This US remake of Japanese hit Ringu (in which folk who watch a creepy video tape all die horribly within days) looks good, sounds good, has its fare share of genuine scares, and for a 'mainstream' US release is defintely better than the average American horror movie. However, it tries just too hard to impress and whilst it largely matches its source material blow for blow, the attempts at explaining the images on the killer video tape are just unnecessary and a classic demonstration of the desperate modern studio feeling that audiences must have everything spelt out to them. All the more pointless here given the supernatural premise.
The unusual colour pallet used throughout is an example of how Verbinski's US transfer does match the original's zeitgeist. The pallid, drained colours, especially people's faces, lend an eerie tone in more ways than one, as does the vaguely blue/green tint throughout. Hans Zimmer's music avoids the cliches of the genre and adds significantly to the unsettling air. The first victim sequence is genuinely disturbing and one scene in which a fly is plucked from the image on a TV screen is a (new) stylish surrealistic touch. A worthwhile remake that in some respects improves upon the Japanese version but is ultimately slightly undermined by the polish that replaces the grime of the original. 7/10
Rob Dyer (October 2004)
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