Oct. 24, 2002 "The Ring" begins with the premise of four Seattle high school friends spending a weekend at a remote Washington state inn, where the TV's botched reception drives them to play an unmarked videotape from the manager's lending library. A telephone call to their cabin immediately after they view the tape warns them that they'll die in seven days. Seven days later, the teens die at exactly the same time they finished watching the tape, in three separate "accidents."
Rachel (Naomi Watts), the aunt of one of the girls, is a reporter at a Seattle newspaper and starts an investigation that leads her to view the tape, too. She immediately gets a similar phone call saying she will die in seven days, setting the clock for her to save herself and solve the mysterious meaning behind the ring, an image victims are meant to see the moment before they die.
Rachel's ex-boyfriend, Noah (Martin Henderson), is a video technician, and she calls him despite their estranged relationship to help her figure out the source of the video, and he also views the tape one day later. They make a copy of the tape, which inadvertently is watched by their quiet, intelligent son, Aidan (David Dorfman), who happens to be communicating with a young girl's spirit that had told him his cousin was going to die, an event he drew a picture of the week before his cousin died.
Rachel's investigation leads her to an island off northern Washington, the site of a lighthouse seen on the puzzling videotape. Outside a horse ranch operated by Richard Morgan (Brian Cox), Rachel realizes she is standing in the picture her son drew back in Seattle, although he had never been to the island. Inside the Morgan home, Rachel realizes it is the house in the video. She calls Aidan back in Seattle, and he tells her the little girl, who shows him things, hates the barn because the horses keep her awake. She can't sleep.
Aidan can't sleep.
And neither will moviegoers after they see "The Ring."
Director Gore Verbinski has succeeded in bringing a truly suspenseful horror film back to the screen. "The Ring" is an American remake of a 1998 Japanese blockbuster, "Ringu," which has already spawned three sequels in Japan. Sound and photographic effects work together masterfully to keep audiences on the edge of their seats, alternately screaming and clutching their chests.
And "The Ring" provides heart-stopping scares while keeping a PG-13 rating, which goes to prove that suspense and a good script can be just as frightening as gore and violence — while allowing larger numbers of viewers to see the potent images on the videotape. Go see "The Ring" again in seven days. Just don't take your cell phone to the theater. But if you do, and it rings, whatever you do, don't answer it.
The 1 hour 45 minute film is rated PG-13 for thematic elements, disturbing images and language.
"The Ring" is playing at Sunny Isle Theaters.
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