Black October 20: The Ring

October 20, 2009

Before you die, you see The Ring. Unless you don’t. Because some of you may never have seen it.

As I review the horror DVDs in my collection, I have discussed crap one day, classics the next. The Ring is in a class by itself. Please be clear: I am talking about the American remake of the Japanese original, 2002 vs. 1998. I’ve seen the original. It’s pretty good. But the American version knocked my Spock off, and is, I think, the scariest movie of the past decade.

Plot: A Seattle reporter named Rachel learns about a “cursed videotape” that kills you if you watch it, and seeks out to learn the truth. She brings her young son along. Evil, terrible things ensue. It’s a ghost story for the 21st century, a tale of hidden sin and a new kind of vengeance.

While Naomi Watts is a solid lead as Rachel, it’s David Dorfman, the young actor playing her son, Aidan, who makes this film for me. He’s a pretty creepy-looking kid, and brings a haunted dignity to his understated performance.

Why it works: Nothing is expected. There is a perfect false ending. And the whole thing is shot through a cold blue-green filter of fear, something that drives our dread as Rachel keeps exploring the unknown.

This movie came as electronic media was changing rapidly, and its exploration of how we interact with the digital ether helps boost the amplitude of fear. As I have said before, I don’t want to be shown the evil … I want to feel the evil. This movie delivers on that front.



  1. out of all the movies I have always preferred Ringu 2. It gets me everytime. But The Ring will always carry a special place in my heart as it was the 2nd DVD I ever bought! lol

  2. I’m so glad you picked this one for your Black October extravaganza! This movie scared the living everything out of me. I couldn’t get the imagery out my mind for weeks. Plus, like you say, it is exquisitely filmed and the atmosphere of this is thick with cold, palpable fear.

  3. You’re one of the only people I know who rates this above Ringu. I haven’t seen either.

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