The Ring (2002)
November 19, 2021 5:19 PM - Subscribe

It sounded like just another urban legend: A videotape filled with nightmarish images, leading to a phone call foretelling the viewer's death in exactly seven days. As a newspaper reporter, Rachel Keller was naturally skeptical of the story, until four teenagers all met with mysterious deaths exactly one week after watching just such a tape. Allowing her investigative curiosity to get the better of her, Rachel tracks down the video... and watches it. Now she has just seven days to unravel the mystery of the Ring.

Currently streaming in the US on Amazon Prime, Paramount+, and Pluto TV.
posted by DirtyOldTown (9 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This isn't bad but it doesn't hold up that well. Most of the mileage it gets is from cribbing the imagery from the original. It's almost shockingly by-the-numbers.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:21 PM on November 19, 2021

I dunno; I rewatched recently, and I think it holds up pretty well. It’s not a shocking as the original, but the relationship between the parents works quite well, and the callousness required to “save” the afflicted seems… starker? somehow. Plus the scenery is both beautiful and oppressive.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:36 AM on November 20, 2021 [4 favorites]

It looks great and I didn't hate it. The story beats just didn't hit the same way to me this time. The Hollywood remake aspect of it just seemed to sit front and center.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:45 AM on November 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

I can see that; it didn’t hit me that way, but I can see how it could.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:22 PM on November 20, 2021

Ha, I kind of can’t leave this alone. To me, the original is iconic, but the US remake tells a tighter story with better production values. If you are only going to see one, Ringu is the way to go; if you only speak English and hate subtitles, well, the US version is fine. It’s certainly better than any of the sequels I’ve seen, most of which are confusing dull messes that rely on you remembering that the first one scared you. The series as a whole immediately lost track of what made the first one have so much impact; at least the US remake gets it, even if it’s maybe too slick….
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:10 AM on November 21, 2021

So like, I saw this version first, and loved it.
I watched Ringu later, liked it, but not as much.
Tiny things seemed to make the difference for me:
“She never sleeps” does so much of the work in making the US version scary for me by that point in the movie.
Ringu has a lot more explanation of what her deal is, down to the subtitles using the phrase “psychic powers” and IIRC saying her family was like circus people or something. A lot of the mystery was demystified in Ringu, and the remake played it a lot closer to the vest.

I agree the sequel to the remake was some really sad garbage, though. Atmosphere great, competently filmed, produced, and acted, but it was the horror movie equivalent of the Chris Farley show: “Remember, you remember the part with the water on the floor? And then there were flies? That was awesome.”
posted by Mister Moofoo at 11:19 AM on November 21, 2021 [3 favorites]

I watched both Ringu and Ring before I went to Japan as an English teacher back in the early aughts. I love both versions for different reasons (centipedes/mukade - scary! Brian Cox - hooray!), but the whole universe gave me the gift of Sadako. I had hair past my waist when I first moved to my little town in Gifu, and when my students were being squirrely, I would pull my hair over my face and start twitching at them. They would all scream and play-terror run away, shouting, "Sadako! Sadako!"

A good time was had by all.
posted by ikahime at 10:35 PM on November 24, 2021 [5 favorites]

Ringu/The Ring is in a category with Noroi (and, at least in the beginning, Koji Shirashi's later film Occult) where the action is primarily driven by, essentially, detective work. They're horror stories, but they're equally mysteries where the thing being investigated just happens to be supernatural horror. A lot of horror protagonsits are ultimately reactive (bad thing is happening, protagonist is on back foot until, maybe, the end where they overcome) and I really like this more proactive structure and would like to see more films like them.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:45 AM on November 26, 2021 [4 favorites]

I saw The Ring in the theatre long before I could see Ringu (pre-streaming, and living in French Quebec, foreign movies were hard to come by!) and have always preferred The Ring because it always felt more considered than Ringu; I strongly suspect had I seen them in the opposite order I'd feel differently.

Re-watched yesterday with Kitteh as part of an October horror movie challenge, and I was surprised at how poorly I found it held up. There are absolutely glaring plot holes that escaped me in 2002 (there's no way the protagonist could possibly know about the tapes when she goes up to the rental cottages is the one that really sticks in my craw). I've seen the jittery video-artifact Samara effects so much in the last 21 years that it all hits as hokey and not scary.

"You're not supposed to help her!" still hits me as hard as it did. I think the cultural context around the movie is so huge now that it it's impossible to watch for the first time and understand how that hit when The Ring was new. Coming in naive in 2002 it plays almost perfectly as an "abused and misunderstood girl shoved down the wall by loopy parents, saving her from the well solves the ghost problem" story until that point, and it was a tremendous gear shift when I saw it for the first time. The idea that Samara was, in fact, pure evil and the Horseparents had been right to shove her down the wall was a complete rug-pull.
posted by Shepherd at 9:59 AM on October 19

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