THE RING
Hawaii411 reviews The Ring, touted as one of the scariest movies to come out in a long time

Is this a horror movie about some men's fear of marriage?  Is it a documentary on what you eventually see on your toilet if you don't clean it often?  No to both of the above.  And no, dammit, it ain't 'That new Hobbit Film'...

The Ring is a horror movie that was remade from a 1998 Japanese movie named (what else) Ringu.  Ringu was an all time box office smash in Japan, which led some greedy American filmmakers to take what the Japanese did and try to make it better (talk about role reversal between the 2 countries, eh).  I've never seen Ringu, but if it was one of the top grossing films ever in Japan, I'd say our version falls a little short.  Oh Gosh-u Darn-u.

THE STORY
This story is all over the place and was obviously contrived around a central theme (giving that theme away will ruin a twist of the movie) - Like someone somewhere said 'Hey, wouldn't it be neat if we built a two hour movie out of >blah blah<?' and then built a movie around the end scene.  Anyhow, we start with a little Urban Legend talk between two girls at a slumber party.... Seems one of them viewed an infamous tape 7 nights earlier - No, not the Tommy/Pamela Lee tape... It's a legendary video that is supposed to somehow kill the viewer 7 days after they watch it.  Anyhow, great time to have a sleepover, huh?  So the girl dies as predicted and her Aunty Rachel (the main character played by Naomi Watts of Mulholland Drive) uses her journalistic instincts to attempt to solve the case.  In the process, she just about endangers or kills anyone special to her.  Don't want to be this lady's friend.

Director Gore Verbinski definitely is a master of the creepy and jump scare.  A loud noise here (bang), a high pitched chalkboard sound there (remember Aliens?), some mottled scaly skin and a weird zombie child villain all contribute to the expertly executed Scarefest.  Bizarre creepiness and some intense scares without the use of excessive gore kept the audiences glued to the screen and holding on tight to the person next to them (except if it was a guy and his buddy cause that's just weird). I'd put the fear factor on this one an 9 out of 10.

One of the scenes that left me with a 'How'd they do that?' mindset was the Horsey-Gone-Wild scene.  The special effects are second to none in this flick, and must have cost an arm, a leg, and a hoof.

THE ACTING
Naomi Watts
as Aunty Rachel actually does a pretty good job as the main scare-ee of the flick.  All throughout the movie, I dare you not to think "Is that Nicole Kidman?".  She has a generic Haole woman look to her, and I couldn't help thinking how much she looked like Kidman (who was born right here in Hawaii! Check out the trivia section).  Let's just hope she's not as weird as Kidman.

Martin Henderson (Windtalkers) also does a decent job in his role as the immature ex-sperm donor one night stand friend with whom Rachel shares a child with (if not the child raising responsibilities).

David Dorfman does his best Haley Joe Osment Sixth Sense impression, but he can't keep up.  Yes, he sees dead people...  Hmm.  Seen this one somewhere before.

There is a man who almost stole the show with one scene.  Look for the black records keeper who Martin Henderson attempts to score a videotape record from... Hilarious! 

WHAT'S WRONG?
By the way, about the video tape?  It may have been intended to be frightening, but to tell you the truth I've seen weirder, more frightening stuff on Red Hot Chili Pepper Videos (especially Mr. Sock, for all you Chili Pepper Fans).

And, if you had in your possession a videotape you know kills people in 7 days, would you really just leave it laying around the house for your kid to watch?  I guess I'd put it right on the floor unsecured where the kid plays, right next to my loaded .357 Magnum, Rambo knife, rat poison, dynamite, and a whole tray of those silicon moisture gel packs they put in nori jars.  Parent of the Year.

What is it with small little seemingly unimposing scary villains?  We got Chucky, a killer doll... Pet Sematary's Xacto Knife wielding zombie baby... and now we have another sinister 3 foot girl as the super ghost (doing a great faceless Waialae Drive In Theater Bathroom Lady impression).  Gone are the good old days where they would have a physically dominating bad guy.

OVERALL?
How much you like The Ring
really depends on what you are looking for in this movie.  If you want the doots scared out of you and aren't really picky about storyline, then by all means go see The Ring.  It's the first movie in my recent recollection that really does a decent job freaking the audience out and making them jump at all the appropriate places.  Heck, I still have the nail marks on my arm from my questionable decision to take my wife to a horror flick.  And, whoa... scary - The Nail Marks are in Half-moon crescent ring like shapes!  Won't sleep well tonight. 

3.5

The Bottom Line
Go see The Ring.  It's not a half bad movie. Suspend wit and logical thinking for 110 minutes and just enjoy yourself.  BTW, this may be a great date movie for you single guys to take a date. Scary movies often have a way of making you seem more "macho" and "protective" - Just please be sure you don't scream louder and higher pitched than her.  I give it 3.5 unimposing villains out of 5.

Hawaii411 Rating Box -
The Ring
3.5 Unimposing Villains (out of a possible 5)
Ghosts aren't too frightening when they are under 36" tall.  Attention: You must be this tall to scare.


Links:
- visit the official homepage here
- view the Trailer