(Welcome to Scariest Scene Ever, a column on the spookiest scenes in horror, with your tour guides being Matt Donato and Ariel Fisher, two leading authorities on the genre. One of “The Ring’s” scariest scenes occurs immediately away in this particular version.)
I’ve always been frightened easily. I know, it’s hard to believe.
People who are familiar with me are now laughing uncontrollably, and I don’t blame them. Despite my passion for horror movies, I often become shaky when watching them. I speak loudly at the screen as if I can sway the decisions of the characters in the movies. However, I never completely conceal my eyes and frequently gasp aloud. I even scream a little bit occasionally. As a child, I was also like this. I would frequently believe the terrifying tales my elder cousins would tell me out of gullibility, which caused me to have nightmares for days. I would be startled by loud noises, feel cold in a room that was empty, or see faces in the dark.
“This is my wife, she’s easily startled,” my spouse would add.
I recall watching “The Ring” when it initially debuted, but I’m not sure if I watched it on DVD or in a theatre. I do know that it horrified me to the core. I would physically bolt from a room when I heard the static white noise of a dead TV station. This was a common tactic my older brother employed to get me off the household computer. Rude but successful.
The moment in “The Ring” that has the biggest impact on me occurs 15 minutes in, not long after the now-famous and frequently mocked opening.
I’m still troubled by the image of Amber Tamblyn in the closet.
The plot of “Ringu,” a remake of Hiroshi Takahashi’s 1998 J-horror hit, is remarkably similar to that of the original. In this version, Naomi Watts plays the journalist who must team up with Martin Henderson, who plays her ex-husband, to figure out the riddle of a supposedly cursed videotape that is murdering individuals seven days after they first see it. The tape, its history, and the reasons why viewers are dying are examined in the paragraphs that follow. Simply put, “The Ring” is terrifyingly well done. Obviously, depending on what frightens you. However, if slow-burn spooky stuff gives you the chills, this is for you.
The Story So Far
Have you heard of a videotape that, when seen, kills you?
There is a reason why this scene was mimicked. Two teenagers named Katie (Amber Tamblyn) and Becca (Rachael Bella) are shown watching TV at the beginning of the film. Katie goes off on conspiracy fantasies, claiming that the magnetic pulses in phone and television frequencies are depleting our brain cells.
A better tale is told by Becca.
Becca shares the urban legend of the tape that kills in her best Spooky Story accent. After it’s finished, reportedly a woman appears and you receive a call stating that you will pass away in seven days. This is pure nightmare fodder. Katie expresses her fear with steely eyes.
She has seen the video.
She collapses in Becca’s lap, suddenly starting to choke. Becca is in a panic and has no idea what to do until Katie starts laughing.
Pillow fights and literal laughter about boys follow, but when Katie’s phone rings, she looks as though she’s seen a ghost. Becca, who is unclear of how to handle her friend’s anxiety, asserts that “there truly is a tape.” Thankfully, Katie’s mother Ruth is on the other end of the line, simply checking in.
She puts up the phone with a sigh of relief and gets herself a drink of lemonade. However, the TV automatically turns on to a dead station before she can leave the kitchen. There is only static. blaring noise She believes Becca is pulling a joke on her, but she can see the remote control in front of her. When she turns it off and begins to leave, it automatically turns back on. She yells at Becca to stop while lunging for the TV and unplugging it.
Something is shifting in the distance.
She climbs the stairs nervously and carefully and discovers a pool of water in front of her bedroom door. When she unlocks it, her TV is on and there is a grainy black-and-white image of an ancient well on the screen.
The moment the camera rushes towards Katie, Katie’s face quickly becomes sallow and her eyes turn dead. A sound pierces the silence like nails on a chalkboard.
There is only static. blaring noise
The next image shows us a young boy sitting by himself in a classroom as his teacher keeps an eye on him. The sound of a lady walking down the hallway while ranting angrily into the phone can be heard through the closed door. Naomi Watts’s Rachel (who is obviously late) walks into the classroom agitated. Her son Aiden (David Dorfman) appears stoic but distressed. In order for Rachel and his teacher (Sandra Thigpen) to converse, he leaves the room.
Since the preceding week, Aiden has been producing ominous and unsettling sketches. They are images of his recently deceased cousin Katie, as Rachel points out. His self-expression doesn’t bother the teacher; rather, the fact that Katie passed away just three days ago does.
As they make their way home in the rain, Rachel can be seen to be confused about how to approach her son. As Aiden gets him ready for bed, he begins to discuss the idea of death. You know, kid-friendly stuff. It appears that Katie indicated she didn’t have enough time because she knew she was going to die.
They go to Katie’s funeral the following day. The wake at the family’s house is a sad gathering with aunts, uncles, grandparents, and family acquaintances, most of whom are significantly older than the deceased, in their 40s to 60s.
Ruth is grabbed by Rachel as she moves in the home and is tightly hugged. There is no brother-in-law for her. “He doesn’t move, Ruth says, just sleeps all day. He finds it to be too much.”
She is grieving and perplexed. Nobody is able to explain to her what happened to her daughter, a 16-year-old whose heart suddenly stopped.
Rachel is almost begged by Ruth to find out. “Isn’t that what you do? Pose inquiries?”
She begs while her face turns white.
I could see her face.
The powerful sound of nails on a chalkboard pierces the peaceful buzz of mourners in the background, ripping us away from the solemnity of the moment.
A wardrobe door opens.
Katie is curled up on the floor of her closet, her legs tight to her chest, and her hands desperately gripped in front of her. She has an unnatural face. Deformed. Her upturned, empty eyes. She had charcoal-colored skin. Her mouth was wrenched open and twisted to the side in an unusually loud scream. Her head tilts forward onto her knuckles as the camera closes closer.
In three seconds, everything happens.
The Impact (Matt’s Take)
The art of creating effective jump scares is painstaking, methodical, and delicate, although detractors of the genre would contend that any jump scare is pointless. The entire tribe of Jabronis.
Due in large part to Gore Verbinski’s orchestrated bombardment of scary visual bursts, “The Ring” is gosh-diddly-darn horrifying and one of the better remakes to escape the oft (wrongly) vilified 2000s period of studio remake obsessions. Ariel occasionally appears on screen as Katie’s soulless, discarded husk for just long enough for you to miss her if you sneeze. No longer necessary because Verbinski prompts the horrifying stinger’s grisly crime scene evidence.
The only sound to disturb the peaceful kitchen tableau of sobs and tears is the sound of the tap water rinsing dishes as Rachel and Ruth talk for a whole minute. There isn’t any visible threat other than Katie’s corpse rising from the dead like a zombie, which we know won’t happen in “The Ring,” so there is enough time for viewers to settle into predictable dramatic dialogue. We have no reason to think Verbinski will use a smash-cut to a teenager’s body, and there are no cues in the movie that suggest the interruption will be paralysing. Perspectives and expectations are the thrown setting before an unavoidable spike, therefore everything revolves around them.
Verbinski doesn’t linger, which is much better. Death is only a decoration. The sudden flash throws audiences off balance and nearly makes them wonder what just hit their eyeholes. Was that just a distorted, agape schoolgirl shoved into view before the mortuary visit? It is undoubtedly a long enough hold to make your stomach turn, yet it is also brief enough to maintain the air of mystery surrounding whatever calamity caused a young child’s heart to stop beating.
Never overstay your welcome at the risk of lessening the horrible repercussions; only show what is necessary.