After watching the Japanese film Ringu, I wanted to see the American adaptation directed by Gore Verbinksi and starring Naomi Watts. Surprisingly, this is one of the rare horror adaptations that is a good film in its own right and pays homage to the original while still changing enough to be a different experience.
The story revolves around a cursed video tape. If you watch the video, you’ll immediately receive a phone call with the message “7 days”. A week later, the person who watched the tape dies. Naomi Watts’ investigative journalist Rachel Keller watches the tape after her niece passes away due to mysterious circumstances. Rachel then goes on a mission with her ex (Martin Henderson) to find out how to stop the curse from coming true and to figure out who the woman in the tape is.
To me, this version of the film is scarier than the Japanese original. The Ring shows you the horror, while Ringu mostly left the horror to the viewer’s imagination. Also, I found the footage on the tape in this film to be more unnerving than the one in Ringu. I felt like I was watching something I shouldn’t be.
The performances are solid, and the story followed the same beats as the original film while also tweaking some details and adding extra beats to differentiate this movie from the former. Some of the dialogue fell a little flat, and there were a couple of moments that required suspension of disbelief (even more than is typical in a horror film). Those are the only nitpicks I had with the movie, though.
The Ring is a truly chilling, unsettling film that crawled under my skin. Both paying respect to the film it was based off of and being its own entity, this is a must-watch if you’re a horror fan.
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