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When her niece and three other teenagers mysteriously die after watching a video tape showing a montage of various graphic images, skeptical newspaper reporter Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) begins an investigation into what actually happened. Tracking down a copy of the tape, she watches it and is immediately notified by telephone that she is going to die in seven days. With the help of her close friend Noah (Martin Henderson), who watches the tape, as does her son, Rachel begins a race against time to unravel the mystery and avert the danger that surrounds the tape, before it can claim all their lives.

Review by Craig Miller:
The incessant need for Hollywood to remake slightly arthouse foreign films into more palatable American fodder has resulted in some mixed results over the past few years. Cameron Crowe’s remake of the 1997 Spanish film Abre Los Ojos (Open Your Eyes), Vanilla Sky, and Steven Soderbergh’s reworking of the Russian classic Solaris, while far from disastrous, failed to set the world alight.

A problem not encountered with the remake of The Ring. With the 1998 Japanese original Ringu having the majority of people who saw it refusing to answer a phone call for weeks, this inherently Japanese film, which seemingly relied on an understanding of the Japanese culture, transcended the boundaries, as all good films do, to become one of the more scarier films of recent years – universally.

The potency and thrills of the original have magically been reproduced and, while director Gore Verbinski’s (responsible for 2001’s The Mexican and 1997’s Mousehunt) take on this modern classic is not solely immersed in Japanese culture, the key elements that made the original so unsettling are still present this time around.

With freaky imagery and a constant feeling of being watched throughout the entire film, Verbinski never gives the audience a place to rest, as the horror takes place mostly in your head with virtually no gore and very little in the way of sudden shocks. His reliance is on thrills and psychologically unsettling the viewer rather than amassing a ridiculous body count like so many of the slasher flicks in the horror genre today, and it works marvelously well. Outstanding performances from Naomi Watts and the supporting cast keep the film constantly grounded in reality, as over-the-top acting, a staple in most horror pieces, would have surely seen this remake struggle.

The DVD itself is light on extras, but the few special features included on this disc are a fantastic addition. The 16 minute experimental film by Verbinski is a montage of deleted scenes which seem to have been edited together to give the feel of another chapter in the film, with back-story and some more spookiness in tow. The highlight is certainly the hidden easter egg, which can be found on the main menu, and is a full length version of the tape which is seen in the movie. 

If it gets too much for you, you will get the surprise of your life when you try and turn it off!! Certainly one to watch with the light on and, for heaven’s sake ….unplug the phone!

Published July 3, 2003

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(US) 2002

CAST: Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, David Dorfman, Brian Cox

DIRECTOR: Gore Verbinski

SCRIPT: Ehren Kruger

RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes

PRESENTATION: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, 5.1 Dolby Digital

SPECIAL FEATURES: Experimental film by Gore Verbinski, Hidden easter egg: The full length version of “the video”.


DVD RELEASE: 2 July 2003 (retail), rental out now

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