"I think before you die you see the ring."
Most of the needed information on this film is given in the above write-ups, but I offer this review, in which I don't agree that "The Ring" was a good film.
Based on the popular 1998 Japanese horror film "Ringu," the latest scary flick to hit theaters this season, "The Ring," offers several pleasingly spooky moments, but falls short when it comes to casting off many of the tired cliches in the genre - and a few lost connections at the end of the story leave a viewer in a circle of confusion.
The story begins on a dark and stormy night (a person could start counting cliches in scene one), and two teenage girls are by themselves in a big house catching up on gossip. One girl mentions a rumor about a disturbing video that if anyone watches will die seven days later. The other girl reveals she's seen it, exactly one week prior to that night along with three other friends. Silence creeps in as the girls try to joke it off, but one unsettling event after another keep the two wary, as well as the audience. Director Gore Verbinski does well here, pumping the viewer with anticipation until the expected demise takes place.
The story then focuses on Rachel (Naomi Watts of "Mulholland Drive") and her troubled son. Rachel was the deceased girl's aunt, and since mystery surrounds the girl's death she decides to find out more. In a tedious questioning scene with teenage pals, where people finish each other's sentences so poorly one would think they were in a beginner's acting class, Rachel learns about the tape and investigates further. Rachel watches the video (of course), which consists of choppy images of bone-white skies looming over dead animals, a dirty empty swing set and much more, along with a freakish, bloated little girl fading in and out -- culminating in a sequence almost as disturbing as any David Lynch flick.
And then the phone calls begin. With the help of an old flame and her picture-drawing son, Rachel attempts to solve the tape's mystery before certain death arrives.
The cinematography in "The Ring" is terrific; the somber ambiance remained strong throughout the film, cameras and lighting magnifying the grim old farm house setting and enhancing fear upon every character's gloomy face. But although a couple of fright-filled scenes cause some good jumps in the seat, a lack of ingenuity, scant fresh dialogue and barely decent acting (which Watts proved once capable of in "Mulholland") fail to make this movie stand out in its field. Creepy little girls were perfected in "The Exorcist" and "The Shining" years ago. Teenagers full of frightening gossip has been more than overused.
In truth, "The Sixth Sense," has raised the bar for modern day horror movies. A level of depth, and perhaps a twist in the tale is requested along with the gasps. I know certain standard events are now expected in horror movies, but we only could laugh at some scenes, such as when Rachel attempts to pet a horse in a trailer. OK so she knows she's marked for death-- that horses in particular were plagued by the curse. She watches the horse get skiddish, but continues to try to pet him. Must she pet this horse? Of course the doomed black beauty goes more than a little berserk.
Dump the trite and become something more than what most people have seen 1,000 times. In this case at least, I wanted to be afraid of putting any tape in my VCR for a week.
Rated: PG-13 for language, violent images