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, high school friends Katie and Becca discuss an urban legend about a cursed videotape that kills anyone seven days after watching it. Katie confesses that she watched the tape last week. At 10 PM, Katie witnesses supernatural occurrences downstairs and flees to her bedroom, only to be killed by an unseen force.

At the funeral, Katie's mother Ruth asks her sister Rachel Keller, a journalist whose son Aidan possesses extrasensory abilities, to investigate the mysterious circumstances behind Katie's death. Ruth informs her that she found her daughter's gruesomely distorted corpse in the closet and that her official cause of death was a heart attack, despite Katie being an otherwise healthy teenager. Rachel later learns about the legend of the cursed videotape from Katie's remaining friends. She also discovers that Katie's boyfriend and her two other friends all died in bizarre accidents on the same night at 10 PM.

Rachel eventually travels to Shelter Mountain Inn and stays at Cabin 12, the same cabin where Katie and her friends watched the cursed videotape. Rachel watches the tape, after which the phone rings. Rachel hears a childish voice utter "seven days". She enlists help from her ex-boyfriend Noah Clay, a video analyst. They discover that the tape was not made by conventional electronic equipment as Noah requests Rachel to make a copy for further study. They investigate for clues within the contents of the cursed videotape, including the brief hidden imagery of a lighthouse. Meanwhile, at home, Rachel discovers Aidan watching the cursed videotape, much to her dismay. Rachel tells Noah that their son Aidan watched the tape.

Rachel researches the lighthouse and discovers that it was located in Moesko Island, the home of an ill-fated horse breeder named Anna Morgan, the same woman who appeared on the cursed videotape. It was revealed that Anna's horses were involved in a highly publicised mass suicide, which led to her depression and eventual suicide. Rachel travels to Moesko Island to investigate her past and leaves Aidan at home to be babysat whilst Noah searches for Anna's medical files in Eola Psychiatric Hospital, which contains missing medical footage. On the ferry, Rachel discovers Anna had an adopted daughter named Samara, who possessed nensha, allowing her to burn disturbing images into the minds of people, animals and objects.

Rachel meets Anna’s surviving husband Richard, but he becomes agitated when she starts asking him about Samara and the cursed videotape. She then speaks to the island’s physician, Dr. Grasnik, who explains that Anna experienced horrible visions and dreams after Samara began burning gruesome images into her mind. Rachel watches the missing medical footage, which was revealed to be Samara explaining her powers to her psychiatrist during a psychiatric session. As the footage ends, Richard abruptly strikes her in the head. Assuming that Richard abused and killed Samara, she confronts Richard but he was revealed to be one of Samara's past victims and decides to end the torment Samara inflicted upon him by electrocuting himself in the bathtub.

Noah arrives as they discover an image of the same tree found in both Shelter Mountain Inn and the cursed videotape beneath the wallpaper in the attic of a horse barn, where Samara was kept to prevent her from harming anyone else with her powers. Returning to Shelter Mountain Inn, they discover a well beneath the floorboards of Cabin 12. Rachel accidentally falls into the well, where she receives a vision revealing that Anna was the one who killed Samara via suffocating her with a plastic bag and dumping her body into the well, where she survived for seven days. Finding her corpse, Rachel attempts to appease her spirit by offering her a proper burial and when she realises that the time she was supposed to be killed by the curse has passed, she and Noah return home, believing the curse was finally broken.

However, Aidan warns Rachel that Samara's curse was neverending. Rachel realises that Noah is next to die as she drives to his apartment to warn him. Meanwhile, Noah witnesses an image of a well being suddenly displayed on his TV screen. Samara, in the form of a vengeful ghost, emerges from the well, crawls out of the TV screen and reveals her hideously waterlogged face to Noah, frightening and ultimately killing him via a heart attack. Rachel realises she is too late to save him after discovering his gruesomely distorted corpse in his apartment. She returns home and furiously destroys the original cursed videotape but realises that she had been spared after making a copy and passing the copy to Noah. Rachel decides to save Aidan by making a copy of the initial copy she sent to Noah. Aidan asks what will become of the person they send the copy to as Rachel 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]