Full of beautiful cinematography, and positively dripping in an atmosphere of dread and inevitability, Gore Verbinski’s trendsetting remake of Ringu did J-horror better than any American director since.
The film follows Rachel Keller, an investigative reporter tasked by her sister to solve the mysterious death of her niece, who watched a cursed videotape and died of “natural causes” 7 days later. Rachel’s drawn into a world of supernatural intrigue, dead horses, abused children, and ghosts after viewing the tape herself. After her ex and her young son view the tape (the first by choice, the second by accident), Rachel is thrown into a race against time to solve the mystery before her seven days are up.
The Ring works because of its solid source material, its solid performances (including superb work by Naomi Watts in the lead), and its rock solid direction from genre filmmaker Gore Verbinski, primarily known for his Pirates of the Caribbean fare, and for making bloated, self-indulgent movies outside his few hits. Here, though, he’s restrained and subdued, with his trademark gorgeous cinematography and thick atmosphere intact.
From its opening moments, The Ring exudes dread – the whole film is weighted under a crushing sense of fate, making the events all the more tragic. A solid genre flick helmed by an artist at the top of his game, staffed by hardworking and talented performers, with an oozing sense of looming death, The Ring earns an A.