For my birthday month, I’ve decided to review one of my favorite films, The Ring, which is a 2002 American supernatural horror film directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, and Brian Cox. It is a remake of the 1998 Japanese film Ring, based on the novel of the same name by Koji Suzuki. My taste tends to favor suspense and story over gore and jump-scares when it comes to the horror genre; with The Ring, that’s what you get. The story aims more to disturb the audience with visceral imagery and boldly colored lighting —primarily cool toned except when a vibrant red—but what I value most about The Ring is the spooky, unanswered questions because they exist with purpose.
The stage is set with two teenage girls having a sleepover, ending with one dead and one in a mental institution, so it goes. We then learn of the dead girl’s aunt, Rachel (Naomi Watts), and cousin, Aiden (David Dorfman), who become our main characters. With the help of her complicated friend, Noah (Martin Henderson), Rachel begins to unravel the mystery behind a string of strange and violent deaths. In the process, they discover an evil in its purest form.
The Ring is a well-crafted, atmospheric horror film that successfully adapts the original Japanese story to an American setting. The film creates a sense of dread and mystery through its use of cinematography, sound design, and editing. I have to respect Rachel’s way of coping, being who she is to the most extreme (a reporter/journalist), and finding the story. As a writer, I can only hope I’d survive as well. To me, the meaning behind the scare is just as significant as the scare itself. Having a solid story is what makes a horror film feel familiar. (Side note: Playing around with traditional forms of storytelling is optional and can lead to a more intense experience when done right). For those who love Hitchcock, keep an eye open for a reference or two, including a nod to Rear Window (1954, dir. Alfred Hitchcock), whose visuals adoringly haunt me to this day. The film’s most iconic scene is the terrifying moment when Samara crawls out of the TV screen, which has become a staple of horror cinema.
The film is not without its flaws, however. Some plot elements are illogical or inconsistent, such as the rules of the curse and the role of the horses. The film also relies on clichés and a few
jump scares, undermining its originality and tension.
Ultimately, there are many reasons I love The Ring—story, pace, easter eggs, suspense, colors, imagery, editing, performance—and I could easily break each one of those down into their own essay. It is one of the better examples of the American remake of a foreign horror film, and it stands on its own as a modern horror classic. For now, I’ll say The Ring is a worthwhile watch, an instant classic for its day, and a fundamental favorite of mine.
Editors Note: Watching The Ring 2, the sequel to the 2002 horror film The Ring, I was curious to see how the story of the cursed videotape and the creepy girl Samara would continue. The Ring 2 picks up six months after the events of the first film, where Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) and her son Aidan (David Dorfman) have moved to a small town in Oregon to start a new life. However, they soon realize that they are not free from Samara’s wrath, as she begins to haunt Aidan through his dreams and visions. Rachel investigates the origin of Samara’s evil, discovering a shocking connection between her and her son. Meanwhile, Samara tries to possess Aidan’s body and escape her watery prison.
The Ring 2 is a disappointing and dull sequel that fails to live up to the expectations set by the first film. The film lacks the suspense and mystery that made the original so engaging and terrifying. The film relies on cheap jump scares and CGI effects that are not very convincing. The Ring 2 is a forgettable and unnecessary sequel that adds nothing to the franchise. It is a boring and frustrating film that does not deliver on its promise of horror or drama.
At four years old, R.F. Greer wrote, directed, and starred in her first film titled, “Princess Asleep.” Since then, she has been a storyteller of many colors, honing her skills at North East School of the Arts in San Antonio, TX, and earning the Co-Editor position of their literary magazine “After Midnight” before graduating. In a gap year, Rhiannon wrote two feature films, maintained a website, and recorded poetry. In college, she was published in the University of Tennessee Knoxville’s literary magazine “Phoenix” and her book of poetry, “The Habit of Breaking Routine,” on Amazon Kindle. At the same time, she continues to earn her bachelor’s in Psychology and work full-time.