Friday, 15 May 2015
The Ring (American version) (5 Stars)
When people say that remakes of foreign films aren't as good as the original, this is the film I point at as an exception. The original Japanese version, made in 1998, was brilliant, but the 2002 American remake was even better. I'd say that it's brillianter, if the word existed. I saw the Japanese film first, and I was very impressed that Gore Verbinski, an almost unknown director, managed to surpass the original in quality. I think that what he did right was that he simply copied the original. He didn't attempt to add new plot points or remove what he didn't like. His film even has a Japanese look to it. The cinematography is dark and gloomy, with a lack of blue tones. It was a stroke of genius picking Naomi Watts for the lead role. At the time she was also widely unknown. She had impressed critics with her performance in "Mulholland Drive", but she was still unknown to the general public.
In its subject matter the film is rooted in the 1990's. The film is about a videotape. There was a crossover period in which both videotapes and DVD's existed side by side that lasted until approximately 2010, but the film is set in an age when there are only videotapes. Maybe 1995, if we really need to fix a date. The videotape is cursed. Immediately after watching it the phone rings, and the person who watched it is told that he will die exactly seven days later. A group of four teenagers watch the tape together and all die at the same time in different places. Rachel Keller, a sceptical reporter played by Naomi Watts, watches the tape as an unbeliever, but then realises that she only has a week to live, so she devotes her remaining time to solving the mystery.
What makes this film so intriguing is that it has the style of a detective mystery, rather than just being a horror film. Step by step Rachel investigates the tape, and every clue that she solves leads to other clues, continually widening the scope of the investigation.
Financially, the film was a big success, making a profit of over $200 million at the box office. It was one of the most successful horror films ever made.
I intend to re-watch the Japanese version in the next few days, but I have to look for it first. I still have too many unpacked boxes after my move last month.