For a self-professed “movie geek,” there’s some significant holes in my film knowledge, but the largest are certainly in the horror genre, a genre I’ve only recently embraced. One such hole is J-Horror – I’ve only seen Pulse (and thoroughly disliked it), and have yet to see the original Ringu.
This means that I can evaluate The Ring on its own merits, which are many. The story may be a little incoherent in parts (for example,Brian Cox’s largely unnecessary character), but the focus here is on mood rather than narrative, and that’s where this film excels. Impeccable cinematography from Gore Verbinski (a superb director whose talents were largely wasted on the Pirates of the Caribbean films) paired with an effective Hans Zimmer score creates and sustains a deathly, foreboding mood throughout.
A valid criticism is that the main characters are fairly generic. I think this actually strengthens the film’s effect: the lack of definition of Naomi Watts’ character and the mundane setting combine to make it easy to picture yourself in the same situation. After watching the film late at night, I certainly felt a distinct sense of unease as the television screen blinked off, returning the room to darkness.