When the calendar page turns to October, we Rejects have only one thought: horror. To celebrate this grandest and darkest of months, we’ll cover one excellent horror film a day for the entirety of the month. That’s 31 Days of Horror and 31 Films perfect for viewing on a dark, chilly, October night. If you, like us, love horror and Halloween, give us a Hell Yeah and keep coming every day this month for a new dose of adrenaline.
Synopsis: Beware unmarked video tapes. Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) discovers this when her niece, Katie (Amber Tamblyn) is found dead in her bedroom, her face horribly distorted like something out of an Edvard Munch painting. Keller’s a journalist and her reporter’s curiosity sends her on a journey to find the cause of her niece’s death. She discovers a legend about a video tape. When viewed it leads to the death of the viewer in seven days. Her investigation becomes an increasingly bizarre search for the truth about a girl named Samara. Her journey becomes more urgent after she watches the video, and even worse when her son does.
Killer Scene: The Ring is a psychological thriller not a bloody massacre. The victims are quite literally scared to death. There is a suicide by electrocution, horses driven mad, but the build up of fear in the film is of a seriously creepy, spooky variety. Specifically, the moment when Samara crawls slowly out of the television screen as Noah watches on in horror. Water pours from the screen, she jump flashes right into his face, and the audience soils themselves.
Violence: Psychological violence is the trademark of The Ring. There’s the constant threat of an unknown, unspeakable terror that doesn’t involve weapons, but nightmarish images, a demon child invading the minds of the innocent to exact revenge.
Sex: There’s no nudity or sex in The Ring. No nubile teens in danger in the typical horror movie way.
Scares: That is plentiful but not in the crazy killer jumping from behind a bush. It’s scarier than that. Beautifully shot with evocative nightmarish imagery. There’s the ringing phone with the voice on the other end that predicts nothing but inevitable death. Static on a television isn’t just the cable going out. A steady build up of increasingly creepy, eerie and bizarre images and events.
Final Thoughts: The Ring is far more entertaining to me than films with bloody body counts. The killer video tape is reminiscent of Salvador Dali’s Un Chien Andalou. The filmmakers had to have it in mind when they created the images on the tape from Hell. The movie is moody and has an overall atmosphere of impending doom. Naomi Watts, always reliably good, is very good as Keller racing against time to find the answers behind the cursed video. David Dorfman as Aiden, Keller’s young son, is the perfect version of the wiser than his years.
I watch The Ring knowing it’ll scare me, but there’s a haunting quality that makes it irresistible.