Content Warning: This article discusses a movie with horror elements and gore.
Hey readers! I’m here with your last Friday Film Forecast as I am graduating next week. This week I’ll be reviewing Gore Verbinski's 2002 horror film, “The Ring.”
After scrolling for an unnecessarily long time to find a movie to watch, I headed for my DVDs and found a classic — well, a classic to my family — and put in “The Ring.”
“The Ring” is about journalist Rachel, played by Naomi Watts. Rachel follows in her late niece's footsteps to partake in an urban legend/as she works to uncover the real reason behind her death.
The urban legend involves a videotape, and immediately after watching it viewers will receive a phone call saying “seven days.” Seven days later, the viewer dies at the exact same time they watched the video.
The tape is not necessarily scary, but it’s unsettling with the odd images it includes and the eerie background noise. It makes you squirm in your seat at moments, especially during the split-second shots of a poll of larvae turning into people and a nail bed being impaled by an actual nail.
The movie takes a turn when Rachel finally gives in to his requests and shows the tape to her videographer friend and baby daddy Noah, played by Martin Henderson. At first, he doesn’t believe her, but after a phone call and a couple of days of odd feelings, he realizes Rachel was serious.
The major conflict of the film is with Noah and Rachel’s son, Aidan, played by David Dorfman. Aidan is a fairly troubled child and was very close to his cousin, who died from watching the tape. Three days into Rachel’s viewing of the tape, she wakes up in the middle of the night to her son watching the tape in their living room.
My big complaint about this conflict is it could have been so easily avoided if Rachel had just locked the video tape up rather than leaving it out in the open on a TV stand for a child to find. But, it does add an emotional element to the film which is important for any movie.
The movie takes place in Seattle, Washington. This is part of what makes this movie so fun, but also — I’m nitpicking now — annoying. The fun part is you see shots of Washington throughout the whole film, including Deception Pass and even one shot that was filmed here in Bellingham. But the film plays into the false and overused trope of Washington having a torrential downpour 24/7.
The writing is actually quite good – the investigation Rachel pursues keeps you engaged throughout the entire film. She and Noah break into filing rooms, travel to people’s homes and scan the tape over and over again all for any clues to its origin.
The biggest break in their search is a girl named Samara. She has long black hair that covers her face and appears in multiple clips on the tape.
One of the scariest elements of this film is when the son, Aidan, reveals he talks to Samara. He tells his mom that she never sleeps and they talk every night — the film does a great job at maintaining suspense with this plot line.
The acting overall is really good, which isn’t surprising when two-time Academy Award nominee Naomi Watts is the lead. Dorfman and Henderson also bring compelling performances to the film. Dorfman’s performance was quite impressive, and honestly a little scary for a child actor. He stares and pauses for long times, and offers a very haunting and dissociated performance.
The color theory used in the movie fits perfectly as well, using blue, green and gray tones to set an eerie feeling throughout the entirety of the film. In addition to the color theory, the special effects were also engaging — well, at least for its time.
Overall, “The Ring” offers a fun but spooky use of urban legends, and while the Washington trope was stereotypical and the special effects don’t necessarily stand to our times, the film was entertaining and well-written.
With that being said, this week's forecast calls for a partly cloudy rating of four stars.
“The Ring” is currently streaming on Paramount+ and available to rent on Amazon.
Elaina Johnson (she/her) is a fourth-year political science major who has previously copy edited and been editor-in-chief for The Front. This quarter she is the opinions and outreach editor. She hopes to make engaging stories this quarter and reconnect with the community through various outreach. In her free time outside of The Front, she can be found watching movies, writing chaotic Letterboxd reviews and drinking oat milk chai. She can be reached at email@example.com.