Yes, of course I know this movie came out almost ten years ago. Yes, I know pretty much every person on the planet has seen this movie. However, I watched this movie for the first time in a long time last night and when I asked Rampaige whether or not it was worth reviewing, her response was “Yes, it would please Samara”, and I thought that was funny enough to warrant a review. And considering we have this movie to blame for there being a remake of every horror movie from Japan/Tokyo/China/Korea/all of Asia, I figured it was worth a shot to go back and see how this film holds up.
Some of my favorite movies start this way, but end up a lot sexier.
Based on the Japanese film Ringu, the story is about a mysterious videotape that, after watching, plays a mysterious part in your death seven days later. It opens with two females in a bedroom that you think will end up having some sort of tickle fight in their underwear, but actually results in one of them dying. The girl’s death causes her aunt, a reporter (Naomi Watts), to investigate this mysterious tape and determine whether or not it’s just an urban legend. Using technology as her friend, she uncovers clues that lead her to the source of the tape. It turns out that a young girl, who was apparently so evil/psychotic she drove horses to kill themselves (?), was murdered by her mother and thrown into a well. She lived down there for seven days (bingo!) before dying. Her spirit/soul/whatever then burned terrifying images onto a videotape, and it is her spirit that comes back to haunt and kill everyone who doesn’t help her.
Sadly, this movie ruined the long hair/dirty white gown outfits I used to wear.
As I mentioned, after the success of this film, there were countless remakes of horror movies coming from Asia that involved restless spirits coming to kill people, but out of all of those, The Ring was definitely the most successful, both financially and creatively. At the time it was made, there wasn’t a presence of filmmaking similar to this film here in America, despite it saturating the Asian market, so it was something that was relatively new to American audiences. For that reason, this movie scared the shit out of me, as well as lots of other people. The blue/gray filters, the subtle and ominous soundtrack combined with jump cuts to disturbing images and sharp sound effects, and the overall bleak look of everything was new to most people and it was scary. The footage that was on the actual tape was also unsettling, but not just because it was gory. Okay so maybe the fingernail coming off was pretty gross, but everything else on the tape was pretty freaky.
If I had a nickel for every time I found this in my closet…
I mentioned that everyone has seen this movie, and even if you haven’t, you might feel like you remember it, despite the fact that you might just be confusing it with a different remake of a horror film made in Asia. Off the top of my head, I can remember The Ring, The Ring 2, The Grudge, The Grudge 2, The Eye, One Missed Call, Pulse, Dark Water, and Mirrors. For the most part, all of these movies suck. The obvious exception being Pulse, because Kristen Bell was in it, so don’t you dare try to talk shit about a movie she is in where the internet accidentally unlocks a mysterious ghost frequency. For the most part, all of these films are based on restless, generally vengeful, spirits, and if they all sound similar, that’s because they are. I have to point out the fact that even the originals that were made in Asia were also lacking in creativity, so just because these remakes were pointless and sucked, that doesn’t mean the movies they were based on where all that good either.
You aren’t normally supposed to look directly at an eclipse…Naomi Watts can do whatever she wants though.
Of all the films just mentioned, they generally all take place in nondescript cities with lots of apartment complexes, feature ghosts with long black hair and porcelain white skin, and the members of the population all seem to ignore one another. It definitely seems like these are pretty accurate depictions of cities in Japan/Tokyo/Korea, but there aren’t many cities like that in the U.S., so it just seems like all these movies take place in the same fake city. As far as all the ghosts having fair skin and long dark hair, I get the impression it is related to the Geisha color, and having the juxtaposition of one image symbolizing beauty and the other symbolizing death is what makes the ghosts so scary. The impact here seems to be more derived from the fact that these ghosts are obviously humans, but the stark contrast between fair skin and dark hair almost makes them seem fake. I don’t think we have seen the end of this style of horror movie, and since these movies continue to make money, I don’t think we have seen the end of remakes of those movies. Just don’t blame The Ring for the fact that all those other movies sucked, and especially don’t blame Naomi Watts, because, well…remember that scene in Mullholland Dr.?
Wolfman Moon Scale