The Ring (2002): ***½
Directed by Gore Verbinski
I really liked this movie. There wasn't anythign specifically frightening in it, but like Signs (2002), it was more about mood, and the idea of surviving a fate that seems inevitable. There are no spring-loaded cats. The "horror" is mostly about tension and simply not knowing answers to questions, until finally at the end there is a scene of absolute, revealing terror, when a character comes face to face with the answer.
Gore Verbinski's movie is a remake of an incredibly popular Japanese film with the same name. I purposefully didn't see that film first because I wanted to come into this one with a clean slate, and not be forever comparing it to the Japanese version. Therefore I probably like it better than the people who have seen the Japanese version, but I don't care.
Naomi Watts holds the movie together as the too-busy mom who's creepy, almost-supernatural son (Aidan, played by young David Dorfmann) fortunately can take care of himslef. He even frequently takes care of Naomi Watts, even laying out her clothes for the next day and things like that. Martin Henderson is a big, likeable lug as Noah, Aidan's father and Naomi Watts's ex.
The central mystery in this movie is very interesting, as Naomi Watts and Noah try to find the origin of the tape and the images contained therein. There are some truly great moments that had me grinning and mumbling "cool" under my breath.
It's really hard to write a good review of this movie, I've discovered, without giving anythign away. And since it's at the core a mystery, I really don't want to give anythign away. So I'll just say this: If you go into this movie thinking you won't like it, with the attitude that you won't let the film scare you, you won't like it and it won't scare you. And really, what's the point of going to a movie if you try not to enjoy it? You have to go in with a clean slate and an open mind, and then it'll work its way under your skin. Several times I found I had been holding my breath during scenes. And that's the next best thing to taking your breath away.
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