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The Ring  (2002)

Cast: Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, David Dorfman, Brian Cox, Jane Alexander, Lindsay Frost, Amber Tamblyn, Rachael Bella
Director: Gore Verbinski
U.S. Distribution: DreamWorks
U.S. Release Date: 10/18/02
Running Time: 1:55
MPAA Rating: PG-13

In a year of forgettable fare including a haunted Ghost Ship and a killer Web site (feardotcom), along comes a deadly little video tape in The Ring and at last, horror's dry spell is over.

When several teenage friends die at the exact same time in separate incidents, a journalist (Naomi Watts) who is related to one of them sets out to find a tape which is rumored to be the cause of their deaths. She learns that viewing the plain, unlabeled VHS tape with disturbing images is followed by a telephone call and a chilling message for the person who has watched it: "Seven days" ... as in seven days until their horrible death. (So much for bad ideas for horror films; and thank goodness this was not called Urban Legend 3 because I would not have seen it.)

Director Gore Verbinski, who previously helmed the action-romance-comedy The Mexican and the family film Mouse Hunt, proves that he is capable of jumping genres and producing a winner. The Ring is one creepy ghost story that is able to overcome its few inadequecies (it is a bit far-fetched) and succeed where so many before it have not.

Watts is particularly good in portraying the doomed heroine who is willing to go where few others would. Young David Dorfman plays her son with a subtle similarity to Haley Joel Osment's character in The Sixth Sense and bearing more than a slight resemblance to Damian from the first two Omen films. The two are spellbound by the video tape that is somehow linked to a murder and suicides at a horse ranch. (Of this, I am not exactly clear.)

I am told that The Ring is a near-exact remake of the 1998 Japanese film hit Ringu which, by some accounts, is "much better" than the American film. If that is the case, I cannot wait to see it!

 "The Ring ends up a few frames short of the perfect horror film, but very few." (Robert K. Elder, Chicago Tribune)

© 2002, Delton Perrodin

"Best Horror Film" of 2002

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