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]
  • 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 reporter who investigates a cursed videotape that kills anyone after a week.

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 remakes of all time. The film includes 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.


During a sleepover, teenagers Katie Embry and Becca Kotler discuss the urban legend of a cursed videotape that kills whoever watches it after seven days. Katie admits she watched it a week ago. At 10pm, Katie experiences supernatural phenomena and flees to her bedroom, but she is killed by an unseen force. Becca institutionalized after the experience.

At Katie’s funeral, her aunt Rachel Keller, a journalist, is asked by Katie’s mother, Ruth, to investigate the mysterious circumstances behind Katie's death. Rachel has a son, Aidan, who possesses a sixth sense. Rachel discovers Katie’s boyfriend and two other teenagers died all at the same time. After learning they spent a weekend at Shelter Mountain Inn, Rachel travels there. She finds the videotape and watches it in the cabin Katie stayed in. The video contains haunting, abstract imagery. Afterwards, the cabin’s telephone rings, and a girl utters “Seven days” to Rachel.

Rachel recruits Aidan’s father Noah Clay, a video analyst, to help. Rachel makes a copy for further study. Rachel discovers hidden footage of a lighthouse on the tape. Researching it leads her to the identity of a woman on the tape, deceased horse breeder named Anna Morgan, who committed suicide after a strange sickness caused her beloved horses to throw themselves off the cliffs of Moesko Island. Rachel discovers Aidan watching the videotape, informing Noah.

Leaving Aidan in Ruth’s care, Rachel heads for Moesko Island to speak with Anna’s widower, Richard Morgan, while Noah travels to Eola Psychiatric Hospital to see Anna’s medical files during her time there. On the ferry to the island, Rachel spooks a race horse which escapes its pen and falls to its death. She discovers Anna had an adopted daughter, Samara, though when speaking with Richard, he denies having a child.

Rachel speaks with the island’s GP, Jane Grasnik, who explains Anna could not conceive, so she adopted Samara. However, Samara possessed an uncontrolled ability called thoughtography, tormenting her parents with nightmarish imagery. Noah also learns of Samara’s existence, heading for the island.

Rachel sneaks into the Morgan house, watching a therapy session with Samara, who implies she killed the horses. Rachel confronts Richard, who commits suicide in a bath. Noah arrives, he and Rachel going to the barn, finding the loft converted into Samara’s bedroom, isolated from her mother. They find an image of a tree behind the wallpaper, realising it is the same tree at Shelter Mountain.

Returning to the cabin, Rachel and Noah discover a stone water well beneath the floorboards, being the final image on the videotape. Assuming Samara is inside, the two remove the lid. Rachel is knocked down the well, Noah running out to find a rope, while she searches for Samara’s corpse. A hand grabs her, Rachel experiencing a flashback which reveals it was Anna who killed Samara. Samara’s corpse then surfaces in the well, Noah informing Rachel that her deadline has passed. Samara’s body is removed by the authorities, Rachel realising she survived in the well for seven days.

The next day, Aidan reveals he is still cursed. Rachel tries to contact Noah, who witnesses Samara’s ghost crawl out of his television and kill him. Rachel discovers his corpse shortly after. Rachel destroys the tape in rage, but realises she was spared because she had copied it and showed it to someone else. In a final scene, Rachel helps Aidan make his own copy. When Aidan asks who they will show it to, she remains silent.



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 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.[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]

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.[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".

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."[15]


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. ^ "00's Retrospect: Bloody Disgusting's Top 20 Films of the Decade...Part 3". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 

External links[edit]