Halloween Favorite: The Ring

Poster for The RingWhen it comes to paranormal horror, The Ring is in my book as one of the scariest movies ever made. The premise doesn’t sound too scary at first — everyone who watches a particular video tape dies within a week of viewing the tape. Naomi Watts plays Rachel, a reporter who is investigating a string of deaths that seem to be connected to the tape, and she is definitely skeptical at first. But what is on the tape is inexplicably creepy. And then things start happening, and people start dying, and all of a sudden, Rachel is racing against time to save not only herself, but also her son.

This movie is one that actually made me a little scared to go to sleep at night after I saw it — both the first and second times. I haven’t watched it in awhile, but I am guessing that I would still find it scary. Here’s what makes it scary for me:

  • That freaky girl with her long dark hair all in her face. I watch a lot of Asian horror — this movie is actually a remake of the Japanese Ringu — and the Japanese seem to have something going on with hair. There’s even some mythological history about hair demons. I’m not sure why hair, or hair covering her face, is scary but it works.
  • The stop-motion filming that makes the creepy girl almost jump toward you as she’s coming out of the well, or crawling out of the TV set. Also, her arms and neck work at odd angles. It’s just not natural and I don’t want it coming at me quickly and with purpose. Ack.

Still shot of creepy girl from The Ring

  • I think, though, what bothered me most about the movie was the faces of the people who died of fright. All purplish and distorted, and you only get a quick glimpse of them – not long enough to really figure out everything that’s wrong, but quite long enough to make a lasting impression of “oh crap”.

Naomi Watts in The Ring

  • Just the idea of the way the curse works. Being targeted simply due to viewing the recording, regardless of who you are or how you came across the video. The potential for accidental cursing wakes up that fear of punishment for unintentional transgression, something that is rooted deeply in us from childhood. Also, the lack of recourse — there’s no way to turn back or change your fate. This is an unforgiving evil, one that doesn’t care about excuses and which is simply angry and ready to strike out and punish anyone within its range. The predatory nature of the force unleashed by the tape, combined with the sure, slow stalking of the victim to a known date death, creates a torturous situation full of dread and completely lacking in the possibility of mercy.

If you haven’t watched this movie yet, just know that once you do the following week is going to be pretty rough for you.

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