Directed by Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean, The Time Machine) and based upon the Japanese movie called Ringu, The Ring is a fright-fest with a curious concept.
Four school-friends mysteriously die at the same time, on the same night, 7 days after watching a bizarre videotape containing disturbing imagery and a woman that stares at you from the screen...
Enter Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) as an investigative journalist, and her young son Aidan (David Dorfman) who knew one of the dead students. As Keller hears about the rumour of the tape she sets out to track it down, at least to disprove the rumour. Of course she finds it, watches it, and as it finishes the phone rings. A little voice at the other end of the line quietly informs her she's going to die....
The Ring is a frightening piece of filmmaking. In an age where audiences are increasingly de-sensitised and all too often we have that “been here, seen it” feeling, this little gem is able to get you on the edge of your seat, get your skin crawling and not let up until the closing credits.
The atmosphere is constantly uneasy and the script and performances are first rate. Naomi Watts is excellent as the single mother, doomed to die in seven days time and is convincing (for the majority of the time), with Dorfman putting in a performance to equal “I see dead people” Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense and supported well by Martin Henderson as Watt's ex-husband.
The most disturbing element of The Ring is the imagery. Eerie, surreal and unsettling, from the opening to the closing credits this gets under your skin, with some clever camerawork, sparing but effective use of special effects, sound and a premise that is surprisingly original.
The Ring isn't without its flaws however and there are still those moments where you're sitting there groaning as the characters make moves which you just know they wouldn't in reality. But this is a minor point, as The Ring is certainly one of the better pieces of horror to come out of Hollywood in recent years.Turn down the lights, turn up the volume and enjoy. Recommended.
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