Have you heard about a videotape that, after you watch it, you receive a phone call, informing you that you only have 7 days to live? Supposedly, someone or something knows that you've watched the tape, and in exactly 7 days, you will die because you've seen it. But it's just an urban legend - right?
The Ring opens up with Becca telling her friend Katie about the urban legend. Katie then reveals that almost exactly one week ago, she had watched the tape, and we watch as she tries to dismiss the urban legend and go on with her life, but finds herself increasingly aware of her surroundings, and as the opening comes to an end, we see Becca screaming in horror after finding what we believe to be the body of Katie, dead exactly one week after viewing the tape.
A few days later, we're introduced to news reporter Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts), the aunt of Katie, who is asked by Katie's mother to investigate the odd cause of death surrounding Katie and Becca's acceptance into a mental institution. After a bit of easy investigative work, Rachel finds that 3 other teens died the night Katie did, at the same exact time. A little legwork, and a few road-trips later, Rachel discovers the tape that Katie and her friends watched, and, not believing the urban legend, watches the tape herself. After odd things start happening all around her, Rachel slowly believes in the tape's mysterious power and takes it to her ex-boyfriend/father of her child, Noah (Martin Henderson), a photography/videography wiz to help her figure out its origins. With under 7 days to live, Rachel believes that the only way to stay alive is to unravel the mystery of the tape.
Meticulously crafted by director Gore Verbinski (The Mexican), The Ring is a very creepy movie, eerily executed from start to finish. With such execution, the film is able to succeed without the aid of gore or any of the other staples that we've come to expect from your run-of-the-mill horror movie. Verbinski is able to create an atmosphere or suspense from start to finish as he follows Rachel through her 7 days remaining and, eventually, as both Noah and Aidan (Rachel and Noah's son) watch the tape, their remaining minutes as well.
In her first starring role, Naomi Watts does not disappoint after her breakthrough performance in last year's Mulholland Drive. With a vulnerable appearance, Naomi's outward appearance deceives her inward drive - as her beauty masks the intensity she exudes. Similarily, the young Aidan (David Dorfman) carries himself with amazing maturity as he is a cool contrast to the heated Rachel. His calm, confident demeanor, coupled with Rachel's over-the-top intesnity combine to carry the film evenly as the events surrounding "the ring" unfold.
Not your conventional horror film, The Ring is surprisingly eerie, despite the lack of traditional horror elements. A slick story, with a compelling plot line, combined with great acting performances from both Naomi Watts and David Dorfman propel the film to the top of the list of films to see this holiday season.