Looking for something more “Halloweenish’ to watch, I revisited The Ring the other night, and almost twenty years later, the film still gives me the creeps. Usually, horror films are not my preference, but this film is an exception to the rule, and beyond being a great horror movie, it’s a significant film period. It’s not difficult to determine what helps this film succeed so effectively at what it sets out to accomplish; combining a very compelling story that unfolds like a classic mystery with excellent cinematography, The Ring is very well-executed. This film is very entertaining from beginning to end. The film manages to modernize the classic gothic ghost story genre in several ways: pacing while avoiding the bad habit many of these films have of obviously milking certain scenes and making them longer to increase the drama. (a practice that drives me crazy) While paying tribute to the classic gothic ghost stories, this film carves out new territory by discarding most of the classic tropes the genre usually depends on, like most of its events taking place at might, shadowy poorly-lit environs, like dark cellars and such.

The significant elements of The Ring’s narrative, VHS tapes (which admittedly dates the production), televisions, and telephones, bestows these innocuous everyday items with an entirely new significance, and that’s one of the goals of horror turning the commonplace into something else like Psycho did for showers. Using these items in this manner gives this film, and what is more a nineteenth-century kind of story, more modern sensibilities.

Not familiar with this title? The Ring is a 2002 American supernatural horror film directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, David Dorfman, Brian Cox, and Daveigh Chase. It is a remake of the 1998 Japanese horror film Ringu, based on the same name by Koji Suzuki. Watts portrays a journalist who investigates a cursed videotape that seemingly kills the viewer seven days after watching it.

The film wastes no time establishing tone and mood, getting right down to the business of story-telling its mystery plot, and introducing its characters and their relationships. For the most part, the film remains primarily focused on its female lead, the curious and often pushy ┬áRachel (Watts), but does introduce its supporting cast as the film’s story unfolds. They include ┬áRachel’s son Aiden (David Dorfman), the trope of a creepy little kid that turns out to be a plot device the film keeps on the back burner for most of its length but pulls out when needed.

After a quick start, the plot is allowed to percolate, and as it does so, the creepiness of what’s going on intensifies with visuals that help things along. The VHS tape contents get revealed to be what looks like an art student film reminiscent of David Lynch’s Eraserhead that depicts the events behind all the dying. Like The Ring, it’s filled with symbols.

I wouldn’t say I like many horror films; they often seem too trope-filled and predictable to the point of being cliched, but revisiting this film was an enjoyable and entertaining way to spend an evening this close to Halloween.


By Craig Suide

A genuine (OCD) enthusiast of Sci-FI and fantasy. Addicted to stories. a life-long fan of movies, TV, and pop culture in general. Purchased first comic book at age five, and never stopped. Began reading a lot early on, and discovered ancient mythology, and began reading science fiction around the same time. Made first attempts at writing genre fiction around age 12 Freelance writer for Sci-Fi Nerd (Facebook), retired professional gourmet chef. ex-musician, and illustrator

One thought on “The Ring (2002): A Classic Horror Film For Our Times”
  1. A recurring storyline thing about nearly all horror movies, is that the horrible events apparently happen to a small group of people on an isolated asteroid millions of miles from the rest of the world’s population, and like in that Geiko insurance commercial, with the comment, “When you’re in a horror movies, you make bad decisions…etc.”, they just keep acting like that is the case! Like, in most of the Stephen King Novels, regular people who are going one-on-one with some nearly omnipotent supernatural boogeyman or beasties, do not TELL the whole world what is happening! Like, if there was really a “Salem’s Lot’ with vampires infesting a small New England town, and the world KNEW it, the feds would send in the army, etc., and bulldoze the vampires graveyard, and remove and incinerate all of their bodies, etc. A similar thing here with this ‘Ring’ movie series, is, “Why the heck don’t the authorities seize this cursed videotape, and have it play over a blast furnace, and let the ghoul-girl emerge, fall into that, and be destroyed? I would love to see a “Bloody Mary” movie routine where a jokester says “Bloody Mary’, three times, etc. into a racing car rear view mirror, and when then that killer ghost who appears dies by exhaustion as she tries to keep up with the speeding race car. Or a ‘Candyman’ episode where someone summons him with that same routine, except that it was done in a pre-arranged spot with a powerful electromagnet that attaches to his iron hook, and that scrap metal crane could dump him into a blast furnace, etc. after that. Or, just dig up the well where the murdered girl was dumped, which creates the ghoul-girl phenomena, and remove her body, and give it a cremation or holy funereal, to break this curse? A possible finale episode of this ‘Ring’ series would be that the people being attacked by this supernatural being, find out who murdered the girl in the well in the first place, and arrange for him to meet this videotape ghoul-girl, so that her damned revenge quest (apparently misdirected at all humanity) is completed, when she slays him and ends the curse. But, then the story would end way too soon, to make a series of very $profitable$ movies about its theme. This chronic ‘Dumbing Down’ of all the characters, and the global isolation of them from the millions of other people in the world, who would help them out, KILLS my viewer suspension of belief, so that I cannot enjoy horror movies in general anymore. And, our real-life global horror movie about the apparently genetically engineered bioweapon, the Corona/Covid-19 virus, which escaped from their labs, gives me all of the fear or adrenalin surges I can handle now!

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