HOLLYWOOD—I thought long and very hard about how I wanted to cap off the month of Halloween in terms of recommending a great movie to send chills down the spine. With every ounce of blood in my body, I wanted to tackle a great haunted house flick. There is just one problem; there aren’t many that are truly terrifying in my personal opinion.
I considered “House on Haunted Hill,” the original version starring Vincent Price, but it’s more a mystery than and spook fest. “The Amityville Horror” is not as unnerving as people suspect it to be, and when looking at recent history, there just hasn’t been one of quality made. So I decided to highlight a ghost tale that I find so unnerving and quite underrated in my opinion, the 2002 remake “The Ring.” I used to be that proponent who always thought true horror had to be rated-R to really unnerve the American public, but I stumbled upon this flick a while back and I loved every minute of it, and to this day I still love it. Why? It has a unique and captivating story, simple in its own rights, but mysterious up until its final moments.
You have a great performance by Naomi Watts, who portrays a journalist investigating the sudden death of her niece who supposedly watched this mysterious videotape. Watts’ performance is heightened by the acting of her co-star David Dorfman who portrays Aidan, her son who might know a bit more surrounding the tape’s mystery. The movie doesn’t take the audience on this convoluted narrative, its cut-and dry simple, if you watch this tape you have 7 days before you die.
The opening of this movie is fantastic, unnerving and just plain scary as hell. You don’t know the outcome; you just know something has transpired. As the movie treks along, clues about the tape’s sudden arrival, its history and what transpires to those who watch it starts to come to the surface. We learn that a series of events plays out, you get a phone call, you are no longer photogenic and as your imminent death nears, you can sense your time is certainly running out.
Making things well worth the wait is the twist of an ending that as a viewer upon first viewing leaves you aghast. The viewer is left wondering: why did Rachel not die, when her baby daddy who also watched the tape met his demise. Well it’s simple: she made a copy of the tape! This transpires in the middle portion of the film, but the movie is so genius at making it seem unimportant, you don’t realize its importance until it has already transpired and you forgot about it as if it never mattered.
Our villain, if you want to even call her that is a little girl by the name of Samara, whose childhood was not that great, not to mention, we never get a good glimpse of her haunting face until the film’s climax. That is not so scary, it’s more what this little girl can do to those who watch the tape and fail to make a copy that is haunting.
“The Ring” manages to find a way to be scary without the excessive violence or gore; it haunts you by haunting the mind and causing you to think. It gave me the biggest realization as a fan of the horror genre. The scariest thing is not some psychopath in a mask, but a supernatural presence or haunting that you cannot simply explain with words. When you’re forced to think about something not only is the brain active, it forces you to question how you would react if you were placed in that same situation. This is a movie that manages to scare adults and kids alike. It’s the perfect treat for a Halloween scare that manages to leave you guessing to the final moment and extracting more clues each time you watch it.