Dare To Watch
Iíve just finished making my first videotape, and itís very special. Anyone who watches it will be forced to do my bidding for seven days. On the final day, they must participate in a protest against incomprehensible movies like The Ring.
Too bad I couldnít recruit an up-and-coming star like Naomi Watts (Mulholland Drive) for my suspenseful video project. Regrettably, she was too busy playing a journalist out to solve the mystery of that other tape, the one in The Ring. What a waste of time for this beautiful and talented Australian actress! And a disappointment for me, I must say. Oh well. Que sera, as the song goes.
Anyhoo, a former tap-dancing student of mine agreed to star in my video. And guess what? Even though this isnít a musical, she gives a terrific performance as a mental patient whoís extremely angry at being kept in an old silo on a deserted farm. In scenes too gruesome to describe, her character ends up killing all kinds of animals just by thinking evil things about them. I canít tell you any more about my tape or youíll be too frightened to watch it. Which isnít the case with The Ring.
Still, if artsy shots of swirling fog and trees with blood-red leaves scare you, by all means see this remake of one of Japanís biggest box office hits. And, anyone who gets chills from movies with giant plot holes will find plenty to shake and shiver about in The Ring. Be prepared for horrible questions to haunt you. Why would a mother leave a dangerous video where her child (David Dorfman) could reach it? How does a child know more about the supernatural aspects of the mystery than the adults (Watts and Martin Henderson) involved? What power does Wattsí character have over her boss that enables her to keep working after sheís fired? Who persuaded Jane Alexander (Sunshine State) and Brian Cox (The Rookie) to appear in this flick? And so on.
Director Gore (Iím not kidding!) Verbinski explains the terror he attempted to project in The Ring as follows, " . . . there is a tape, seemingly like any of those unmarked tapes (in many video stores), but if you watch it the phone rings, and then thereís the warning that you have seven days left to live. So it is not enough that you will die; for seven days you know you are going to die. There is that desperation as you get closer to the end and start to feel the walls closing in on you. And that, I think, brings a uniqueness to the horror."
While I admired Verbinskiís work on Mouse Hunt and The Mexican, I believe he concentrated too much on style and too little on substance in The Ring. Thatís why I didnít hire him to direct my own "Dare To Watch" videotape. Where can you find my tape, you ask? Donít even try. It will find you.
(NOTE added on 11/14/02: My apologies to readers who took this satiric review seriously. I was trying to have some fun with it. For an in-depth critique, go to "Two Rings," Jeffrey Chen's comparison of The Ring and the original Japanese version, which is also posted on ReelTalk.)
Released by DreamWorks Pictures and rated "PG-13" for thematic elements, disturbing images, language, and some drug references.