With a combination of Hitchcock-style thrills, French noir and post-modern horror, “The Ring,” starring Naomi Watts (“Mulholland Drive”) touches on everything just right, in order to bring terror to the screen.
The beginning, I admit, is somewhat hokey. It begins like a “Scream” movie would, but we should never judge a movie based on how it opens. The beginning introduces us to the idea of a video that if you watch it, you will get a phone call telling you that you only have seven days to live; then the prediction comes true.
And with the death of her niece, Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) decides to do a little investigating. Using her connections as an investigative reporter for a newspaper, she starts to delve into the mystery surrounding the tape.
After watching the tape herself, which is simply frightening and eerie, she gets the phone call with a small and wispy voice just saying “seven days” and nothing more. Thus the countdown begins; her time to uncover the mystery is very limited. She, against her own will, shows the tape to her ex (Martin Henderson), who works with film, in order to find out where it came from. But after watching, he too gets the phone call. And as the viewing base of the tape grows she must not only save herself, but also those she loves.
Okay, the premise may sound a little ridiculous to some of you, but this was intense. I normally do not get too freaked out or scared by movies, but I could not stop jumping and tensing up throughout the entire picture. There are images from this film that will infiltrate your darkest dreams.
It will take you on a thrilling and suspenseful ride through this woman’s dilemma. There are scenes and events that will make you clench the arm of the person next to you. It takes the techniques of Hitchcock’s gripping, edge-of-your-seat style of thrilling anticipation, combined with the French noir style of ambivalent ambiance and includes the frightening element involved in the postmodern horror flicks with “jumping-out-at-you” scenes.
Naomi Watts proves that she is not just a pretty face, but she can deliver. Many thought she already had proved this in “Mulholland Drive,” but I disagree. This is the performance that will launch this Aussie’s career.
Martin Henderson, who looks surprisingly like and acts like Edward Burns, does a solid supporting performance, but moreover than he, there is the little boy. With just the right approach he sets up the biggest twist in the movie, where you think it should be ending, but Oh God! It keeps going. The ending I felt was terrifically done and contradicted my predictions.
Everything about this film helps place it high on my all-time top-ten-list of scary films, which will be published next week for our Halloween edition of the The Dish. With that, and with the sour beginning that hurts the grade, this film gets an A-.