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THE RING (2002)
On the night two high school friends, Becca Kolter and Katie Embry, are staying up late joking about an allegedly terrifying masterpiece of a movie, their nightmare manifests itself and claims the life of Katie, victim number one of what will become a string of gruesome deaths.
Katie's aunt, Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) and her son Aidan (David Dorfman), set out to Katie's funeral, whereby they learn that Katie's death was anything but normal. As Katie's mother begs Rachel to use her journalistic detective skills to crack the case behind her daughter's death, Rachel finds herself at a deserted cabin in Shelter Mountain. It is there that Rachel stumbles upon the videotape that somehow claimed Katie's life. Immediately thereafter, the phone rings, and an ominous voice whispers the words, "seven days". Terrified and utterly confused, Rachel begins to investigate the film, dissecting every film still possible until she solves the encrypted message behind the disturbing images.
Meanwhile, her ex-boyfriend and consequently Aidan's father, Noah (Martin Henderson), gets in on the action after Rachel inquires afterhis film-guru expertise. Making a copy, Rachel gives Noah the duplicate in hopes he can deduce something she has yet to see. But it isn't until Noah sees his newly distorted self-portraits that he begins to suspect something paranormal may be connected to the tape and its victims. With two people now involved in the mystery, when Aidan watches the film late one night, a third accomplice (potential victim) enters the picture.
Horrified, Rachel races the clock to solve the mystery in her allotted time frame; 7 days. But with her only lead connecting the tape to the Morgan family and their dead horses it seems that Rachel may be approaching the mystery the wrong way. A trip to the Morgan ranch proves useless, and it isn't until Noah steals some files from the local psych-ward that the two learn that the tape, and thus the deaths, may have something to do with the little girl, Samara, as opposed to her mother (Rachel's first hypothesis).
As Noah and Rachel race time, their sleuthing leads them back to Shelter Mountain, whereby a series of paranormal events lead Rachel to Samara's corpse. But the story doesn't end there. There's a reason why everyone thinks that Samara is evil, and moreover, there's a reason why people are continuing to die. Rachel's temporarily relieved nerves are wracked again as her son, Aidan, becomes distraught with the knowledge that Samara's corpse has been found and set free. But isn't that exactly what Samara wanted? Will there be more deaths? What's the key to stopping her wrath, IF it can be stopped at all? When will the dead girl finally go to sleep?
"The Ring" is a magnificent film that revolutionizes the horror industry after hundreds of would-be and so-so films failed and flopped their way back onto Blockbuster shelves. In fact, this deeply psychological film is the saving grace for the stigmatizing stereotype of "cliched" and "predictable" that horror films have become so famous for. "The Ring" is utterly unique, perceptive, and alluring.
With special effects second to none, the artistic vision and cinematography of the film is enough to make the best of the USC film school reconsider their theories on how to make a film truly evocative. Everything focuses around the contrast of black and white, dark and light, with things rendered in color only to present macabre images or provide clues to the mystery. Everything is ornately done with an acute attention to detail from the lighting, to the ornamental decorations, to the drawings. Moreover, the plot is so tightly woven you will rack your brain to find a flaw and still come up with nothing.
Naomi Watts does a remarkably good job at playing the psychologically tortured yet adamant Rachel Keller. Her screams and fright-scenes really do get the blood chilling, even if just a bit. David Dorfman also does an excellent job with his eerie role. Much like "The Sixth Sense", Aidan's character is unique with his paranormal medium talent. Moreover, the dark eyes that shoot blank, penetrating stares, the slow movements, and the serious demeanor, all exude talent yes, but produce such a truly unique effect for the film's suspense-building plot.
"The Ring" is the winner of seven awards and four other nominations including recognitions from the Golden Trailer, MTV, and ASCAP Film and TV Music Awards. What once was a genre so blase, so typical, and easy to typecast, has now been rejuvenated by the ingenious production of an unforgettable film that will have you squirming in your seat even after the film is over.
Naomi Watts plays Rachel Keller, the tortured mother of eccentric Aidan. Her soul goal is to solve the mystery behind the videotape before it takes her son's and her own life.
David Dorfman plays Aidan Keller, the eccentric boy apt to communicate with the dead, but whose silence leaves you startled the whole way through the film.
Martin Henderson plays Noah, Rachel's ex-boyfriend and Aidan's father, who becomes involved in the videotape's wrath after he watches the film and sets out to solve the mystery with Rachel.
Plays Samara, the evil girl with a vengeful wrath second to no one.
Other actors include Brian Cox.