Hong Kong Cinema

The Ring (Collector's Edition)

  • Made: 2002
  • Format: DVD
  • Region: 2 PAL
  • Release Date: 28 Mar 2005
  • Company: Universal
  • Length: 110 minutes
  • Picture: 1.85 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Extras: Rings (15 mins short), Deleted scenes, Trailers, Making Of, Scene Selection
  • Classification: 15


Gore Verbinski


Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, David Dorfman, Brian Cox, Lindsay Frost, Daveigh Chase


The Ring (2002) is a Dreamworks backed remake of the terrifying Japanese genre classic. Based on the novel by Kôji Suzuki and subsequent movie by Hideo Nakata, this US version features a production budget 44 times that of the Japanese original! Starring Naomi Watts and Martin Henderson, this film made a handsome $129m in the US and a further $120m at the worldwide box office in 2002. Not only did this ensure that a full trilogy would be released, but it also led to a rather undignified Hollywood scramble to snap up the rights to similar Japanese horror classics such as The Grudge, Dark Water and The Eye.



The Ring is based on the startling premise that if you watch a videotape you will die horrifically seven days later. The video is a series of creepy images which carries the secret of the Ring. After watching the tape a mysterious telephone call informs you of your fate. Most people die thinking that this threat is nothing more than a prank, but our heroine takes it seriously as she begins to investigate the mysterious death of her niece. To add extra spice to the mix, her child (David Dorfman) and estranged lover (Martin Henderson) also watch the video. As the days count down, the search for answers becomes more and more frantic, and the closer they get to the truth, the more terrifying it becomes!



The US version of The Ring is not a great departure from the Japanese original. It is filmed under a heavy green filter and involves a stylised blend of CGI and snappy editing. This being said, there is still an underlying desire to weave cheap thrills into the story, which ultimately undermines the true terror of the Ring. Hitchcock once said that "there is no terror in a bang, only in the anticipation of it". This valuable lesson is regularly overlooked by director Gore Verbinski in favour of giving a scary jump to the popcorn-munching multiplex moviegoers.



Watts and Henderson make a particularly good looking couple, and Watts is resplendent in the tight T-shirt department. However, this does pose two important questions. Firstly, was it worth getting such attractive leads when they are completely wooden actors? It is immensely difficult to relate to the lead protagonists as they run through their limited repertoire of scared faces. Secondly, and crucially, how did these two models of physical perfection create such an ugly child? He looks like a cross between a Cabbage Patch Kid and a Rugrat! Furthermore, he is also a dreadful cliche of the 'spooky kid' that is used more and more in lazy horror movies these days.




The collector's edition disc contains an excellent anamorphic print, DD5.1 sound and the normal host of extras ('making-of' documentary, deleted scenes, scene select etc). However, there is an exceptional addition to this disc with the 14 minute short entitled Rings. This works as a conduit between this film and the forthcoming sequel, but is eminently more imaginative than just a teaser trailer. In some ways this short film is more terrifying than the feature movie, depicting youths who experiment in seeing how many days they are prepared to hold the curse.


Fans of Asian cinema are normally divided over Hollywood remakes. On the one hand, it painfully highlights the lack of originality within the US film industry at the moment, as producers rely on sequels, comic franchises and foreign gems. It also reminds us that many people are still unaware that outside the protective bubble of Western culture there lies a great expanse of creative and imaginative movie making. However, these remakes also help improve the general public's awareness of world cinema as fans become interested in the original versions. Along with some must-see extras, The Ring (Collector's Edition) is a pretty good remake of a great horror movie that will adequately cater for those who cannot appreciate the superior Japanese original.