Friday, 26 October 2012

The Ring — A film by Gore Verbinski

Dr. Scott: You don't want to hurt anyone. Samara: But I do, and I'm sorry. It won't stop. Everyone will suffer.

16-year-old Katie Embry and 17-year-old Becca Kotler are bored at home and watching TV.

Eventually, they discuss a supposedly cursed videotape while alone at home at the former's house. According to legend, those who watch the tape die seven days later. Katie reveals that seven days ago, she went to a cabin at Shelter Mountain Inn with her boyfriend, where she viewed the video tape. The girls laugh it off, but after a series of strange occurrences in the next few minutes, involving a television in the house turning itself on, Katie dies mysteriously and horrifically while Becca watches, leading to Becca's institutionalization in a mental hospital.

Katie's cousin, Aidan, is visibly affected by the death. After Katie's funeral, Ruth Embry asks her sister Rachel, who is Aidan's mother and a journalist, to investigate Katie's death, which leads her to the cabin where Katie watched the tape. Rachel finds and watches the tape; the phone rings, and she hears a child's voice say "seven days", upsetting Rachel. The next day, Rachel calls Noah, her ex-boyfriend, to show him the video and asks for his assistance based upon his media-related skills. He asks her to make a copy for further investigation, which she does, but later takes it home herself.

After viewing the tape, Rachel begins experiencing nightmares, nose bleeds, and surreal situations (for instance, when she pauses a section of the tape in which a fly runs across the screen, she is able to pluck the fly from the monitor). Increasingly anxious about getting to the origin of the tape, Rachel investigates images of a woman seen in the tape. Using a video lab, she discovers images in the tape's overscan area, which through further research she discovers to be a lighthouse located on Moesko Island. It also turns out that the tape's overscan does not include time code, which hints that the tape was not made using electronic equipment. The woman turns out to be Anna Morgan, who lived on the island in Washington, many years prior with her husband Richard. Rachel discovers that, after bringing home an adopted daughter, tragedy befell the Morgan ranch – the horses raised on the ranch went mad and killed themselves, which in turn supposedly had caused Anna (who loved her horses) to become depressed and commit suicide. After waking from a particularly jarring nightmare, Rachel is horrified to discover Aidan watching the tape. Panicked, she calls Noah, revealing that Noah is Aidan's father.

Rachel goes to the Morgan house and finds Richard, who refuses to talk about the video or his daughter and sends Rachel away. A local doctor tells Rachel that Anna could not carry a baby to term and adopted a child named Samara. Dr. Grasnik recounts that Anna soon complained about gruesome visions that only happened when Samara was around, so both were sent to a mental institution. While Rachel is investigating on Moesko Island, Noah is investigating the institution, where he finds Anna's file and discovers that there was a video of Samara, but the video is missing. Back at the ranch, Rachel sneaks back to the Morgan house where she discovers a box containing the missing video and a live centipede that was shown in Samara's tape. Rachel watches it, and is confronted by Richard who claims that she and her son will die, and that there is nothing they can do about it. He then electrocutes himself in the bathtub, sending Rachel running out of the room screaming.

Noah arrives and, with Rachel, goes to the barn to discover an attic where Samara was kept by her father. Behind the wallpaper they discover an image of a tree seen on the tape, which grows near the Shelter Mountain Inn.

At the inn, they discover a well underneath the floor, in which Rachel finds Samara's skeletal corpse, experiencing a vision of how her mother pushed her into it. Rachel notifies the authorities and, feeling sorry for Samara, gives her a proper burial. Rachel informs Aidan that they will no longer be troubled by Samara. However, Aidan is horrified, telling his mother she had freed her body, and that Samara "never sleeps" and that she was not supposed to help Samara. While he says this, his nose begins to bleed. In his apartment, Noah's TV turns on, revealing an image in which a decaying Samara crawls from the well and out of the TV into the room. Horrified, Noah trips backward and tries to crawl away from Samara. Samara faces him, exposes her true face and stares directly at him, killing him with fear, which Rachel discovers after racing to his apartment and seeing his face distorted like Katie's was.

Upon returning to her apartment, Rachel destroys and burns the original tape. Wondering why she had not died like the others, she remembers that she made a copy of the tape. Rachel realizes the only way to escape and save Aidan is to have him copy the tape and show it to someone else, continuing the cycle. Rachel helps Aidan copy the tape, who asks her what is going to happen to the person they give the tape to. She does not respond as a shot of the well is shown in the tape. Then the screen goes to static and ends with a few pictures from the tape.

Directed by Gore Verbinski.

Written by Kôji Suzuki, Ehren Kruger & Scott Frank.

Music by Hans Zimmer. Cinematography by Bojan Bazelli. Editing by Craig Wood. Distributed by DreamWorks Pictures. Release date(s): October 18, 2002.

Starring: Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, David Dorfman, Daveigh Chase, Jane Alexander, Shannon Cochran, Amber Tamblyn, Rachael Bella, Lindsay Frost & Brian Cox.

The Ring is based on the 1998 J-Horror film リング or Ringu. Which itself is based on Kôji Suzuki's 1991 novel of the same name.

Note: During the cursed video, about 25 seconds in, a young boy's muffled singing can faintly be heard. This audio track is taken from The Innocents (1961).

Further information here, here & here. Video content here, here & here.

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