This American remake of the wildly popular international hit Ringu (based on the novel by Koji Suzuki) is a deeply haunting psychological thriller. The plot is an extremely simple one: a videotape being mysteriously circulated kills those who view it seven days after they've seen it.
The movie opens up with two teenaged girls, Katie and Rebecca, alone in a house talking about brain waves of all things, and the discussion gets into the mysterious videotape. Katie acts serious in an effort to fool Rebecca, but the hi-jinx don't last for long. She soon confesses that she really did see the videotape in a cabin with some friends. And what seemed like a prank under the ruse of urban legend is true when we find Katie in the closet. This is the plot point where Aidan (David Dorfman) and his journalist mother, Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts), get involved.
Rachel begins to investigate the origins of this tape, which leads her into several different directions: study of the tape at home and work, a visit to her photographer ex-husband, and ultimately the library, where she tracks down the mysterious woman in the video. But her dogged pursuit only leads to trouble when she finds out that Aidan has watched the tape and she only has seven days to figure out a way to make sure he doesn't die. The twists and turns, as well as the overall mystery, elevate the movie from degrading into clichéd horror fodder.
The script by Ehren Kruger is beautifully written and simply amazing. Director Gore Verbinski also does an amazing job giving the film that washed out look with a bluish hue to it, giving the film that authentically moody atmosphere. It also sets it apart (by leaps and bounds) from the original Japanese film. In that movie, the mood is undone by shots so tranquil and beautiful that they completely kill the suspenseful/dark atmosphere a horror/thriller needs to portray. Overall, The Ring is a classic suspenseful horror/thriller that connects with people on many levels.
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