The Ring (2002 film)

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The Ring
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Gore Verbinski
Produced by
Screenplay by Ehren Kruger
Based on
Music by Hans Zimmer
Cinematography Bojan Bazelli
Edited by Craig Wood
  • BenderSpink
  • Parkes/MacDonald Productions
Distributed by DreamWorks Pictures
Release date
October 18, 2002 (2002-10-18)
Running time
115 minutes[1]
Country United States[2]
Language English
Budget $48 million[3]
Box office $249.3 million[3]

The Ring is a 2002 American supernatural psychological horror film directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, and Daveigh Chase. It is a remake of the 1998 Japanese horror film Ringu, which was based on the novel of the same name, written by Koji Suzuki.

The film was released theatrically on October 18, 2002, and received mostly positive reviews. Many critics praised the reliance on dread and visuals over gore and the direction along with the screenplay writing, but mainly criticized the lack of character development. The film grossed over $249 million worldwide on a $48 million production budget, making it one of the highest-grossing horror remakes of all time. The film was followed by two sequels, The Ring Two (2005) and Rings (2017).

The Ring is notable for being the first American remake of a Japanese horror classic and for paving the way for a number of subsequent "J-horror" remakes, such as The Grudge, Dark Water, and Pulse.


High school students Katie and Becca discuss an urban legend about a cursed videotape which kills anyone who watches it seven days later. Katie admits that she watched the tape with her boyfriend and two friends the previous week. That night, Katie is killed by an unseen force.

At Katie's funeral, her aunt Rachel, a Seattle journalist, is asked by Katie's mother, Ruth, to investigate her death. Rachel discovers that Katie's boyfriend and two other teenagers mysteriously died on the same night as Katie. After learning that they watched the cursed videotape at Shelter Mountain Inn, Rachel travels there and watches the tape, which contains disturbing and surreal imagery. Afterwards, she receives a phone call from an unknown caller who utters "seven days".

Rachel recruits the help of Noah, the estranged father of her son, Aidan. He watches it and has Rachel make him a copy to study. Rachel discovers hidden footage of a lighthouse on the tape. Her research leads her to identify a woman on the tape: a horse breeder, Anna Morgan, who committed suicide after her horses were involved in a mass suicide in Moesko Island. Rachel discovers Aidan watching the videotape and informs Noah.

Leaving Aidan in Ruth's care, Rachel heads for Moesko Island to speak to Anna's widower, Richard. At the same time, Noah travels to Eola Psychiatric Hospital to view Anna's medical files, which contains missing footage. On the ferry to the island, Rachel spooks a racehorse and it leaps off the ferry to its death. On the island, she discovers Anna had an adopted daughter, Samara, but Richard denies it.

Rachel speaks with the island doctor, who explains that Anna could not conceive and so adopted Samara. Samara possessed an uncontrolled ability to psychically etch images onto objects and into the minds of her parents and their horses, tormenting them. Noah also learns of Samara's existence and heads for the island.

Rachel sneaks into the Morgan house and watches the missing footage of Samara explaining her powers during a psychotherapy session. Richard discovers her and strikes her. Realizing that Samara's evil is still at large, he electrocutes himself in the bathtub. Noah arrives and he and Rachel enter the barn. In a loft converted to Samara's bedroom to isolate her from her mother, they find an image of a tree behind the wallpaper; Rachel realizes it is the image of a tree at the Shelter Mountain Inn.

In Cabin 12, Rachel and Noah discover a stone water well beneath the floorboards. They remove the lid but Rachel is pushed inside. A hand grabs her, and Rachel experiences a vision of Anna pushing Samara into the well, where she survived for seven days. Samara's corpse surfaces in the well and Rachel tries to appease her spirit by giving her a proper burial. Afterwards, Noah informs Rachel that seven days have passed since she watched the cursed videotape, leading them to believe that the curse is broken.

Aidan warns Rachel that the curse is not over. Rachel realizes that Noah is next and rushes to save him, but the vengeful ghost of Samara crawls out of his television and kills him. Rachel finds his corpse and returns home to destroy the tape. She realizes that she was spared because she made a copy and showed it to Noah. Rachel helps Aidan make his own copy and plans to show it to someone else.



The film went into production without a completed script.[4] Ehren Kruger wrote three drafts of the screenplay before Scott Frank came on to do an uncredited rewrite. Verbinski was initially inspired to do a remake of Ring after Walter F. Parkes sent him the VHS copy of the original Japanese film, which he describes as "intriguing", "Pulp" and "avant-garde". The film also sought to retain the minimalism that was prevalent through the original film and the decision of making the film's setting in Seattle was established due to its "wet and isolated" mood. Verbinski also admitted to not wanting to cast "big stars" as he wanted his film to be "discovered" and describes the wave of harsh criticism from hardcore fans of the original Japanese film as "inevitable" although he expressed desire for hardcore fans of the original to find the remake as equally compelling.[4]


The film features an original score composed by Hans Zimmer (who would later collaborate with Gore Verbinski's other works). The soundtrack release did not coincide with the film's theatrical run. It was released in 2005, accompanying The Ring Two in an album that combined music from both The Ring and The Ring Two.

The Ring/The Ring Two (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Film score by Hans Zimmer, Henning Lohner, & Martin Tillman
Released March 15, 2005
Genre Classical
Length 63:50
Label Decca

All music composed by Hans Zimmer, Henning Lohner, and Martin Tillman.

The Ring/The Ring Two (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Well" Hans Zimmer, Henning Lohner 11:24
2. "Before You Die You See the Ring" Hans Zimmer 7:09
3. "This is Going to Hurt" Hans Zimmer, Martin Tillman 2:48
4. "Burning Tree" Hans Zimmer, Henning Lohner, Martin Tillman, Trevor Morris 10:13
5. "Not Your Mommy" Hans Zimmer, Henning Lohner, Clay Duncan 3:59
6. "Shelter Mountain" Hans Zimmer, Martin Tillman, Trevor Morris 4:10
7. "The Ferry" Hans Zimmer, Henning Lohner, Martin Tillman, Trevor Morris, Bart Hendrickson 3:15
8. "I'll Follow Your Voice" Hans Zimmer, Henning Lohner 6:28
9. "She Never Sleeps (remix)"   2:17
10. "Let the Dead Get In (remix)"   3:59
11. "Seven Days (remix)"   3:24
12. "Television (remix)"   4:00
Total length: 63:50


In order to advertise The Ring, many promotional websites were formed featuring the characters and places in the film. The video from the cursed videotape was played in late night programming over the summer of 2002 without any reference to the film.


Box office[edit]

The film was financially successful, and the box office gross increased from its first weekend to its second. The initial success led DreamWorks to increase the film into 700 additional theaters.[5] The Ring made $8.3 million in its first two weeks in Japan, compared to Ring's $6.6 million total box-office gross.[6] The success of The Ring opened the way for American remakes of several other Japanese horror films, including The Grudge and Dark Water.[6]

Critical reception[edit]

The Ring was met with generally positive reviews from film critics. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 72% based on 201 reviews, with a rating average of 6.6/10.[7] The site's consensus reads: "With little gore and a lot of creepy visuals, The Ring gets under your skin, thanks to director Gore Verbinski's haunting sense of atmosphere and an impassioned performance from Naomi Watts." Metacritic gave the film a score of 57/100 (mixed or average) from 36 reviews.[8] On Ebert & Roeper, Richard Roeper gave the film "Thumbs Up" and said it was very gripping and scary despite some minor unanswered questions. Roger Ebert gave the film "Thumbs Down" and felt it was boring and "borderline ridiculous"; he also disliked the extended, detailed ending.[9][10] IGN's Jeremy Conrad praised the movie for its atmospheric set up and cinematography, and said that "there are 'disturbing images'… but the film doesn't really rely on gore to deliver the scares… The Ring relies on atmosphere and story to deliver the jumps, not someone being cleaved in half by a glass door" (referencing a scene from Thirteen Ghosts).[11] Film Threat's Jim Agnew called it "dark, disturbing and original throughout. You know that you're going to see something a little different than your usual studio crap."[12] Verbinski was praised for slowly revealing the plot while keeping the audience interested, "the twists keep on coming, and Verbinski shows a fine-tuned gift for calibrating and manipulating viewer expectations."[13]

Despite the praise given to Verbinski's direction, critics railed the characters as being weak. The Chicago Reader's Jonathan Rosenbaum said that the film was "an utter waste of Watts… perhaps because the script didn't bother to give her a character",[14] whereas other critics such as William Arnold from Seattle Post-Intelligencer said the opposite: "she projects intelligence, determination and resourcefulness that carry the movie nicely."[15] Many critics regarded Dorfman's character as a "creepy-child" "Sixth Sense cliché."[13] A large sum of critics, like Miami Herald's Rene Rodriguez and USA Today's Claudia Puig[16] found themselves confused and thought that by the end of the movie "[the plot] still doesn't make much sense".

The film ranked number 20 on the cable channel Bravo's list of The 100 Scariest Movie Moments. Bloody Disgusting ranked the film sixth in their list of the "Top 20 Horror Films of the Decade", with the article saying that "The Ring was not only the first American 'J-Horror' remake out of the gate; it also still stands as the best."[17]


Year Award Category Nomination (s) Results
2002 Saturn Awards Best Movie Horror Won
Best Actress Naomi Watts Won
2003 MTV Movie Awards Best Movie Nominated
Best Villain Daveigh Chase Won
Teen Choice Awards Best Movie Horror Won

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Ring (15)". British Board of Film Classification. October 21, 2002. 
  2. ^ "The Ring". American Film Institute. Retrieved April 3, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b "The Ring (2002)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved 2014-12-06. 
  4. ^ a b "INTERVIEW WITH GORE VERBINSKI". 2002. Retrieved 2 March 2017. 
  5. ^ The Ring Box Office and Business at the Internet Movie Database
  6. ^ a b Friend, Tad. "REMAKE MAN." The New Yorker, June 2, 2003.
  7. ^ "The Ring". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-07-29. 
  8. ^ "The Ring". Metacritic. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  9. ^ Ebert, Roger (October 18, 2002). "The Ring Movie Review & Film Summary (2002)". Retrieved 2013-12-23. 
  10. ^ Ebert & Roeper clip.
  11. ^ "The Ring". IGN. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  12. ^ "The Ring". FilmSpot. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  13. ^ a b "The Ring". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  14. ^ "The Ring". The Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  15. ^ "The Ring". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  16. ^ "'Ring' has hang-up or two". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  17. ^ "00's Retrospect: Bloody Disgusting's Top 20 Films of the Decade...Part 3". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 

External links[edit]