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#444 - The Ring
Gore Verbinski, 2002

After the death of a relative, a journalist starts to investigate a supposedly cursed tape that will cause whoever views it to die within the space of a week.

I had somehow managed to miss seeing the American version of The Ring yet had still heard about its intriguing urban-legend premise. I did watch Ringu a few years ago and liked it well enough, so I had a pretty good idea what to expect from a remake. In that regard, it's good that The Ring is actually a rather decent example of a remake that (at least to my memory) doesn't stray too far off the script of the original. Though you could easily make the case that this does make a remake even more fundamentally pointless, I'm just glad that the existence of a remake doesn't insult my intelligence too much. It is a bit difficult to think of this as a horror film despite its paranormal premise, and it's debatable as to how well the actors involved pull this off. Good actors such as Naomi Watts and Brian Cox deliver decent enough performances, but these generally aren't the most demanding roles as they serve the story and do little more (Martin Henderson in particular doesn't feel especially good here).

The film tries to replicate the visual style laid down by the original complete with VHS-like flickers and tracking effects but also renders events in washed-out shades of blue-green so as to lend its own style to proceedings, which is a decent enough attempt to differentiate itself from the original. While I don't particularly care for the acting on display and there's not all that much in the way of serious scares beyond its inherently unsettling and abject premise, I can't fault The Ring too much. It's a passable attempt at introducing new ideas to 21st-century American horror without grossly unnecessary variations upon its source and at the very least it maintains a decent visual aesthetic, but that's not enough to make it a classic.