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The Ring

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Both of my friends wanted to see this movie. So I was out vetoed 2-1. I had one main reason for not wanting to watch The Ring. It looked really stupid. Really, seeing something on TV that makes you die. How enthralling. But, my friends were paying for the rental, so who am I to complain?

Before I get into the movie, let me say this. I don’t watch many scary movies. I can’t remember the last time, actually. The scariest thing’s previously I’ve seen in the past two or three years were on the evening news and my own dreams. So I don’t really have an immunity to scary movies like so many of my peers do.

The story line is fairly basic. There is a movie that if you see it you will die 7 days later. The movie seems like a dream, or a string of visions. As you watch it something happens to you. After seeing the movie you can’t have a clear picture taken of you. And on the 7th day, something comes after you. Something terrifying. And you die, all twisted and distorted.

In the begining of the movie this happens to a teenage girl. Her mother is devastated and goes to a relative, a journalist, for help. A few of the girl’s friends tell her about this movie and the rummor behind it. Well, it took a quick search to find out that all four teens who saw the movie that night died. Each at the same time.

Of course, logically, a movie can’t kill you. So she starts investigating the teen’s evening. One of her first clues is a packet of photo’s they took that night. They were all fairly normal until one of the last photo’s. The four teen’s faces were distorted.

Well, the photos alludes to a campground where they were that night. Determined, she goes there. Due to the camp location there are not any TV stations that can be recieved. So the campground offers VCRs and a selection of videos that other campers leave behind. An unmarked VHS tape innocently sits on the shelf. Suspicious, she grabs it and rents the cabin to watch it.

After seeing the 30 seconds or so that the tape runs, she gets an immediate feeling of danger and goes home with the tape. Here the movie picks up and starts to run wild. She realizes that any picture of herself that she takes now shows her face as distorted. After copying the tape, she gets her friend, Noah, involved. He is very laid back about the whole thing and doesn’t really believe her claims.

Here the movie becomes very irregular. In investigating, she uncovers an old mystery. Noah gets interested, too, after realizing his face is distorted in pictures. And finally her son watches her copy of the video, so he is now slated for death.

Through a lot of painful investigation they uncover an old mystery where a lady’s horse ranch went down the tubes after her horses started going crazy and dying in the ocean. She ended up dying by falling off a cliff.

Then, one article mentioned something about a daughter. Their investigation revealed an unwanted daughter that the husband hated. She had to sleep in the stable with the horses. She was a rather strange child and spent a lot of time in mental institutes. Finally her mother tosses a bag on her head, hits it with a stone, and tosses her into a well. The last thing she sees is a halo of light, a ring, around the top of the well.

It takes her seven days to “die”. Seven days of chilling water. Seven days of frantic clawing at the stone sides of the well. Seven days of pain and hate. And while she may have died in that well, the power around it remained. Her desire to hurt people. And so that tape is a portrait of her mental pain and anguish. The frantic, lonely sense it communicates.

When the journalist’s 7th day comes she feels hopeless. She knows most of the story (not all the stuff I already explained, but it doesn’t really matter) and does not know what to do with her knowledge. Through an image in the girl’s old room in the barn she is led back to the cabin where she first saw the video.

Here, she and Noah discover a well. While they are at the well her time comes and she gets knocked into the well. She splashes at the bottom. While Noah runs to get something to pull her out with, she notices the well top closing on her, forming the ring of light. And she finds the girl down there, alive, looking sorrowful. As she holds the girl in her arms she see’s the rest of the girl’s story (which I explained above) of being thrown into the well. Then, the body quickly rots, leaving just a skeleton.

After being pulled up, she realizes that she escaped the 7th day mark. Using her journalistic mind she figures out that the spirit just needed release for all the injustices. She goes home, happy that she saved herself and her son and Noah and ended the terror that plagued them the past week.

It’s only when she gets home and talks to her son in the morning that he makes her realize the truth. In a video from the mental institude the girl said something along the lines of, “I like hurting people. I will never stop. And I’m sorry.” The journalist realizes that it really WON’T stop and tries to rush to Noah to warn him. She is too late and he suffers the same horrific death that the girl at the begining faced.

Broken, she tries to figure out what made a difference in her case. Then she realizes that the difference was that she made a copy of the video. She quickly gets her son and takes him to the equipment so he can make a copy, too. And that was the end.

It felt like the movie had a lot of loose ends I would have liked tied up. For instance, how was the video created? The only clue The Ring gave was how the girl made pictures on single sheets of film with her mind. I assume that the power used that with modern technology to transfer the images in her mind to video. But The Ring never confirms this hunch.

Also, the ending feels a bit sudden. Ok, so the way to advoid death is to make a copy and pass it on. With my non-horror film mentality I am of the mind that there should be SOME way to completely end it so that the spirit is settled and the killing stops. But maybe that kind of ending is normal for scary movies like this.

One interesting thing I noticed about the movie was the parallels between the disturbed girl’s family and the journalist’s situation. The girl was birthed accidentally and unwanted by her father. The journalist’s son was concieved out of wedlock and Noah, the father, didn’t want to be involved. The son tends to feel ignored and unwanted, too. He even has that same somber look about him of being much much older than he really is. Even with Noah now dead, the journalist and her son will probably grow closer.

With that said, this movie scared the crap out of me. I hated it and had a hard time following it. Previously I had wanted to see Ringu, but now I think I shall advoid that, too.


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About The Theory

  • I rented The Ring last weekend, and it is one of the best horror movies I’ve seen in a long time. There is very little gore or violence, it is instead a classic ghost story, with a growing sense of dread and terror.

    The extra scenes are included as an extra short film, and I wish for the DVD release they had included the extra scenes in the movie since they clarify a couple of points, and provide a better ending too.