a critiQal film review The Ring (2002)

Plot: After Katie dies mysteriously, Katie's mother asks her sister Rachel (Watts), a reporter, to look into Katie's death. Rachel discovers that Katie and her friends all died at the same time, on the same night...exactly one week after watching a video. As Rachel starts searching for clues to the mysterious woman she sees on the video, her son, Aidan (Dorfman), and her son's father, Noah (Henderson), both watch the video. Fearing for all their lives, she must unravel the clues to the video - before their 7 days are up.

Reviewed
508 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 32s)
  • ...not too bad, but nothing really makes this one stand out in the horror/thriller genres.

Coming out on the heels of the internet thriller FeardotCom (2002), The Ring tries to take you down a different path…this one involving not the internet, but rather a simple videocassette. Where FeardotCom (2002) turned into just another thriller, would The Ring – a remake of the Japanese film Ringu – surpass it to become something frighteningly good?

The characters played their parts well enough. Naomi Watts, especially, showed talent playing one of the main characters. She excelled in trying to pull the viewer deeper into the film, and helping us suspend our disbelief.

The other actors, especially Rachel’s son, Aidan (Dorfman), were not up to her par, and brought the movie down a bit. Dorfman was pretty horrid, actually, not even seeming to understand how to act at all. I think they picked him for the role just for his big eyes, which were supposed to make you feel more for him, but tended to just annoy more than anything.

The plot was a somewhat new twist. As in most horror movies, there is a reason the big boogeyman is chasing after them, and they need to figure out why before it’s too late. Using the videocassette as a hook was a bit different, since you know they are trying to pull in viewers who are watching this film on a videocassette. It helps add the sense that this could happen to you.

Still, they tended to go for gore and disturbing images, much like FeardotCom (2002), and it wasn’t as good as it could have been. The video, when you finally see it, was not as frightening as it’s made out to be, so is a bit of a disappointment, as well.

The special effects were decent enough, standing up to a one-time view. Not having seen this twice, I’m not sure if they would stand up to a second viewing. Since they flash by quickly, there isn’t really a chance to notice much. The deaths are a bit unrealistic, but not enough to really hinder the rest of the film. As with most horror films recently, they tried to go for the gross out, with suspenseful music playing almost throughout. I guess people are still falling for this tactic, so until they wise up, films like this will continue to be made.

All in all, The Ring wasn’t too bad for a horror flick, but was pretty bad for a suspense thriller. Frailty (2002) comes to mind as a better suspense thriller of recent years.

The problem with categorizing this as a horror film is the extremely low body count. If you’re going to be a horror movie, you’re going to have to rack up a bit higher body count. If you’re going to be a suspense thriller, stop trying to go for the gore.

Figure out what category the film is going to be in, and follow that route. Don’t be wishy washy and try to tackle both. It usually fails.

If you liked FeardotCom (2002), you’ll probably like The Ring as well.

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