Stuff I Watch in October: The Ring (2002)

the ring

Happy October and welcome! All 31 days this month, I will be reviewing all the films I watch in the month of October. They’re mostly a selection of horror or suspense films in my own library or films and shows that have been recommended to me.

Please enjoy and leave a comment!

And if you missed any of our past reflections, take a look:

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Psycho (1960)
The Haunting (1963)
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
The Other (1972)
The Legend of Hell House (1973)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Halloween (1978)
Alien (1979)
The Shining (1980)
Halloween II (1981)
The Evil Dead (1981)
Halloween III – Season of the Witch (1982)
Ghostbusters (1984)
Teen Wolf (1985)
Aliens (1986)
Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
Predator (1987)
The Monster Squad (1987)
The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
The Lost Boys (1987)
Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn (1987)
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
They Live (1988)
Beetlejuice (1988)
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Ghostbusters II (1989)
Predator 2 (1990)
The Addams Family (1991)
Alien 3 (1992)
Army of Darkness (1992)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
The Crow (1994)
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Scream (1996)
Alien: Resurrection (1997)
Scream 2 (1997)
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)
The Sixth Sense (1999)
What Lies Beneath (2000)
Scream 3 (2000)
28 Days Later (2002)
Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)

Our next film is…

WATCHING: The Ring (2002)

the ring

DIRECTOR: Gore Verbinski. This movie is lost among his three Pirates of the Caribbean films. He also did the colorful and beautiful Rango with Johnny Depp.

WHAT IS IT?: The first film, in a long time, that had ever shaken me to my core. I had seen numerous horror flicks and they’d all been pretty predictable. This one gets under your skin.

The Ring is based on the Japanese horror film, Ringu (or Ring). I’ve seen both. I might be in the minority, but I prefer the American version simply because director Gore Verbinski works magic with the atmosphere of the film.

THE PLOT: After a girl ends up dying suddenly and mysteriously (and her friend ends up in a mental ward due to the trauma of witnessing her death as it happened) and ends up grotesquely disfigured for no logical reason, journalist Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) is unofficially enlisted to look into what happened. What she finds is disturbing: a mysterious videotape which, for a couple minutes, shows quick-cut, random, horrifying images. Shortly after viewing the tape, she gets a phone call where she hears a young girl whisper “seven days” before hanging up.

Realizing that she may soon share the same fate as the girl who died, Rachel races against time to unravel the mystery of the tape — but things get complicated as Samara begins to slowly haunt her in the lead-up to her eventual demise…and it gets worse when she finds out that her son watched the tape after Rachel accidentally left it lying around.

WHAT DID CRITICS THINK?: It got mostly high marks from critics who praised Verbinski’s atmospheric direction and the fact that it didn’t rely on blood and gore to scare or disturb viewers. A few horror magazines listed it as the best American “J-Horror” remake of the bunch that came out after this film.

the ring

WHAT DID I THINK?: After thinking I had seen it all, this film actually frightened me.

I look at every single film I’ve reviewed so far. I saw all these when I was younger. Yeah…they were scary, but I never really had nightmares about these things. I knew, deep down, that what I was seeing wasn’t real.

“The Ring” says “to hell with that” and makes you feel like it CAN be real.

I’d argue that “The Ring” helped influence modern urban legends and may have helped give birth to the “Creepypasta” genre. Without it, we may not have had characters like Slenderman or Jeff the Killer.

This was the first horror movie to ever make me sleep with my TV on, tuned to ESPN, just so I could get what I just saw out of my head as I drifted off to sleep.

The film is shot utilizing greenish/aquamarine filter. The outdoor sequences are full of fog and rain and the entire film glues itself to your brain and just gives you this overwhelming sense of dread, like something awful is always right around the corner. You don’t feel “safe”, ever.

Naomi Watts shines here as Rachel and she’s anchored by David Dorfman who plays her son, Aiden. Aiden is withdrawn and Rachel is driven to find the truth because she cares so much for Aiden, a love which carries over for the first victim of the tape.

One of the most brilliant things about “The Ring” is how all-encompassing it was. The film had a fiendish and, sometimes, cruel viral marketing campaign which consisted of frightening websites which discussed the tape and provided a video file of it to watch so you could become “cursed”.

Actual copies of the “cursed videotapes” were left in random spots around the United States by the studio with the hopes that people would take them home to see what was on them and watch them.

Late at night, footage from the “cursed videotape” would suddenly play during commercials — with ZERO mention of the film (which is how I found out about the movie — and screw you, Dreamworks, for doing it that way).

And the movie stuck with me, much like Samara does to the characters, days later.

I say that without any shame.

“The Ring” is one of the greatest horror films I have ever seen.


Leave a Reply