The Ring (2002)
Not going to lie to you – this one we love. Gore Verbinski’s film achieves one of those rare feats, ranking among the scarce few Hollywood remakes that surpasses the foreign born original, Japan’s unique paranormal nightmare Ringu.
The Ring – thanks in large part to the creepy clever premise created by Koji Suzuki, who wrote the novel Ringu – is superior to its source material principally due to the imagination and edge of the fledgling director. Verbinski’s film is visually arresting, quietly atmospheric, and creepy as hell.
This is basically the story of bad mom/worse journalist Rachel (Naomi Watts) investigating the urban legend of a videotape that kills viewers exactly seven days after viewing.
The tape itself is the key. Had it held images less surreal, less Bunuel, the whole film would have collapsed. But the tape was freaky. And so were the blue-green grimaces on the dead! And that horse thing on the ferry!
From cherubic image of plump cheeked innocence to a mess of ghastly flesh and disjointed bones climbing out of the well and into your life, the character is brilliantly created. (It’s actually a full grown man who climbs herky-jerky out of the TV, but who cares?)
Verbinski punctuates Rachel’s journey with unexpected moments and scares just as surely as that lighthouse beacon will round the room again and expose Brian Cox’s bloated, pock-marked glory in the back of the living room.
Sure, it amounts to an immediately dated musing on technology (VHS? They went out with the powdered wig!) Still, there’s that last moment when wee Aidan (a weirdly perfect David Dorfman) asks his mom, “What about the people we show it to? What happens to them?”
At this point we realize he means us, the audience.
We watched the tape! We’re screwed!