31 Days Of Hallowe'en: The Ring (2002)
Welcome to JOE's 31 Days Of Hallowe'en. For each and every day of October, we'll be bringing you a horror movie to tuck into for the lead up to the big night. It could be new, old, an undiscovered gem, or a classic you'll have seen a thousand times. No matter what it is, we guarantee you that it is brilliant, and it is SCARY.
For Day 3, we'll looking back over one of the best English language remakes ever, The Ring.
"Before you die, you see the ring..."
Asian horror was a BIG deal in the late 90's and early 00's, with the likes of The Grudge, One Missed Call, Dark Water, The Eye, Shutter, Pulse, Mirrors... but none of them reached the cultural zeitgeist-y moment that was hit by The Ring.
While the original Japanese version of the movie, 1998's Ringu, leaned more heavily into the psychic aspect of the story, there were some smart edits made to the American remake which, to some, actually make it an improvement upon the original.
Clip via UniversTrailers
Playing on the fears of urban legends and the modern day cursing known as a chain mail ("If you don't pass the email on to 15 people, you will have bad sex for the rest of your life!"), The Ring did the clever thing of taking a potential silly idea - A .... haunted .... videotape? - and taking it very seriously.
Gore Verbinski directed the entire film in a sterile, almost alien glean that makes you uncomfortable from the get-go, Hans Zimmer provides an eerie, at times heartbreaking, but at other times truly creepy score, and with Naomi Watts in the lead role, the film has a world-class actress who is capable of selling the fear while never stumbling into scream queen territory.
Some of the alterations from the original were smartly implemented too: this time the psychic ability is moved from the investigating father to the a-little-too-intense son, and the explanation for why it takes seven days for anyone who watches the tape to die is a fantastically intelligent addition.
It all paid off fantastically well, with the $48 million production, which is A LOT of money for a horror movie, but it shows with just how pretty the final film is, returning just shy of $250 million at the box office, which (again) is A LOT of money for a horror movie. Or at least it was, before recent clown-staring films went to town on box office records...
Avoid the pants sequel and the even pants-er recent Rings weird spin-off/sequel, and stick with the clever, original American remake.
Check out our previous recommendations below: