The Ring (USA/Japan, 2002) - Color, Director(s): Gore Verbinski
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Approx. 115 min.
Z-rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Cheese Factor: 1 stars out of 5
Alright, I know The Ring isn't exactly a "classic" horror movie but if we're talking about influential horror films, you'd be hard pressed not to give it a mention. This movie single-handedly kick-started the Asian Horror remake craze that led to movies like The Grude, Dark Water, Pulse, The Eye, Shutter, One Missed Call, and a slew of others being adapted for American audiences. While proving that PG-13 films could be successful by outperforming R-rated movies such as: Ghost Ship, Cabin Fever, Resident Evil, Queen of the Damned, and even sequels to established franchises like Halloween: Resurrection and Jason X in box offices that same year. Based on a series of Japanese novels, The Ring has become a phenomena that has spawned an ongoing series of films and also popularized the trope of long haired ghost girls around the world.
Two teenage girls are hanging out when one of them tells the story of a killer video tape. After you watch it, the phone rings and someone on the other end tells you that you'll die in seven days. Exactly seven days later, you're supposed to die. Turns out, the other girl already saw the tape last week while up at a cabin with her friends and before you know it, the killer video tape gets her. The girl who witnessed her friend's death ends up in a mental institution and the other kids that saw the video all died around the same time. Naomi Watts plays a journalist who's asked by her sister to investigate what happened because her daughter was the one killed by the video tape. Watts' investigation eventually leads her up to the cabin where the kids saw the video and she ends up watching it herself. With seven days left to live, Watts needs to figure out how to break the curse. To make matters worse, Watts' son also watches the tape and time is ticking for both of them.
Gore: Not much in the way of visceral gore but there are some disturbing images in the killer video, like severed fingers and nails impaling a finger. This movie relies more on creepy atmosphere and disturbing visuals than it does on violence or gore.
Awesome: Pretty awesome. I remember going to see this movie in theaters with a couple of buddies for Halloween, along with Ghost Ship, and being disappointed that both movies failed to scare us. We stayed up making fun of them until the early hours of the morning. Although it didn't scare us that night, there's no denying the influence this movie had. I used to have a small TV in my room that I used as a VCR, so it wasn't hooked up to the cable. Sometimes it would turn on by itself randomly and there would be nothing but static on the screen. I'd be lying if I said it didn't scare the shit out of everyone whenever it happened in the middle of the night. The same way Psycho made everyone paranoid when they got in the shower and Jaws scared people off the beach, The Ring made everyone shit their pants whenever static came on the TV screen. On that note, check out this prank where a room full of Japanese girls gets the crap scared out of them to the point where they're in tears.