The Ring - dvd edition review by The Grim Ringler

The RingDVD Edition

Way back in 2001 some friends and I watched the original version of The Ring, which was called, the Ring, but is now known as Ringu, and me, I wasn’t too impressed. It was interesting, and very creepy, but it was weirder than it was good. I said then that I hoped someone in the states would remake it so it might reach it’s potential, and what do you know, someone did make it over here – because Americans are too damned lazy to read subtitles if ya want my three and a third cents – and looky here, it was a huge hit. Did it live up to the hype though?

As Fuersty said in his review, I am sure, this is a thriller, along the lines of The Sixth Sense, which means more creepiness and less horror. Ring is a story about a video that, when watched, dooms to viewer to death in seven days, and when the relative of a journalist dies after watching the video, the journalist investigates what the tape is. She finds the video herself during her search, and after watching it – which is similar to the original in that it’s all images with no real narrative, just a creepy chaos that hints at a deeper meaning – gets a mysterious phone call telling her she has seven days. Scared, and getting more frightened the more she learns about the video, the woman delves into the origins of the video in the hopes she can find an answer to it all before she is doomed to the same fate as all the others that have seen the tape. But as she gets closer to the truth, the darker the mystery becomes, all the while bringing her closer to what the tape is, and who made it.

But is it any good? It is certainly better than the original, hands down. The story is more fleshed out, there is a feeling that you know some of what is happening, and why, but there is enough still hidden so that you can put some darker clues together for yourself later on. Director Verbinski did a wonderful job on the film and the direction really does add to the atmosphere and sense of dread. In fact, I wish more modern horror films had a look as distinctive and as foreboding as Ring does because it would make up for a lot of crappy writing that goes on in most horror films these days. I also liked the story, though it was virtually identical to the original, because I felt it gave you a better look and connection to the characters than Ringu did. The real heart of the story though is the very creepy atmosphere and the sense that things in this world are very wrong – as witnessed on a ferry when something so bizarre happens, it just changes the feel of the entire film – which is achieved through the direction and through the cinematography which captures this world gone mad feel. And I have to give kudos for the background story of parental neglect, which manages to use the story of the video and the story of our heroine and her son to resonate off of once another wonderfully.

But as well done as this is…it is an almost, and by that I mean, it’s almost great. The film plays too much like a thriller to really build up any chills, and as neat a device as it is, the idea of a killer video – not starring Paulie Shore especially – is still just silly. There are some great images, and some very scary scenes, but nothing builds and builds, it just happens, goes away, and happens again. And the end, as neat as it is, just doesn’t come off as powerfully as it should. And perhaps worst of all, they throw a plot twist at you at the end of the film and never quite explain what it means, and why it’s so. I mean, I ‘got’ it, but it just felt like someone was like, OH, WAIT, I can do this too…

The acting is very well done, especially the kid, who comes off very well in the film. And it’s a VERY well made film, I mean, I really would love to see Verbinski get his hands on something really dark and twisted, something that goes all the way, where Ring goes most of the way. Which is my real problem with the film. They just didn’t want to go all the way, which maybe that’s why it has a PG-13, and it hurts the movie. It could have been so grim, and twisted, and just scary, but it was made as a supernatural thriller, and that’s what it plays as sadly. And as one, it’s decent, but not great.

The DVD looked great, even if I did get a bloody FULL-SCREEN version at the rental house, and the music and sound effects are wonderfully atmospheric. The extras are very slim, but the ‘Never Before Seen Short Film’ is fun, though all it is is an assortment of deleted footage with some new scenes from the video. It is a neat extra though, and, well, the only one really.

A lot of people loved this movie, and well, good for them. If you did and want it, feel free to buy this, though there may be a bigger, special edition down the road in time, but this is a solid purchase if you liked it. If not, rent first, make sure you like it. Don’t be me when Pluto Nash came out, buying eight copies because I knew it would be that good. Darn you Eddie Murphy and your boyish charm, darn you to heck! This is a good rental though, it’s very well made, well acted, and has a very creepy feeling to it. And yes, it is better than the original, but it just isn’t a horror film, which is a shame, ‘cause it could have been a very good one. What it is is a very creep supernatural thriller, with some genuine scares, and a whole barn of atmosphere, but not enough scares to really make it stand about any other decent, scary thriller. All in all, it’s good, but far from great.


7 out of 10 Jackasses

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