Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Greatest Movies That Made Going to the Movies Suck #10- The Ring

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Aiden Appears Courtesy of Cut The Crap Movie Reviews
When I think about movies that made going to the movies suck, there aren't a whole lot that come to mind. You've got American Beauty for the suburbs, Gladiator for your old-timey war epics and maybe Ichi the Killer for testing one's willpower, but only one movie jumped out at me when I thought of movies that set the bar and set it early, spawning countless imitators that sucked to high heavens because it was inevitably compared back to the one that started it all.

That movie, dear readers, is The Ring.

No, it doesn't exactly fall into the realm of "classics" considering it only came out eight years ago and I'm sure there are some of you out there with iron wills and brass balls who didn't even think it was scary, but bear with me on this one.

Now, as far as legitimately horrifying and well-made horror movies that have come out over the last ten years are concerned, I could probably count them all on one hand and even that might be generous. You've got The Descent, The Orphanage, maybe Three...Extremes and, of course, The Ring. I don't know why that is and it's beyond me how so many movies manage to fail so epically when it comes to scaring an audience without inducing unintentional laughter, but such is life and I'd rather have a tentative four to go with over the course of a decade than nothing at all.

The reason I'm picking out the American remake rather than Ringu is simple: not only is it rare to find an American remake these days that doesn't outright blow, but it introduced the Westerners to the evil world of J-horror. See, Americans are pretty tame when it comes to movies, we don't have directors like Takashi Miike in Japan or Chan-Wook Park in South Korea who get away with murder by putting out movies like Audition and Oldboy while we're over here churning out yet another shitty Nightmare on Elm Street sequel. And the crazy thing is, they're famous for it, whereas they'd probably find themselves in the hot seat across from Oprah if they ever tried to pull that shit in the land of freedom fries.

At least we've got Tarantino with his Kill Bills and all, but, damn, us Yankees need to grow a pair.

But even though The Ring was a remake, it was still totally new to a mainstream audience. It's beyond eerie, it's incredibly strange, it presents us with images and circumstances the likes of which we've hardly even dreamed of, and, most importantly, it isn't cheap. This is one of those rare movies that keeps you on edge at all times because the scares wait, they never show up when you think they will and by the time they do come around, they're thrice as a terrifying. I could not effing believe my eyes when I first saw that chick in the closet.

Look, Dark Water, The Grudge 1-26, The Eye, One Missed Call, Premonition, Pulse - all these God awful American remakes of J-horror hits wouldn't even be around if it weren't for The Ring and it's still the only one that did it right.

It probably helps that all these movies suck to begin with, but the real reason The Ring made going to the movies suck is because it's just so damn good. I thank my lucky stars I never got to see this in theaters because I was traumatized enough just seeing at home...on a VHS tape...with the kitchen phone ringing off the hook halfway through.

On second thought, maybe I should have seen it in theaters.


  1. I couldn't even watch it!! I went to the theatre, dragged in by friends. Spent the whole movie with my face in my hands with my knees tucked up in front of me. 8 dollars to listen to squeaky noises and people yelping in terror ... ha. I'm not great with horror films. Too jumpy! One day I hope to conquer this... but I doubt it, haha.

  2. Hey Mike, the link you posted on my blog for the My Best Post blog-a-thon doesn't work. Could you e-mail me the link?

  3. Love this movie, I do.

    (I also liked Dark Water, but that's another battle for another day, my friend)

  4. What most of the modern day mainstream horror movies forget is how much anticipation can add to the experience of being scared. That creepy atmosphere that slowly but surely curls you up in a ball on your couch (or your theatre seat), that squirmy feeling you get as the camera slowly moves in on a door, that drop in your gut as all the sound vanishes from the surrounding speakers...And you're left wondering - what the hell is about to happen next? So when something does happen, well, as you said "thrice as terrifying".

    Many of the original versions of the films you listed (except for "Premonition" - the original wasn't very good) do this in spades. I'm hugely partial to the Ju-On films (and you know, the American remakes aren't really that bad - they follow mostly the same principle of working with dread over shocks) and I think "The Ring" did it very well. I'm still surprised that so many of the passionate "Ringu" lovers hate it.