‘The Ring’ is a supernatural horror film serving as a western retelling of the J Horror masterpiece Ringu. The film stars Naomi Watts as Rachel Keller, a journalist who investigates a killer videotape that supposedly kills you in seven days; the more she dives into the mystery surrounding this tape the more she learns of the ungodly activities that made it in the first place.
Before we get started, I just want to say that I didn’t find this film scary. No, it isn’t because I think the horror elements are weak rather that when I was young, I use to watch the hell out of the ‘Scary Movie’ films and, the third film serves as a parody of this film and, I can’t unassociate the two in my head; I can’t think of one without thinking of the other, so it isn’t scary for me.
There will be a group of people who won’t like this film, not because of its quality, but because they see this after yet another remake of a foreign language horror film and, that we don’t need this film when we have the fantastic Japanese original that we can all watch. To that, I would say both are good, the original the better but, this film still has great moments.
The horror elements are strong, I especially love the inescapable capture of the curse itself; even at the end of the film when Rachel thinks she’s beaten it, she hasn’t. Thus the futility of the characters’ struggles makes this film far more interesting to me.
Moreover, the mystery aspects of the film are also surprisingly strong, you come for the creepy ghost girl scares, you stay for the gripping mystery behind the tape that leaves you with more questions than answers.
The actors all do a serviceable job but, their characters are left weak and, underdeveloped; they fall prey to what is extensively the crux of the horror genre, the decision to either focus on the characters who are being scared or, the scares themselves. A lot of horror films this one included decide to focus more on the monster, to establish them, this can lead to some incredibly memorable villains: but the heroes are usually left flat. ‘Sinister’ a film that is quite similar to this is a great example of what I’m talking about: the film spends a lot of time telling you about Bughull and, his mythology but, then tells us very little about Ethan Hawke’s protagonist aside from a few details about his family and, that he is a true-crime writer.
Overall this is a very good western adaption of a Japanese classic, the scares and, mythology are fantastic and, add many extra layers of detail to the film. The one fault is that the protagonists who you’re supposed to root for are as blank as a piece of paper.
Focusing on the scares and the monster to the detriment of the hero.
Reviewed by Luke