Customer Review

61 of 69 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a cut above the sludge that Hollywood usually calls "scary", February 16, 2003
This review is from: The Ring (Widescreen Edition) (DVD)
After being barraged with countless trailers and promotions for all the movies that come out, I somehow manage to find only three or four really worthwhile movies that I like every year.
Despite some of the criticisms leveled at The Ring by a variety of disparate sources, I consider it to be (if not a masterpiece) a provocative and entertaining movie.
I watched this movie without the corrupting influence of Ringu to color my views. I have yet to see Ringu (I await its imminent release on the 4th), so I have rated The Ring based on its own merits rather than comparing it to the original (which by the way differed so much from Koji's book as to relegate criticism leveled at Kubrick's "The Shining" for its lack of similarity to King's book to a low level of believability).
I bring up Kubrick to make a point... I consider Verbinski's "The Ring" to be just as frightening as Kubrick's "The Shining." And when evaluating the merits of Kubrick's work, it is unfair to compare it to another source (in this case the book). It is similarly unfair to criticise differences in Ringu and The Ring. Carbon copies stink of redundance... and the twists that Verbinski adds to his work to "Americanize" it should give Ringu fans another perspective from which to view the characters.
The other source of criticism lobbed at The Ring stems from what some consider to be an editing problem on a massive scale. I argue that this was intentional and fit the schizophrenic and unpredictable plot better than spoonfeeding us the whole thing. The whole reason that the movie was frightening to me was that it had all these subtle connections (like the fly on the tape walking in circles) that you had to really look hard to notice. And those little things added to the subtle ghost story that is The Ring.
Upon watching the first scene, I was worried that this was going to be another teeny flick, but then I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the teeny-bop feel of the beginning was incidental and that the plot would be mainly played out by adults. In fact, one of the strongest points of The Ring is that, unlike most horror bilge, it does not use violence to carry the plot. Of the relatively few deaths that occur, I can say that each was in the plot for a definitive reason. There was no ritual "killing of the excess characters" that always seems to be a staple of the more "R-ish" rated movies in Hollywood this century.
And this is the real terror of the movie. There are a few jump scenes (including the infamous final sequence that still makes me nervous when I walk past my TV) but the feeling of dread is constant. I could not distinguish points in the movie when there was less or more dread (as one can usually do in horror flicks to accurately predict such jump moments) so the few BOO!s that there were had me surprised and scared.
The Ring was more than anything else a classical ghost story wrapped in the facade of a modern setting. In fact, I was reminded in some scenes of the last great ghost story to grace the theaters... The Shining. The difference being that the ghostly Samara chooses to haunt our technology rather than be constrained to a specific place. This is an interesting cultural event... our world has been "shrunk" by technology and people are no longer tied to one locale. Neither is the haunting in this remarkably innovative movie.
Overall, I highly recommend this movie for anyone who wants to be frightened sans knowing that a good portion of their ticket cost will be paying for the massive quantities of katchup used to produce the film. Verbinski's "The Ring" is an intelligent movie for an intelligent audience that will neither compare it mindlessly with its predecessor or need the actors to spoonfeed them the whole plot in direct dialogue. So, go watch it. You know, you have to, because... Before you die, you see "The Ring"!
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