The Ring
*** BM
Starring: Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, Brian Cox, David Dorfman, Daveigh Chase, Amber Tamblyn, Rachael Bella


CriminyPete Awards

Good Movie Archive

Bad Movie Archive

The eGroup

Message Board


Well, I obeyed the tagline. Before I died, I saw "The Ring."

The story is thus: When trading creepy urban legend stories, a teenager tells her girlfriend about "The Mystery of The Murderous Videotape," where there's this videotape, see, and if you watch it, you immediately get a call from a whispery voice that says "Your mom!" - no, sorry, it says "Seven Days!" and then hangs up. Mein gott, IT KNOWS YOU WATCHED IT SOMEHOW! Criminy Pete, that's scary! It's made even scarier when the person actually DIES in seven days, like the opening teen does after wandering around her house for an hour getting all creepified, only to wander up to her room to find that the television in her room has turned on the faucets. Then she looks in... and the TV flickers on, and JUMPIN' JESUS, SHE'S ALL DEAD!


It's, like, the TOTAL opposite of that bumper sticker!

Enter crack hotshot ace reporter Rachel Keller (Watts), auntie of the Opening Teen. She's urged by her grieving sister to start nosin' around, axin' quet-zions and gettin' the scizoop on the rizeasons behizind the dizeath, Gnome Sane*? She hunts down this rumored "Videotape Of Doom" at an old cabin where the wayward teens had stayed the week prior and viewed said doomtape. She watches it and gets, like, totally creeped out and sets out on a frantic hunt to solve "The Conundrum Of The Killer Maxell VHS VideoCassette (SP: 2 Hrs, EP: 6 Hrs)" before her time runs out. So she makes sure to show Noah (Henderson), the father of her child, the tape as well, then leaves it lying around for her kid (Dorfman) to randomly watch, too. Good job, mom.

The first thing you notice about the film is that they waste no time in delivering a shot of Naomi Watts in her underwear. The second thing you notice is that it's going to be another "creepy child" movie, when Rachel's precocious zombie-like kid has some sort of prognostication ability and a monotone voice. The third thing you notice is that really awfully delivered expository dialogue in lieu of character development makes things less scary. This doe-eyed dipshit Noah speaks softly and brings up valid points, and then Naomi Watts flies into a rage for some reason: "This is the part where I call you a flake that never finishes anything (note: he had not yet started anything) and you call me an obsessive bitch, so let's just skip to the leaving part and save ourselves some grief." This was delivered flatly and made no sense other than being forced backstory, and that's when I made the mental shift from thinking this film might be good to realizing it would be stupid. This shift was furthered along by the apparent need for everyone to read things aloud to themselves.

While it does have some interesting ideas and some genuinely unnerving points, the film turns out to be marginally creepy at best, with some decent imagery. The director seemed to have 800 "ooh-that'd-be-scary" concepts that he tried to cram into one film. I find it amusing that videotapes are now old enough to be considered as spooky as old filmstrips and say, those late-night black-and-white reruns on the Game Show Network. It's also rather sad that, when given the chance to interrogate the patriarch of the videotape family (Cox), this crackshot hotace mild-mannered roving reporter for a major metropolitan newspaper never manages to lob questions at the guy that might give her the answers she's looking for... such as, I dunno... maybe "I HAVE A VIDEOTAPE ABOUT YOUR FAMILY THAT KILLS PEOPLE! WHAT THE FUCK IS UP WIT DAT?"

It's not awful, but I grow weary of "strange and unnerving ghostly children" films, and that's what this boils down to - which is hard to do in itself, given the convoluted storyline.

* "Gnome Sane" is a comical way to spell out the way lots of youngsters today, particularly those of a more "hip-hop" persuasion, pronounce "Know what I'm saying?" these days. It is now time for laffs.

Back to CriminyPete.Com Knee Jerk Spoilers