healthy teenage girl's heart stops a week after visiting a
holiday cabin. Her boyfriend also dies; an apparent suicide.
The girl was close friends with a little boy called Aiden,
and his mother, Rachel, learns of the supposed existence of
a video, the viewer of which dies seven days later. Curious,
as all reporters are, she visits the cabin and watches the
video which is constructed of haunting, surreal imagery, some
of which involves a little girl. Immediately afterward the
phone rings and a voice whispers, "Seven days." Returning
with the tape, Rachel discovers her face to be distorted in
photographic and film images. Using her ex-husband's video
editing equipment reveals a lighthouse at the edge of a frame.
Research leads her to an island, and the house of Anna and
Richard Morgan. But time is running out for Rachel, as she
undergoes a series of vivid dreams and hallucinations. When
she catches Aidan watching the video, panic ensues and it
becomes even more critical to reveal the backstory of a little
girl called Samara...
Although America has created a huge film culture, the presence
of which is felt around the world, its track record of foreign
film remakes is less than impressive. Thankfully The Ring
doesn't fail in quite the same manner, being neither better
or worse outright than the original. The Japanese version
made quite an impact on the movie scene when it materialised
only a few short years ago, and even spawned two lesser sequels.
It was a film which transcended the language barrier, and
was creepy without seeming to try that hard. The remake follows
much of that story scene for scene. It is logically more accessible
to a Western audience, and structurally more coherently, although
doesn't create anywhere near the same build of tension.
major deviation surrounds the history of the child at the
centre of it all. Originally, her mother was a talented psychic
with powers of ESP, becoming famous on the island after successfully
predicting an eruption. The girl herself was so aloof and
powerful that she was deemed to be a monster. Here we have
the mother unable to have a child, and the implication is
that the father performed some sort of genetic experiment
that resulted in the birth of a girl so unnatural that all
the horses panicked, running to the sea where they were drowned.
The scene on the ferry, when a horse panics at Rachel's proximity
and jumps overboard is more shocking than the rest of the
film in its entirety. Perhaps this is because apparent cruelty
to animals is distressing, even though it's created by the
magic of cinematic illusion.
is more urgency about the original, accentuated by being stranded
on the island during a storm, and later having to hoist up
buckets of water from the well, both when time is very much
of the essence. What this version does do right is avoid the
casting of any big names, which would have instantly destroyed
its credibility. I defy anyone not to find The Ring
enjoyable. Its exploration of semi-modern technology for the
purposes of horror separates it from the multitude of ancient
evil and psycho slasher movies. Anyone who has seen the Japanese
film might be tempted to avoid this remake all together, which
would be a shame because this is pretty much as good.
include a trailer and an interesting edited-together series
of vignetted clips and scenes, many of which never made it
into the finished cut. On a final note, fate dictated that
as I finished watching this DVD the phone rang. My reaction?
"I'm not bloody answering that!"
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