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
Distributed by DreamWorks Pictures
Release date
October 18, 2002 (2002-10-18)
Running time
115 minutes[1]
  • United States
  • Japan
Language English
Budget $48 million[2]
Box office $249.3 million[2]

The Ring is a 2002 American supernatural psychological horror film directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Naomi Watts and Daveigh Chase. It is a remake of the 1998 Japanese horror film Ring, which was based on Ring, a novel by Koji Suzuki about a man who discovers a videotape that turns out to be cursed.

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 criticized the character development. The film also grossed over $249 million worldwide on a $48 million production budget, making it one of the highest-grossing horror films 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, Pulse, and One Missed Call.


During a sleepover on one weekend night, two high school students, Katie Embry and Becca Kotler, discuss the urban legend about a cursed videotape that was rumoured to kill anyone 7 days after initially viewing it. Katie confesses to Becca that she watched the said tape with her boyfriend and two other friends last week but Becca assumes that she is trying to frighten her. At 10 PM, Katie witnesses several supernatural occurrences downstairs as she flees upstairs and calls for Becca. However, she notices water leaking out of her bedroom and as she opens the door, an image of a well is displayed on her TV screen as an unseen force rushes towards her and kills her.

At Katie’s funeral, her aunt Rachel Keller, a troubled journalist from Seattle, is asked by her sister Ruth to investigate the bizarre circumstances behind Katie's death after discovering her daughter's gruesomely distorted corpse in a closet on the same night Katie was killed and that her cause of death was a heart attack, despite Katie being a healthy teenager. Rachel’s son Aidan possesses an extrasensory ability, claiming Katie told him she would die a week ago. Rachel also discovers Katie’s three friends all died at 10 PM on the same night Katie died and that Becca has been institutionalized after witnessing her death. Looking through Katie's photos, Rachel finds out that they have all stayed at Cabin 12 in Shelter Mountain Inn a week before their deaths. When paying to stay a night at the cabin, she notices an unlabeled videotape among the selection at the inn's reception, which she secretly takes. In Cabin 12, she watches the videotape which contains surreal and disturbing images. As soon as the tape ends, the cabin’s telephone rings and Rachel hears a childish voice utter "7 days".

Rachel enlists help from Noah Clay, her ex-boyfriend and Aidan’s father. A video analyst, Noah is initially skeptical of the tape’s curse but watches it, asking Rachel to copy it for examination. Rachel studies the video, discovering hidden imagery of a lighthouse. She identifies it as the lighthouse of Moesko Island, connecting it to a woman on the video, a horse breeder named Anna Morgan. Anna’s ranch was caught in controversy when her prize-winning horses committed mass suicide by leaping off a cliff and into the sea below, which ultimately led to her suicide. Rachel and Noah both experience supernatural symptoms as a result of the tape's curse throughout the week. At home, Rachel discovers Aidan watching the cursed videotape much to her dismay. She leaves Aidan in Ruth’s care, while she goes to Moesko Island via ferry, and Noah travels to Eola Psychiatric Hospital to gain information on Anna’s medical files.

Rachel discovers Anna had an adopted daughter named Samara Morgan, who possessed nensha, allowing her to burn gruesome and twisted images into the minds of people and animals and objects. On the ferry to the island, a horse is spooked by Rachel's cursed presence and commits suicide in a similar fashion to Anna's horses and is mangled by the propellors of the ferry. Rachel meets Anna’s widower Richard, but he becomes agitated when she starts asking him about Samara and the cursed videotape. She then speaks to the island’s GP, Dr. Grasnik, who explains that Anna experienced horrible visions and dreams after Samara began burning gruesome images into her mind. Rachel watches a psychiatric session of Samara explaining her strange powers to her psychiatrist but Richard abruptly hits her as the video ends. Assuming that Richard abused and killed Samara, she confronts Richard but he reveals to her that he had been a victim of Samara's mental torment and electrocutes himself in the bathtub to end it for good. Noah arrives, and the two search the ranch’s barn where Samara was isolated from her family to prevent her from harming anyone else with her powers. They find a burnt drawing of a tree on the wall, the same tree seen in the videotape, which in turn was located in Shelter Mountain Inn.

Traveling to Shelter Mountain Inn, Rachel and Noah discover a well hidden beneath the rental cabin. Rachel falls down the well and experiences a vision where it is revealed that Anna threw Samara down the well, where she survived for 7 days. Rachel recovers Samara's corpse and gives her a proper burial in an attempt to appease her spirit. She also discovers that she is still alive on the time and date that she was supposed to be killed, making Rachel and Noah believe that the curse is now broken. The next day, Aidan informs Rachel she shouldn’t have set Samara free as "she never sleeps", revealing that the curse is still active.

Rachel drives to Noah's apartment after realizing that he is next to death. Meanwhile, Noah witnesses a TV turn on by itself, where an image of a well is displayed. A decayed Samara crawls out of the well and exits the TV screen, where she reveals her waterlogged face, killing Noah via fear. Rachel then discovers that she is too late to save him after discovering Noah's corpse in a similar fashion to Katie's. The enraged Rachel drives home and destroys the original tape but soon realizes she was spared because she copied it and showed it to Noah, replicating the curse. In the closing scene, Rachel helps Aidan make his own copy of the tape, and he asks what happens to the person they show the tape to. Rachel doesn't respond as the film ends with static.



The film features an original score composed by Hans Zimmer. 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 Web sites 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 movie.


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.[3] The Ring made $8.3 million in its first two weeks in Japan, compared to Ring's $6.6 million total box-office gross.[4] The success of The Ring opened the way for American remakes of several other Japanese horror films, including The Grudge and Dark Water.[4] A sequel, The Ring Two, was released in North American theaters on March 18, 2005. It was directed by Hideo Nakata, the director of Ring.

Critical reception[edit]

The Ring was met with generally positive reviews from film critics, receiving 72% favorable reviews out of 201 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7][8] 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).[9] 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."[10] 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."[11]

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",[12] 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."[13] Many critics regarded Dorfman's character as a "creepy-child" "Sixth Sense cliché."[11] A large sum of critics, like Miami Herald's Rene Rodriguez and USA Today's Claudia Puig[14] found themselves confused and thought that by the end of the movie "[the plot] still doesn't make much sense".[15]

The film ranked number 20 on the cable channel Bravo's list of the 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."[16]


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. ^ a b "The Ring (2002)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved 2014-12-06. 
  3. ^ The Ring Box Office and Business at the Internet Movie Database
  4. ^ a b Friend, Tad. "REMAKE MAN." The New Yorker, June 2, 2003.
  5. ^ "The Ring". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-07-29. 
  6. ^ "The Ring". Metacritic. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  7. ^ Ebert, Roger (October 18, 2002). "The Ring Movie Review & Film Summary (2002)". Retrieved 2013-12-23. 
  8. ^ Ebert & Roeper clip.
  9. ^ "The Ring". IGN. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  10. ^ "The Ring". FilmSpot. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  11. ^ a b "The Ring". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  12. ^ "The Ring". The Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  13. ^ "The Ring". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  14. ^ "'Ring' has hang-up or two". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  15. ^ "No gore, yet scares aplenty in 'Ring'". Miami Herald. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  16. ^ "00's Retrospect: Bloody Disgusting's Top 20 Films of the Decade...Part 3". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 

External links[edit]