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The Ring /

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, Brian Cox, Shannon Cochran, Lindsay Frost 

Directed by: Gore Verbinski 

Produced by: Walter F. Parkes, Laurie MacDonald, J.C. Spink 

Written by: Ehren Kruger, Scott Frank 

Distributor: Dreamworks


Movie Image
Movie Image
Movie Image

     The one group of people who wear The Ring are those who are not shown on the screen. The cast is wonderful, and Naomi Watts and David Dorfman’s performances are excellent, but the producer, director, and cinematographer are the ones who molded the entire film. The end result isn’t anything masterful, but the material held my interests from start to finish. The content presented in front of me wasn’t even that entertaining, but if you are to look at the way the actual filmmaking is done, the piece appears to be a surprisingly skillful work. The Ring is similar to fear dot com; its production is more admirable than its true substance, though this luckily manages to accomplish a lot more than any “fear” website.

     You see the ring. You die. The story is about a video tape that has the potential to make a person die. If you watch the entire tape, your phone rings and a woman announces that you have seven days to live, which is the truth. There is no evidence to conclude that the video is the thing making all of its victims die; no doctor in the universe can explain why their systems are just, suddenly stopping. That is, until a journalist named Rachel Keller’s (Naomi Watts) niece dies and her son claims that her late relative told him that she knew her life was coming to an end. He had been drawing pictures of dead people in school even up to a week before she passed, the amount of time you have to live after you see the strange and mysterious video tape. Mrs. Keller stays on the case for a while in hopes of gaining new information, and then ends up watching the video for herself when her curiosity overpowers what her brain can handle. Will she die or find a way to beat this unknown of force? As the film moves on we discover tons of more shocking facts about the background of the video tape and how it was created, and come to be fully absorbed in some rather startling plot developments along the way.

     As stated in the first paragraph, the production crew made a terrific flick from a theatrical standpoint, which is ultimately why I am recommending it. Director Gore Verbinski and cinematographer Bojan Bazelli birthed some great camerawork that I am very fond of. I particularly enjoyed a shot where multiple cameras smoothly moved over a bridge that Watts’ character drove over, and then quickly faded into an aerial shot of the same vehicle on the main road. Verbinski and Bazelli’s work with the film was ground-breaking, but they were not the best of all, that is a title that goes to producer Benita Allen-Honess, whose work was in a word - inspiring. The way she made the beautifully cut scene transitions that went along with the gorgeous direction and cinematography was wonderful. Also, the bizarre and contrastive “ring” scenes that she birthed were undeniably creepy because of the way their interesting cuts were put together. All of these aspects work stunningly with the great screenplay that I also admire.

     This might sound “cheap” or dishonest, but I truly think that this film could’ve benefited from an “R” rating. The filmmakers cut it down to a “PG-13” because they did not want to lose their target audience, teenagers. The grisly images and creepy gore combined with some fairly explicit dialogue already stretched the rating, but this is one of the few cases where I can say that they needed more of it. I didn’t want to see gore in specific while watching it, but I wanted some more background information, and in order to do so, they would have to add more violence. The decision to cut the flick to a PG-13 rating was the more marketable of the two options, but was definitely not the best for the movie.

     The Ring works as light, but good quality entertainment that produces quite a few good scares. The production, direction, and cinematography were definitely the overall highlights of the film, but the performances are good as well. The most admirable element of the story itself is that it never takes shortcuts and leaves intentional plot holes to make us about unfinished events. This eventually ends up adding quite a some great little scares to the already suspenseful material, and allows me to compliment the screenplay, too. If you’re not looking for a masterpiece, and have set you’re expectations to the right level, The Ring will work as mysterious, but short-lived entertainment. But if you aren’t, don’t bother because you will just find it to be an unnecessary repeat of tired, cheesy material; though letting the stupidity get to you is really half the fun.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews


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