The Ring

9 out of 10


A True Horror

Based on the novel by Koji Suzuki and the Japanese language film, "Ringu", "The Ring" follows the race against time by Journalist, Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts), her estranged lover, Noah (Martin Henderson) who is a video technician and her preteen child (David Dorfman) to unravel the mystery of a bizarre video tape, involving the messed up Morgan family, their evil child, Samara and a beach full of dead horses. The clock stands against them, for whoever sees the tape, has just 7 days to live (unlike the film "Gigli" where one's acting career is dead, two hours after the public have seen it.), yet they find themselves up against, not only the supernatural, but the closed community of a windswept island in Washington State (a pleasant change from the usual LA suburb), a chain of false leads and a list of witnesses who are either dead by suicide or insane from halucinations.

Sounds familiar? Yes, it's the same premise as "Fear Dot Com", complete with a vengeful spirit of a gruesomely murdered female at the root of it all. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Logically there must be an answer or poultry would predate the rest of the universe, and the same must be true of these two movies with an almost identical plot, yet it is clearly "The Ring" that is the better by more than just a margin, mainly through Gore Verbinski's masterful direction of it. At every point, he has woven into the fabric of the film everything that disturbs the soul of the average Joe, sharp shocks flashed across the screen, subliminal messages that last just a couple of frames that only the most switched on will notice, Hans Zimmer's creepy music and the all purvasive tint of green that sharpens at times of high drama - it all adds to the direct visual imagery, such as a finger being driven onto a nail that creates a sensation of someone walking over your grave, and really sets your teeth on edge with this eerie atmosphere.

It's hard to believe that "The Ring" is 1 hour 55 minutes as it just flies by - indeed, it could be argued that some excellent scenes were deleted, simply to cut the length. Surprisingly out of character for a Dreamworks picture, it thrills to the clever and brutal twist at the end.

Not A Film To Watch Alone!

Film Critic: Robert L Thompsett