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The Ring (2002) Anniversary Guest Post by Father of Tears

October 18th, 2012 by unkle lancifer · 5 Comments

October 18, 2012 is a milestone anniversary in horror. Ten years ago “The Ring” was released in theaters.

The movie was an American remake of the classic Japanese horror film “Ringu“. In fact, this would be the first of many controversial “J-Horror” American remakes (“The Grudge“, “Pulse“, “Dark Water” etc). Of that whole group “The Ring” would get the most favorable reviews. The basic premise of the film is a mysterious videotape that, when viewed, shows disturbing grainy green tinted black and white images. After the tape ends the viewer’s telephone rings and when it is answered a girl whispers “seven days”…which means you will DIE in seven days! After several teens die mysteriously one of the kid’s mothers has her younger reporter sister named Rachel go out and investigate. The reporter (Naomi Watts, fresh from her breakthrough role in “Mulholland Drive“) hears about the “killer videotape” after her niece’s funeral from one of her friends. Early on Rachel goes to a cabin where her niece Katie and her friends stayed at seven days before they died. While chatting with the innkeeper she learns he keeps a bunch of videotapes for the guests as the TV reception is bad (no cable?). Rachel notices a black VHS tape with no label and she takes it to her cabin. She plays the tape and gets the phone call…and the fun begins!

The Ring” had a gloomy atmosphere that was noted for not relying on gore and violence. There was a great slow building tension to this film as the main characters, Rachel and her ex Noah , were racing against the clock to solve the mystery of Samara and the “Killer Videotape”. When the climax to the film happens you are scared….but you are not subjected to blood splatter. Certain horror directors may use a specific color to enhance the film’s overall mood. Dario Argento used saturated reds in “Suspiria” to a great effect. “The Ring‘s”director Gore Verbinski used the color green in many of the scenes. In fact many of the outdoor scenes, especially those in rainy weather, had a murky green tint (the film does take place in the Pacific Northwest) to enhance this moody feeling. I am positive those green tinted scenes in “Twilight” were influenced by the outdoor scenes in “The Ring“. By the way, Hans Zimmer‘s music was also great for the film’s soundtrack. That haunting sad piano, those quiet bells and those deep sounding orchestral strings!

I have the soundtrack and when I want a break from my usual stash of 70’s prog-rock, Nine Inch Nails & St. Vincent I’ll play the CD. Hell, I used it to break in my Polk tower speakers!

The Ring” did have the obligatory sequel in “The Ring 2” which, despite having big name stars Elizabeth Perkins and Sissy Spacek, was weak when compared with the original. Still, “The Ring” would be the movie that would make Naomi Watts a household name. Amber Tamblyn, Rachel’s doomed niece Katie, would star in “The Grudge 2” and TV’s “Joan of Arcadia“. Also, the Samara character would become a horror film icon. It also should be noted that a younger Pauley Perrette would be in this movie playing Beth, the assistant to Noah in his video and photo workshop. Who’s she? Well, a year after being in “The Ring” she would be part of the hit TV show “NCIS” playing the goth forensics specialist Abby Sciuto! Not a bad legacy!

Now for those who have Blu-ray players “The Ring” was released in that format back in the Spring. The sequel, however, is not out in Blu-ray as of this writing. Oh, and that song heard in the background of the “Cursed Videotape”? It’s sampled from this Kindertrauma favorite:

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Tags: Special Guest Stars

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Oct 18, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Thanks FOT & Happy Birthday to THE RING! I was sooo skeptical when this movie came out. I passed it up in the theater and watched it at home expecting something sterile and mainstream. I ended up really loving it and I was not a big fan of the original. Naomi Watts is so interesting in this. She’s seems both plagued by guilt and weirdly cold and remote. She’s awesome.

    That damn hose falling off the boat haunts me! I love the visuals in this. It’s as if the entire movie takes place under water (submerged in a well!).

  • 2 ApocalypsejunkieNo Gravatar // Oct 18, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    I love this movie *except* for the horse scene. I just don’t like seeing animals get waxed. πŸ™

  • 3 Chuckles72No Gravatar // Oct 19, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Nice post FoT – The Ring deserves respect. I feel that it was not only a major hallmark for setting off an avalanche of interest J-horror, but for just being so darned scary. The Ring scared the sh*t out of a lot of people. For many Americans it was their first introduction to the Japanese concept of a ghost – a cruel creature of darkness that was not going to be appeased by the mere righting of some wrong. The end was a nasty surprise for viewers who were expecting a “Lady in White” resolution.

    FoT talks about the use of color in The Ring. I actually found some of the post-processing to be overkill – some of the shots looked downright aquatic. Still, all of that greenish blue moodiness contrasted well with the colors of one of my favorite images – the red, flaming maple tree. I found it to be iconic – a classic symbol of danger with a strong Halloween-y flavor. I recall it often when I see a back-lit red maple in the fall.

  • 4 FatherOfTearsNo Gravatar // Oct 19, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    Thanks for posting this! I just revisited the movie last night. Still a good scare even after seeing this many times over ten years! One thing I noticed while watching last night was how the lighthouse would be used in a night scene with Rachel in the Morgan house. While she watches the tape of Samara in the mental institution the room in back of her gets illuminated each time the lighthouse’s beam makes a pass. After a while one of the light passes shows that Richard Morgan is standing behind Rachel and he’s not too happy!

    One could also say that Rachel did what most parents have done: Forgetting about a dangerous object that’s been left lying out in the open within reach of a curious child. We’ve heard about kids getting a hold of a knife, gun, poisonous chemical and matches. Here she’s left the tape in her VCR. One night her son can’t sleep so he goes into the living room to see what’s on TV. Say, there’s a tape in the VCR! I’ll watch it!

    The movie also had a few interesting dates:

    October 18 is my sister’s birthday plus Pauley Perrette shares my birthday (March 27).

    @ Chuckles72: Yes, that green tint can be overkill at times. I wonder if people who watched it on DVD wondered if their TV was on the fritz! Oh, good mention of “The Lady in White” which has, in a sense a “fell good” ending.

    @ Apocalypsejunkie: That whole scene with the horse was unnerving! It kicked its way out of its trailer and stomped on cars! At times I thought “Say Rachel, when an animal shows signs it’s upset MOVE AWAY ASAP!” Of course she kept trying to pet it making the horse more agitated!

  • 5 Wednesday's ChildNo Gravatar // Oct 20, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    This is a great anniversary look back. I was very frightened by The Ring when it came out. I was living alone in an apartment at the time, and I couldn’t wait for the seven days past seeing the film to be up, lest that girl come crawling out of my TV! Definitely the best of the Asian remakes and the only one I like better than the original.

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