In Gore Verbinski's remake of Hideo Nakata's chilling horror film, a group of teenagers all die suddenly and inexplicably exactly one week after watching a mysterious videotape at a remote cabin in the Pacific Northwest. Journalist Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts), a relative of one of the victims, begins an investigation that leads to a mountain resort where she discovers the tape, which contains footage of random and surreal images. After viewing the tape, Rachel receives a phone call stating that she, too, has seven days left to live. As the clock ticks away, Rachel enlists the help of her former boyfriend, Noah (Martin Henderson), who is the father of her startlingly serious young son, Aidan (David Dorfman). Assisted by the intuitive illustrations of Aidan and the initially reluctant research of Noah, Rachel attempts to discover the significance of the cryptic tape before her time is up.
The original RING, based on a novel by Kôji Suzuki, was a cult phenomenon in Japan, spawning a sequel, a prequel, and other spin-offs. Although Verbinski's adaptation shares much in common with its Japanese counterpart, the director distinctly alters numerous plot elements and, in grandiose Hollywood style, employs a much larger budget. The beautiful cinematography is one of the more telling enhancements, along with added screen time for other characters, including the morose Richard Morgan (Brian Cox). However, the key to this RING is Watts, who shines through the creepy atmosphere in a role that follows her success in MULHOLLAND DRIVE. This would appear to be no coincidence, since the film comes across like a David Lynch version of an X-FILES episode that presents shockingly scary moments and makes the most out of the unknown. A clear cut above most contemporary horror films, THE RING offers genuine chills and will make viewers think twice before watching any unmarked videotapes.
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