Man, oh, man,
the Ring is a snow job. It's eerie, sure, but like a Mazda
commercial with that creepy "zoom zoom" kid that goes
on too long. The makers were more interested in telling us the movie
is spooky than actually making it spooky. It's got style, the same
way a Gucci handbag bought in Tijuana does: it's an imitation that
doesn't hold up to scrutiny.
The dream team
of hack director Gore Verbinski (The Mexican and Mouse
Hunt) and hack writer Ehren Kruger (Reindeer Games [fuck
you, Kruger] and Scream 3) have adapted a Japanese hit horror
movie and you can bet your ass some pretentious fuck will go out
of his way to tell you the original was "so much better."
I can't imagine the original being worse, but the assholes aren't
telling you for your good, they're telling you in order to make
themselves sound like a fucking know-it-all.
In horror movies,
it's always a bad idea when the characters are more scared than
the audience. We're supposed to know that bad shit's going down
first, and then anticipate when it's going to happen. We say "No,
don't go in that room! Stay here and take off your blouse!"
In the Ring, the characters are scared shitless for 90 of
its belabored 115 minutes, horrified at stuff that just isn't scary.
People in the audience were laughing at the wrong moments. In this
version, our hack filmmakers use expensive lighting and locales
to say "Look, oooo, isn't that frightening, kids! Boo! Look
how scared Naomi Watts is. Aren't you scared at how scared she is?"
The answer is mostly no.
first scene sets the tone for the movie. It's a crappy leftover
from the Scream series, with two teen girls alone in a house
telling scary stories, and one dead before the opening credits.
This scene tells us first that Kruger and Verbinski are so lame
they can't even come up with an original opening. The scene's absurd
seriousness and drawn out pace also tell us Kruger and Verbinski
think they're pooping out some classy shit. This is not a tacky
horror film, this is a big important movie! Problem is, these guys
are too big of hacks to pull off anything else.
The dead girl
watched a tape that promises you'll be dead seven days after viewing
it. Naomi Watts is a journalist and the girl's Aunt; she takes on
the case and tries to solve the tape's mystery. She watches the
tape, and so does the audience. It's pretty fucking lame, like something
kindergartner's would make if Luis Buñuel were their teacher.
Mostly, Verbinski is trying hard to make Un Chien Andalou,
and rather than creep me out it just made me think about Salvador
Dali's mustache and slicing eyeballs. Then I thought about the Pixies.
Isn't that song "Hey" awesome?
Using her investigative
journalist skills, Watts uses her seven days to figure out what
is on the videotape. Me. Personally, I'd rob a bank and then I'd
shoot Paul O'Neill in the kneecaps for being so Goddamn annoying,
but that would be a different movie and you wouldn't get to see
Watts' perky nipples poking through a wet shirt. Watts wants to
identify the tape's people and the places and make sense of it.
She doesn't ask "How does this tape kill people?" or "How
can I keep from dying?" Instead she says, "Hey, I wonder
who that lady in the mirror is." We are dragged like toilet
paper stuck to her shoe through a tedious mystery for 90 bloodless
minutes. We know she's not dying for week, but we have to watch
all seven days. Really, the effect of the movie could be simulated
by randomly splicing scenes of maggots crawling all over a body
into an episode of "Murder, She Wrote."
she exposes the tape to her ex-husband (Martin Henderson) and her
moody son who can talk to the dead (David Dorfman doing a very bad
Haley Joel Osment). And guess what; near-death is a unifying experience.
Kruger and Verbinski thought we'd be pleased to see the mystery
reunite Watts and her ex. No, you fucking idiots! I'd be pleased
to see their heads get ripped off. I'd be pleased to see them wrapped
up in something bigger than they are. But all I got was a contrived
mystery, and two sleuths who never even get stumped. They just plow
through the clues and come to the conclusion. At least put them
in some danger that's more original and terrifying than a pissed
off old man holding a baling hook.
spends more time playing Scooby Doo than it does building tension.
Most of the problem is that the mystery is so fucking confusing
that it's hard to care. Only the screenwriter could solve this mystery
because he contrived it. We don't get to play along; we just follow,
and Verbinski thinks the fun is in us sitting there saying "What
The ending is
absolutely ridiculous. By trying to explain every last fucking detail,
Kruger and Verbinski make the whole thing collapse under the impossibility
and ridiculousness. The movie is about a videotape that kills people,
folks. If the audience is willing to buy a premise that silly, don't
oversell it. But no, they just keep piling on the explanations for
everything, and each of them opens two or three more questions.
It's like a bad lie, and the liars keep telling more to cover the
first one. The funny thing is that not one of the long-winded and
drawn-out explanations explains the only thing I cared about: how
does watching a videotape kill people? We learn all about a little
girl, some crazy horses and a barn, but nothing about how anyone
has the psychic powers to kill. And that's because nobody involved
knows. it's a B-movie concept given the A-movie treatment.
And end the
fucking thing already. Christ, this movie has so many false endings
it's like the Harelip when she's drowsy and she keeps falling asleep,
only to jerk upright and tell more story. "And then I went
and kcked him in the balls...zzzzz...but he got mad and told me
to get off his property...zzzz...so I says, I says 'fuck you, you
aren't my boss...zzz..." It gets old fast. They solve the mystery,
nobody will die. No, wait! Someone does die! Now it's a new mystery:
how do the other tapewatchers keep from dying?
The answer is
multi-level marketing. The eding suggests a bleak future where only
those who can network and recruit will survive. And in time, only
Amyway and Herbalife representatives will remain. Finally something
scary. Two Fingers for The Ring.
to tell Filthy Something?