitely one of the better horror films that Hollywood has put out thus far this decade.

However, when you compare this remake to the Hideo Nakata's original envisioning of the tale, it doesn't even begin to compare in terms of quality. The main problem that I had with this remake was the way that key parts of the storyline, parts that weren't essential to the storyline but explained the origins, were changed up for the American audience. It's hard to explain the differences without revealing spoilers, but if this is the only version you've seen, you should definitely give the original a viewing to see how Samara (Daveigh Chase) came to be with a bit more of an explanation than "her parents went away and came back with her." I also wasn't too impressed with the way that the epilogue of the movie was removed from the our remake, a scene that I felt ended the original movie much better. To be fair, there is an alternate scene included on the DVD that ends the story much better, but why it wasn't used in the actual movie is beyond me. The final gripe that I had with this version was the way that all of the subtlety and thinking of the original was removed in order to appeal more to an American audience. No thinking is required on the part of the viewer for this film, as everything has a nice little flashback in order to explain what's being shown. Just before each of the important scenes, we'll see a brief flashback ("Remember this?", it seems to ask), and then the scene will play out. I found this dumbing down of the material to be pretty insulting, but I guess that's what the mainstream public needs these days. The subtlety that was used with Sadako (the girl on the video in the Japanese version) is completely thrown out here... whereas in the original we never saw her face which led to making her all the more creepy, here her face is shown numerous times, which results in the frame of mind of "Oh, it's an innocent little girl that's responsible for these murders. Cute."

On the acting side of things, we again find that this remake doesn't stand up in a comparison with the original. Ringu featured award-winning acting from nearly everyone involved, while this remake barely manages to produce acting on the acceptable level. Putting Naomi Watts in the lead role was a huge mistake, as the woman couldn't act terrified if her life depended on it; I actually laughed harder during her horribly bad screams of terror and fear than I did during the last few comedies that I've watched. Then we have Martin Henderson as her ex-husband, who wasn't quite as bad in the acting department, but didn't seem like the right guy for the role. With the way he acts and talks, he seems more like someone you'd want to watch in a stoner comedy than in the lead role of a horror film. David Dorfman (their son Aidan) manages to ruin every scene he appears in, thanks to whomever it was that told him to copy Haley Joel Osment's performance in The Sixth Sense. That performance may have worked here had the kid had any acting ability whatsoever; instead, he just seems like some random six-year-old repeating lines for the camera. I find myself saying this over and over, but children should be kept away from any type of leading roles in a horror movie.

Though the movie does have its share of faults, it was entertaining enough in the end. However, if you've only seen this version, you really should consider giving the original a watch. While this version was decent enough, the original surpasses this in every aspect of the film. 6/10.
Damion Darkheart #1: Damion Darkheart - added 10/20/2004, 05:43 AM
The one thing that I couldn't really understand was where the little girl says 'daddy doesn't know'
Crispy #2: Crispy - added 11/01/2004, 09:02 PM
I'm surprised as fuck they're making a Ring Two. I have very low hopes for it, I'm rather fond of this one
HeatoN #3: HeatoN - added 11/27/2004, 12:21 AM
one of the better horror films i have seen as of late
babygirl_d #4: babygirl_d - added 12/16/2004, 06:11 PM
the ring wasn't anything 2 talk about. it was alright
MrDerp #5: MrDerp - added 12/31/2004, 06:44 PM
Not anywhere near as scary as everyone says. I was bored.
Tristan #6: Tristan - added 01/27/2005, 02:15 PM
This movie blew. There wasn't anything even remotely interesting about it.
Symx #7: Symx - added 02/04/2005, 06:50 PM
Overrated is an understatement
Big D #8: Big D - added 04/06/2005, 10:27 PM
I hope "The Ring 2" is WAY better than "The Ring."
Deadwired2 #9: Deadwired2 - added 07/03/2005, 06:32 AM
This is one of the worst movies I've ever seen.
Kari Byron's Sex Cyborg #10: Kari Byron's Sex Cyborg - added 09/12/2005, 10:46 PM
Yeah, the plot is really dumb. When it comes to the original though, I think this is actually more superior and entertaining. But it is still pretty "meh" overall.
. #11: . - added 09/13/2005, 09:06 PM
Fucking awful -_-
danimigra #12: danimigra - added 03/15/2008, 05:33 PM
I do like some remakes and i do not... but this one is great..!! i totally enjoy it.!
The picture is so good.... deserve 9/10 for sure.
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