Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, David Dorfman
The Ring begins as many slasher flicks do - two friends
are alone in one of the girl's home late at night. Conversation
turns to an urban legend about a videotape filled with disturbing
images that after the viewer watches, they receive a phone
call in which they are told that they will die in seven days.
One of the girls reveals that she had actually seen the tape
the previous weekend. And from this point, the movie deteriorates
from a more traditional horror flick into a psychological
Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) is a newspaper reporter in Seattle
who visits the home of her sister to mourn the death of her
niece, who supposedly died of a heart attack. Rachel's sister
asks her to look into the girl's death. Before too long, Rachel
finds out about the tape and unearths information that the
three other people who watched the tape with her niece also
died at the same time. When Rachel finally locates the tape,
she watches it and immediately gets a phone call in which
she is told "Seven days."
Rattled, she enlists the aid of Noah (Martin Henderson),
friend and videophile. The two of them begin to investigate
the tape, which in itself is pieced together like a disjointed
puzzle, full of clues as to it's purpose. Both Rachel and
Noah are initially cynical about the validity of the legend,
but when various signs from the tape begin showing up in their
real lives, they struggle to discover what the tape is trying
to tell them.
The Ring is filmed with an intriguing pace that's
slow, but deliberate. An undertone of fear seems always present,
but doesn't beat you over the head with it. Shocks are random,
but there are a few scenes that really build a disturbing
tension that set such a tone, you can't help but to be drawn
in. The world is often tainted with blue and green hues and
every scene seems to be shot with a precise intention.
There are fine performances all around. Both Watts and Henderson
are convincing in their very real and humanly flawed roles.
David Dorfman plays Aidan, Rachel's son, who seems to have
a touch of Sixth Sense's Osment in him, even if it
isn't intentional. Bit characters really add to the formula,
often injecting enough to the dark mystery to keep you wondering
how things got where they did.
The Ring starts with such a standard opening that
the events that follow will leave the viewer off-kilter. And,
just as you think the ride is about to be over and there's
going to be a simple "wrap it up" ending, The
Ring throws you a major twist that will leave you rattled
as you leave the theater. Be warned - while this film is PG-13
because there is very little in the way of violence, it's
impact on those susceptible to psychological horror should
not be underestimated. This may be one of the more disturbing
films you'll ever get the chance to view.