Reviewed by: Greg Mueller
The Ring was a breath of fresh air in 2002 (for American audiences at least). In 2019, The Ring is a sloppy mystery movie that doesn't hold up. The cinematography is creative, but not really unique. Gore Verbinski does do a great job with framing and colors, but the actual shot composition isn't as exciting. The acting isn't great, but I won't say anyone was terrible. Naomi Watts has a few great scenes, but also a few that miss the mark. My real problem is with how they play the story. The Ring is almost two hours long, but we have about an hour of actual story that they stretch and pad out with unnecessary scenes. The core plot line is a great idea. I love the mystery of the tape, but The Ring doesn't really work as a mystery. The main character, Rachel, unravels the mystery way too fast and has these "Aha!" moments that the viewer isn't able to follow. We, as an audience, don't get to work through the clues and work out what happened because the "clues" aren't really clues, but just plot points to pivot the story. The answers we get are compelling and I liked the resolution, but the ending is far too anti-climatic. Even with two hours to work with, they condense the actual plot and never flesh out what is going on. I didn't get any horror from The Ring, but if they could have ran a solid, well paced paranormal mystery, I would have loved it anyway, but they don't. It feels like there are layers of lore that The Ring just refuses to touch. It spends far too much time trying to be creepy to actually portray a mystery. My other issue is that the filmmakers seem to think that the entire audience is dumb and can't remember things we saw half an hour before. We saw (parts of) the Ring video, we remember the damn mirror. You don't need to show us the clip of the mirror every time. We got it, trust me, the most memorable part of The Ring is the stuff from the VHS tape, so you don't have to constantly show us that this lighthouse is the same as the lighthouse from the tape. I know I watched Ringu before, but I remember more from this remake than the original, so it must do something right.