I delight in the various short-lived but regular film-viewing arrangements I’ve had in my life. Whether with a partner, a colleague, a group of friends, or family, I have stumbled into brief periods of time when film watching is a regular, dependable, often weekly occurrence. With one such group, the activity was a Sunday film rental. After weeks of dramas and comedies, I was finally outnumbered on the popular, but terrifying The Ring. Although I had managed to avoid it during its theatrical run, I had heard how it made people jump and scream and the anticipation during the trip home from the video store was very nearly worse than the actual viewing. The trailer of the film that replayed in my head did nothing to quell my concerns. We can all picture the girl peeking out accusingly from behind her long black scraggly hair with the mere mention of the title.
A remake of the Japanese film of the same name (titled Ringu in 1998); this film is one that builds tension and anticipation to an excruciating level. Normalcy and every day type of scenes, such as a sleepover and checking voicemail soon set the tone and one was not to trust even the most mundane moments. The plot was woven, a limited timeline established and the brilliant Naomi Watts was leading the charge on solving the source of the curse of a videotape that would kill the viewer after one week. This film excelled in its narrative unpredictability. When was the last time a girl from a well in a video was the source of endless deaths? Naomi Watts’ character, Rachel, is determined, desperate, befuddled and often terrified and she represents the audience as we try to make sense of this very strange killer that manages to execute without blood or a weapon of any kind. It’s easy to be scared of what you do not understand.
I must admit, however, that the anticipation was in fact the worst of it. The first scenes set the tone and I didn’t trust it from that point out. I worried for the very likeable Naomi and her son and held my breath nearly every time they turned a corner or opened a door. As far as suspense is concerned, this film knocked it out of the park. Daveigh Chase, the girl in the well who went on to do her possessed voice on every talk show, is now 24 and working steadily. In an odd way this gives me comfort, that the girl turned out ok. I do not want to to be reminded that there’s a sequel, and no, you cannot outnumber me to see that one.
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