And so begins my girl crush on Naomi Watts. I always thought she was beautiful and talented, but this solidified it. That, and being a well-written flick filled with psychological and visual drama makes this one of my favorites.
The Ring begins with two teenagers during a sleepover. Becca tells Katie about a supposed urban legend of videotape being spread around, filled with disturbing images. Right after whomever watches this videotape will get a phone call by a young girl that whispers “7 days.” Katie’s face quickly drops. She tells Becca that she watched the same videotape last weekend while with her boyfriend on a weekend getaway at Shelter Mountain Inn. Laughing off the ridiculousness of the whole thing, Becca goes down to the kitchen to get the girls a snack. When she returns to her room, Katie is missing and the room is filled with the sound of TV static. Once Becca looks at the TV, she screams in terror.
Then we meet Rachel Keller, while attending her son Aiden’s parent/teacher conference, is shown several pictures Aiden drew of his cousin being buried. Rachel explains to the teacher that Aiden is still getting over the death of his cousin and best friend, Katie, who died 2 days ago. The teacher explains that Aiden drew those pictures last week.
At the funeral of her niece Katie, Rachel’s sister asks her investigate this mysterious death. As a reporter for a Seattle newspaper, she hopes Rachel will get more answerers than she’s been able to. While grabbing a smoke break on the back deck, Rachel talks with several friends of Katie’s, who tell her about Katie’s boyfriend’s alleged suicide, and the supposed legend of the notorious “videotape”, piquing Rachel’s interest. While snooping through Katie’s room, Rachel comes across a ticket for a photo shop. After developing the pictures, she sees her niece with her boyfriend and other friends in front of a cabin at Shelter Mountain. The first 12 are normal shots. In the last 12 pictures, everyone’s faces are distorted. This makes Rachel even more inquisitive. She quickly drives up to Shelter Mountain to investigate.
While waiting to check in, she notices a library of VHS tapes in the lobby. The one marked ‘copy’ catches her attention. After being checked in to Cabin 12 (the same as Katie), she watches the videotape, and is horrified by what she sees. Immediately after she watches it, the phone in the cabin rings. A voice on the other end says “7 days……”
She is now a believer of the legend. And fully believes she has only 7 days to live.
Back in town, she takes the tape to her friend Noah to help decipher the images in the film. It is at this session that we learn that Rachel and Noah are more than just “friends.”
That night, Rachel awakes to find Aiden watching the videotape in their den. She screams in terror and quickly calls Noah. She tells him that he just watched the tape.
Noah: “Who watched the tape?”
Rachel: “Our son!”
Suddenly, the clock is ticking, for all 3 of them.
In Rachel’s desperate investigation, she learns that the whole tape revolves around Richard and Anna Morgan, who adopted a little girl named Samara. After arriving at the Morgan’s home island of Moesko, she talks with the local therapist, who tells her that after Samara came to the island, things changed. A dark cloud set on the island, followed by tragedy. Anna’s horses went insane, she apparently committed suicide and Samara was sent to an institution for observation.
While Noah breaks into the institution and raids the record department for more information on Anna and Samara, Rachel takes it upon herself to visit Richard, the father, at the Morgan home. There, she watches a videotape of one of Samara’s therapy sessions, where she vows continue her harmful wrath. Richards tells Rachel that Anna was never meant to be a mother, that Samara is an evil little girl that deserved to die, and then violently kills himself in front of her.
Quickly putting 2 and 2 together, Rachel is drawn to the horse barn outside of the main house. There she and Noah discover a loft room that was personally built by Richard, where Samara spent her days after Anna committed suicide. Burned into the wall is a picture of a tree at Shelter Mountain.
They quickly return to Cabin 12, the original cabin Katie and her friends were at. There, under the floorboards, they discover the entrance to a water well. There, in that well, Rachel learns exactly the fate of Samara, and how her tragic fate affects everyone in Rachel’s life.
GHAAAAAA! It’s so difficult to write these reviews without giving away the ending. Just trust me when I say things don’t end exactly the way you expect. Life is not exactly roses and wine for Rachel and Aiden. And the wrath of Samara continues on.
Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (yea, almost perfect)
Recommendation: Even though this is a remake of the 1998 film, it was quite brilliant. And I usually abhor remakes. Meh. But this flick was perfectly cast, the exposure of the storyline was beautifully balanced, and the visual shock factor was there. Add all this and throw in a total psychological mind-fuck in the process is pure joy. Want scary? This is scary. Want visuals that will stay with you after you close your eyes? Yep, this will get ya. I could watch this film a million times, never get bored, and see different nuisances every time. This, my friends, is a sign of a good horror film. You will never answer a phone nor look at a TV filled with static the same ever again.
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