The Ring is a 2002 American supernatural psychological horror film directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Naomi Watts. It is a remake of the 1998 Japanese horror film Ring, which was based on the novel Ring by Koji Suzuki.
The Ring was released in theaters on October 18, 2002 and received mostly positive reviews, with many critics praising the reliance on dread and visuals over gore and the direction along with the screenplay writing but criticizing the character development. The film also grossed over $249 million on a $48 million production budget making it one of the highest grossing horror films of all time. The film was followed by two sequels, The Ring Two (2005) and Rings (2016).
The Ring is notable for being the first American remake of a Japanese horror classic and for paving the way for a number of subsequent J-Horror remakes such as The Grudge, Dark Water, Pulse, and One Missed Call.
Teenagers Katie Embry and Becca Kotler discuss the urban legend of a cursed videotape that kills the viewer seven days after watching it. Katie admits she watched the tape with her boyfriend and two others at a campsite a week ago. Suddenly, the telephone rings and both of the teenagers are initially startled, but the caller turns out to be Katie's mother. After speaking with her mother, Katie begins to notice eerie noises coming from upstairs, where her friend had supposedly gone. After witnessing other paranormal phenomena, Katie hesitantly yells to Becca from the bottom of the stairs, as the sounds become intensely unsettling. Reaching the top of the stairs, Katie notices water leaking from her bedroom and as soon as she opens the door, she sees an image of a well on her TV screen, which frightens her to death. Becca is later institutionalised after witnessing Katie's death.
At Katie's funeral, her aunt Rachel Keller, a Seattle journalist, is asked by her mother to investigate the cause of Katie's death. Her mother tells her that she found Katie's distorted body inside the closet and that none of the doctors she consulted could explain her sudden death. Rachel's son Aidan also tells her that Katie predicted her own death about a week ago. Rachel learns Katie's three friends also died on the same date and time. Travelling to Shelter Mountain Inn, Rachel discovers the videotape and watches its haunting imagery in the cabin Katie stayed in. The cabin's telephone rings and on the line, a girl's voice tells Rachel she has "seven days".
Rachel turns to Noah Clay, her ex-boyfriend and Aidan's father, for help. Noah, a video analyst, is skeptical of the curse but watches the tape, asking Rachel to copy it for further examination. Rachel discovers hidden footage of a lighthouse on the tape. Research reveals the identity of a woman on the tape as Anna Morgan, a deceased horse breeder from Moesko Island, who committed suicide after her beloved horses all drowned from a mysterious ailment. Rachel and Noah both experience supernatural phenomena, and Rachel catches Aidan watching the tape. Leaving Aidan in the care of her sister, Rachel travels by ferry to Moesko Island while Noah tries to obtain Anna's medical files during her time in therapy. However, a horse aboard the ferry is spooked by Rachel's presence and falls off the ferry. Passengers then see blood in the water, indicating that the horse was killed by the propellers.
Arriving on the island, Rachel visits the Morgan Ranch but is quickly dismissed by Anna's husband Richard when she starts asking questions about their adopted daughter Samara. Rachel meets the island GP, Dr. Grasnik, who explains Anna was unable to have children, leading to the adoption of Samara. However, Samara possessed unusual psychic abilities that drove her parents close to insanity. Rachel sneaks into the Morgans' house and discovers a recorded medical interview with Samara, who implies she drove the horses to death after being locked in the barn by her father. Rachel confronts Richard, but he commits suicide in a bathtub. Noah arrives and they break into the barn, find Samara's bedroom in the loft, and discover a picture of a tree burnt into the wall – the tree seen at Shelter Mountain.
Rachel and Noah go to the cabin and discover a stone well beneath the floor; the well is also present on the tape. Rachel is knocked down the well and experiences a flashback, revealing Anna pushed Samara down the well and sealed her in before committing suicide herself. Rachel finds Samara's corpse at the bottom of the well, which is removed by the authorities and later given a proper burial.
The next day, Rachel returns home with Aidan but he warns her that she should not have helped Samara out of the well, as the curse is still in effect. In his apartment, Noah witnesses his television turn itself on. As he watches, Samara crawls out of the onscreen well and then crawls right out of the television, which frightens him to death.
In enraged grief, Rachel burns the original tape but realises she was spared by the curse because she had made a copy, while Noah did not. In an effort to save Aidan, who watched the tape, Rachel aids him in making a copy. Aidan asks her what will they do when they show it to someone else, but Rachel does not reply.
- Naomi Watts as Rachel Keller
- Martin Henderson as Noah Clay
- David Dorfman as Aidan Keller
- Brian Cox as Richard Morgan
- Jane Alexander as Dr. Grasnik
- Lindsay Frost as Ruth Embry
- Amber Tamblyn as Katherine "Katie" Embry
- Rachael Bella as Rebecca "Becca" Kotler
- Daveigh Chase as Samara Morgan
- Shannon Cochran as Anna Morgan
- Richard Lineback as Innkeeper
- Pauley Perrette as Beth
- Sara Rue as Babysitter
- Sasha Barrese as Teen Girl
- Adam Brody as Kellen (Teen #3)
The film features an original score composed by Hans Zimmer. The soundtrack release did not coincide with the film's theatrical run. It was released in 2005, accompanying The Ring Two in an album that combined music from both The Ring and The Ring Two.
|The Ring/The Ring Two (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)|
|1.||"The Well"||Hans Zimmer, Henning Lohner||11:24|
|2.||"Before You Die You See the Ring"||Hans Zimmer||7:09|
|3.||"This is Going to Hurt"||Hans Zimmer, Martin Tillman||2:48|
|4.||"Burning Tree"||Hans Zimmer, Henning Lohner, Martin Tillman, Trevor Morris||10:13|
|5.||"Not Your Mommy"||Hans Zimmer, Henning Lohner, Clay Duncan||3:59|
|6.||"Shelter Mountain"||Hans Zimmer, Martin Tillman, Trevor Morris||4:10|
|7.||"The Ferry"||Hans Zimmer, Henning Lohner, Martin Tillman, Trevor Morris, Bart Hendrickson||3:15|
|8.||"I'll Follow Your Voice"||Hans Zimmer, Henning Lohner||6:28|
|9.||"She Never Sleeps (remix)"||2:17|
|10.||"Let the Dead Get In (remix)"||3:59|
|11.||"Seven Days (remix)"||3:24|
In order to advertise The Ring, many promotional Web sites were formed featuring the characters and places in the film. The video from the cursed videotape was played in late night programming over the summer of 2002 without any reference to the movie.
The film was financially successful, and the box office gross increased from its first weekend to its second. The initial success led DreamWorks to increase the film into 700 additional theaters. The Ring made $8.3 million in its first two weeks in Japan, compared to Ring's $6.6 million total box-office gross. The success of The Ring opened the way for American remakes of several other Japanese horror films, including The Grudge and Dark Water. A sequel, The Ring Two, was released in North American theaters on March 18, 2005. It was directed by Hideo Nakata, the director of Ring.
The Ring was met with generally positive reviews from film critics, receiving 72% favorable reviews out of 201 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. The site's consensus reads: "With little gore and a lot of creepy visuals, The Ring gets under your skin, thanks to director Gore Verbinski's haunting sense of atmosphere and an impassioned performance from Naomi Watts." Metacritic gave the film a score of 57/100 (mixed or average) from 36 reviews. On Ebert & Roeper, Richard Roeper gave the film "Thumbs Up" and said it was very gripping and scary despite some minor unanswered questions. Roger Ebert gave the film "Thumbs Down" and felt it was boring and "borderline ridiculous"; he also disliked the extended, detailed ending. IGN's Jeremy Conrad praised the movie for its atmospheric set up and cinematography, and said that "there are 'disturbing images'… but the film doesn't really rely on gore to deliver the scares… The Ring relies on atmosphere and story to deliver the jumps, not someone being cleaved in half by a glass door" (referencing a scene from Thirteen Ghosts). Film Threat's Jim Agnew called it "dark, disturbing and original throughout. You know that you're going to see something a little different than your usual studio crap." Verbinski was praised for slowly revealing the plot while keeping the audience interested, "the twists keep on coming, and Verbinski shows a fine-tuned gift for calibrating and manipulating viewer expectations."
Despite the praise given to Verbinski's direction, critics railed the characters as being weak. The Chicago Reader's Jonathan Rosenbaum said that the film was "an utter waste of Watts… perhaps because the script didn't bother to give her a character," whereas other critics such as William Arnold from Seattle Post-Intelligencer said the opposite: "she projects intelligence, determination and resourcefulness that carry the movie nicely." Many critics regarded Dorfman's character as a "creepy-child" "Sixth Sense cliché." A large sum of critics, like Miami Herald's Rene Rodriguez and USA Today's Claudia Puig found themselves confused and thought that by the end of the movie "[the plot] still doesn't make much sense."
The movie was number 20 on the cable channel Bravo's list of the 100 Scariest Movie Moments. Bloody Disgusting ranked the film sixth in their list of the 'Top 20 Horror Films of the Decade', with the article saying "The Ring was not only the first American "J-Horror" remake out of the gate; it also still stands as the best."
|2002||Saturn Awards||Best Movie Horror||Won|
|Best Actress||Naomi Watts||Won|
|2003||MTV Movie Awards||Best Movie||Nominated|
|Best Villain||Daveigh Chase||Won|
|Teen Choice Awards||Best Movie Horror||Won|
It follows with Rings (2005) a short film that continues in between The Ring and The Ring 2. The Ring Two (2005) continues 6 months after the first movie and Rings (2016) continues 13 years after the first movie.