The Ring (2002 film)
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|Directed by||Gore Verbinski|
|Screenplay by||Ehren Kruger|
|Edited by||Craig Wood|
|Music by||Hans Zimmer|
|Box office||$249.3 million|
The Ring is a 2002 American supernatural horror film directed by Gore Verbinski from a screenplay by Ehren Kruger, starring Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, David Dorfman, Brian Cox, and Daveigh Chase. It is a remake of Hideo Nakata's 1998 Japanese horror film Ring, based on Koji Suzuki's 1991 eponymous novel. Watts portrays a journalist who investigates a cursed videotape that seemingly kills the viewer seven days after watching it.
The Ring was released theatrically on October 18, 2002, and received mostly positive reviews, with critics praising the atmosphere, visuals, and Watts's performance. The film grossed over $249 million worldwide on a $48 million production budget, making it one of the highest-grossing horror remakes. It is the first installment of the English-language Ring series, and is followed by The Ring Two (2005) and Rings (2017).
Teenagers Katie and Becca discuss an urban legend about a cursed videotape; whoever watches it dies seven days later. Katie confesses that she watched the tape with her friends the previous week. That night, Katie is killed by an unseen force.
At Katie's funeral, Katie's mother Ruth asks her sister Rachel, a Seattle journalist, to investigate the death. Rachel discovers that Katie's friends were killed in bizarre accidents on the night of her death. She also learns that Becca has been institutionalized after witnessing Katie's death. Rachel goes to Shelter Mountain Inn, the mountain retreat where Katie and her friends watched the tape. She rents the same cabin and watches the tape; it contains strange and disturbing imagery. After the tape ends, she receives a phone call from an unknown caller who whispers "seven days".
Rachel recruits the help of her video analyst ex-boyfriend Noah. He watches the tape and Rachel makes him a copy so they can both investigate where it came from. Rachel begins to see images from the tape appear in the real world. She discovers hidden imagery of a lighthouse and identifies a woman on the tape: a horse breeder, Anna Morgan, who committed suicide after some of her horses drowned themselves off Moesko Island. Rachel finds their son, Aidan, watching the videotape.
Leaving Aidan in Ruth's care, Rachel heads for Moesko Island to speak to Anna's widower, Richard, while Noah travels to Eola Psychiatric Hospital to view Anna's medical files. On the ferry to the island, a horse is spooked by Rachel and leaps to its death. On the island, she discovers Anna had an adopted daughter, Samara, but Richard denies it. Rachel speaks to the island doctor, who explains that Anna adopted Samara due to her infertility. Samara possessed the ability to psychically etch images onto objects and into minds, tormenting her parents and their horses. Noah finds a psychiatric file on Samara which mentions a missing video record last seen by Richard.
Returning to the Morgan home, Rachel finds the missing video, watching it to discover Samara explaining her powers during a psychotherapy session. Discovering Rachel, Richard strikes her and then electrocutes himself in the bathtub, insisting that Samara is evil and that Rachel's actions have endangered them all. Noah arrives and he and Rachel enter the barn. In a loft converted to a bedroom to isolate Samara from her mother, they find an image of a tree behind the wallpaper; Rachel recognizes it as a tree at the Shelter Mountain Inn.
Rachel returns with Noah to the cabin at Shelter Mountain Inn, where they are led to a well beneath the floorboards. They remove the lid and Rachel is pushed inside. A hand grabs her, and Rachel experiences a vision of Anna suffocating and dumping Samara into the well, where she survived for seven days. Samara's corpse surfaces from the water. After Rachel is rescued from the well, they arrange a proper burial for Samara. Noah tells Rachel that they are now safe as more than seven days have passed since she watched the videotape.
Aidan warns Rachel that it was a mistake to try to help Samara. Rachel realizes that Noah's seven days are up and rushes to save him, but the vengeful ghost of Samara materializes on his TV screen, crawls out of it and kills him. Rachel finds his disfigured corpse and returns home to destroy the tape. Unable to deduce why she was spared, she realizes that the videotape seen by Noah and Aidan was a copy she'd created. Rachel has Aidan make a copy of the copy to show to someone else, saving him from Samara.
- Naomi Watts as Rachel Keller
- David Dorfman as Aidan Keller
- Martin Henderson as Noah Clay
- Daveigh Chase as Samara Morgan
- Brian Cox as Richard Morgan
- Shannon Cochran as Anna Morgan
- Jane Alexander as Dr. Grasnik
- Lindsay Frost as Ruth Embry
- Amber Tamblyn as Katherine "Katie" Embry
- Rachael Bella as Rebecca "Becca" Kotler
- Richard Lineback as Innkeeper
- Pauley Perrette as Beth
- Sara Rue as Babysitter
- Sasha Barrese as Girl Teen #1
- Tess Hall as Girl Teen #2
- Adam Brody as Kellen (Male Teen)
- Michael Spound as Dave Embry
- Chris Cooper as a child murderer (uncredited)
- Joe Chrest as Dr. Scott (uncredited)
- Maury Ginsberg as a video store clerk (DVD deleted scenes) (uncredited)
The Ring went into production without a completed script. Ehren Kruger wrote three drafts of the screenplay before Scott Frank came on to do an uncredited rewrite. Verbinski was initially inspired to do a remake of Ring after Walter F. Parkes sent him a VHS copy of the original Japanese film, which he described as "intriguing", "Pulp" and "avant-garde". The original WGA-approved credits listed Hiroshi Takahashi (writer of the original 1998 screenplay for Ring) but his name is absent from the final print.
Several actresses were offered the role of Rachel Keller, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Connelly and Kate Beckinsale. Verbinski admitted to not wanting to cast "big stars" as he wanted his film to be "discovered" and describes the wave of harsh criticism from hardcore fans of the original Japanese film as "inevitable", although he expressed desire for them to find the remake equally compelling. He also sought to retain the minimalism prevalent throughout Ring and set it in Seattle, due to its "wet and isolated" atmosphere.
The Ring was shot in 2001, primarily in Washington state in numerous locations, including Seattle, Port Townsend, Whidbey Island, Bellingham, Monroe, and Stanwood. The Yaquina Head Lighthouse in Newport, Oregon was also used as a filming location, as well as Oregon's Columbia River Gorge.
As with the original Japanese film Ring, the title of The Ring can be interpreted as referring to the phone call which warns those who watch the cursed video tape that they will die in seven days, as well as to the view of the ring of light seen from the bottom of the well where Samara was left to die.
The film features an original score composed by Hans Zimmer (who would later collaborate on Gore Verbinski's other works). The soundtrack release did not coincide with the film's theatrical run. It was released in 2005, accompanying The Ring Two in an album that combined music from both The Ring and The Ring Two. The soundtrack contains a few themes associated with the characters, moods, and locations, including multiple uses of the Dies Irae theme. The score makes use of string instruments, pianos, and synthesizers.
|The Ring / The Ring Two (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)|
|Film score by|
|Released||March 15, 2005|
|1.||"The Well"||Hans Zimmer, Henning Lohner||11:24|
|2.||"Before You Die You See the Ring"||Hans Zimmer||7:09|
|3.||"This is Going to Hurt"||Hans Zimmer, Martin Tillman||2:48|
|4.||"Burning Tree"||Hans Zimmer, Henning Lohner, Martin Tillman, Trevor Morris||10:13|
|5.||"Not Your Mommy"||Hans Zimmer, Henning Lohner, Clay Duncan||3:59|
|6.||"Shelter Mountain"||Hans Zimmer, Martin Tillman, Trevor Morris||4:10|
|7.||"The Ferry"||Hans Zimmer, Henning Lohner, Martin Tillman, Trevor Morris, Bart Hendrickson||3:15|
|8.||"I'll Follow Your Voice"||Hans Zimmer, Henning Lohner||6:28|
|9.||"She Never Sleeps (remix)"||2:17|
|10.||"Let the Dead Get In (remix)"||3:59|
|11.||"Seven Days (remix)"||3:24|
To advertise The Ring, many promotional websites were formed featuring characters and places in the film. The video from the cursed videotape was played in late-night programming over the summer of 2002 without any reference to the film. Physical VHS copies were also randomly distributed outside of movie theaters by placing the tapes on the windshields of people's cars.
The Ring opened theatrically in the United States on October 18, 2002, on 1,981 screens, and grossed $15,015,393 during its opening weekend. The film went on to become a sleeper hit, leading DreamWorks to expand its release to 700 additional theaters. It ultimately grossed $129,128,133 in the United States. In Japan, the film earned $8.3 million in the first two weeks of its release. Worldwide, the film grossed a total of $249,348,933.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 71% based on 207 reviews, with an average rating of 6.60/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "With little gore and a lot of creepy visuals, The Ring gets under your skin, thanks to director Gore Verbinski's haunting sense of atmosphere and an impassioned performance from Naomi Watts." Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 57 out of 100, based on 36 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B−" on an A+ to F scale.
On Ebert & Roeper, Richard Roeper gave the film "Thumbs Up" and said it was very gripping and scary despite some minor unanswered questions. Roger Ebert gave the film "Thumbs Down" and felt it was boring and "borderline ridiculous"; he also disliked the extended, detailed ending. IGN's Jeremy Conrad praised the movie for its atmospheric set up and cinematography, and said that "there are disturbing images ... but the film doesn't really rely on gore to deliver the scares". Film Threat's Jim Agnew called it "dark, disturbing and original throughout ... Verbinski shows a fine-tuned gift for calibrating and manipulating viewer expectations."
Despite the praise given to the direction, some criticized the characters. The Chicago Reader's Jonathan Rosenbaum said that the film was "an utter waste of Watts… perhaps because the script didn't bother to give her a character", whereas William Arnold from Seattle Post-Intelligencer disagreed: "she projects intelligence, determination and resourcefulness that carry the movie nicely." Several critics, like Miami Herald's Rene Rodriguez and USA Today's Claudia Puig, found themselves confused and thought "for all the time [the film] spends explaining, it still doesn't make much sense".
|2002||Saturn Awards||Best Movie Horror||Won|
|Best Actress||Naomi Watts||Won|
|2003||MTV Movie Awards||Best Movie||Nominated|
|Best Villain||Daveigh Chase||Won|
|Teen Choice Awards||Best Movie Horror||Won|
The film ranked number 20 on the cable channel Bravo's list of The 100 Scariest Movie Moments. Bloody Disgusting ranked the film sixth in their list of the "Top 20 Horror Films of the Decade", with the article saying that "The Ring was not only the first American 'J-Horror' remake out of the gate; it also still stands as the best."
A sequel, The Ring Two, was released in 2005. A short film titled Rings was also released in 2005, and is set between The Ring and The Ring Two. A third installment, also titled Rings, was released in 2017.
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