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Laramie Movie Scope:
The Ring

A very creepy horror film

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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October 19, 2002 -- "The Ring" is a very creepy ghost story that is long on atmosphere and mercifully short on blood and gore. The director, Gore Verbinski, shows more skill than most and building mood and suspense. It falls considerably short of "The Sixth Sense," however.

"The Ring" is about the mystery surrounding a deadly videotape. Anyone who watches the videotape is dooomed to die in exactly one week. Naomi Watts ("Mulholland Drive") stars as Rachel Keller, a reporter who gets involved in the mystery when one of her relatives becomes a victim of the tape. She learns that four young people all watched the tape and all of them died at 10 p.m., exactly one week after they watched the tape. So what does she do? She watches the tape, of course, then brings it home, where her young son, Aidan (David Dorfman), also watches the tape. As soon as she watches the tape, the phone rings, and a spooky voice says "seven days." Now Keller must solve the mystery of the tape in one week, or she and her son are doomed.

I can't say very much about the mystery without spoiling the ending, so let's just say it has to do with the supernatural. Keller teams up with an old friend, Noah, (Martin Henderson of "Windtalkers") to track down the origins of the tape. This leads them to many spooky, remote locations, rain, lightning, and reclusive people with dark secrets. The movie maintains this dark, threatening mood very well right up to the end of the film. The ending is just about perfect, but the movie doesn't end there. It keeps going. The pseudo ending of the film, which happens after the real ending, is sort of anticlimactic, and it makes even less sense than the rest of the film, which has already stretched credulity to the breaking point.

Even with the crummy ending, the rest of the film is good enough to recommend it. The film is generally well-made and well-acted, with some good cinematography by Bojan Bazelli ("Kalifornia") and some very spooky images on that mysterious videotape. The editing by Craig Wood ("The Mexican") is also very effective. There are some of those subliminal-type images as seen in "The Exorcist" spliced into the film here and there. Brian Cox ("The Rookie") has a nice little supporting role in the film. Award-winning makeup man Rick Baker also has a hand in a few scenes in the movie involving some creepy death masks. Award-winning composer Hans Zimmer contributed a creepy musical score to the film as well. This film rates a C+.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information. Click here to see a page of photos from The Ring.

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Copyright © 2002 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)