CinemaDave (cinemadave) wrote,

Review 2002: "The Ring"

The horror of "The Ring" is akin to the dread we felt when we received
the quarterly statements from our financial institutions on October
first, 2002. We knew that the stock market had taken a beating, but it was
still a shock to see the besieged portfolio. "The Ring" is not a fun
monster movie, but it is a haunting horror movie for voyeurs.

Based on a series of Japanese horror movies based on the same theme,
"The Ring" opens with two sorority sisters discussing an urban legend.
There seems to be a renegade video tape that projects a series of images
that culminates with a final shot of a circle. People who view this
video then receive a phone call from an absolute stranger. The stranger
informs the viewer that they have seven days to live. Having seen the
video tape, the audience quickly says goodbye to one of the sorority
sisters within the first five minutes of the movie.

We next meet single mother Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) and her
emotionally neglected son, Aidan (David Dorfman). Rachel is tardy picking up
Aidan from daycare and has an impromptu conference with David's teacher.
Aidan is drawing pictures of a late cousin in a coffin buried
underground. Given that the family lives in the doom & gloom of Seattle, the
feeling of dread become pervasive in the Keller household.

Nonetheless, Rachel needs to put food on her table and, being an
investigative reporter, she investigates this urban legend about the deadly
video tape. Rachel brings her work home and Aidan watches the video
tape. The phone rings and the Keller family become involved in a
investigative race against time.

It should be noted that "The Ring" is a Dreamworks Production in which
Steven Spielberg is a partner. Twenty Summers ago, Spielberg created
"Poltergiest," which dealt with ghosts that assault a family through the
television set. Both movies add credence to the urban legends that
television is rearranging our brain molecules. The big difference is that
"Poltergiest" is more fun to watch.

The uninspired screenplay was created by Ehren Kruger, the man who
concluded the last film of the "Scream" trilogy. The storyline is so
conforming that "The Ring" offers nothing new to the genre, it merely repeats
horror formula. Not since the "Faces of Death" sequels has the theme of
Freudian voyeurism seemed so forced.

Given the terrible headlines of the Washington D.C. beltway sniper,
"The Ring" does not provide escapism. While Dreamworks may have plans for
a "Ring" franchise, this series may be a marriage I will avoid in
future Halloweens.
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