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: