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PCR # 135  (Vol. 3, No. 43)  This edition is for the week of October 21--27, 2002.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"The Ring"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith
Three stars!

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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Naomi Watts, Brian Cox
Directed by: Gore Verbinski
Rated: PG13
Running Time: 1 hour 55 mins

Ah, those old Urban Legends. You've heard the one about the man waking up in the bathtub full of ice only to find one of his kidneys missing. And surely you've heard the one about the escaped lunatic with a hook for a hand and the couple that got scared parking at lovers lane. When they got back to her house, the boyfriend is shocked to find a bloody hook hanging off of the door handle. And of course you've heard about the special video tape. After you watch it, you only have seven days to live. You haven't heard of that one? Well, let me tell you about it.

Based on the 1998 Japanese film "Ringu," "The Ring" begins with the very innocent Katie (Tamblyn) and her girlfriend talking in her room. During the conversation, Katie spills the beans that, instead of staying with a friend last weekend, she, her boyfriend and another couple went elsewhere. While with her friends, they stumbled onto a video tape filled with weird images. As soon as the tape finished, the phone rang and a voice on the other end told her that she only had seven days to live. And, by the way, today is the seventh day. Wow! Maybe it's not just a legend after all.

At Katie's funeral, we meet Rachel (Naomi Watts). Rachel and her son were very close to Katie. Rachel is also a reporter, and when she learns of the unusual circumstances of Katie's death, she decides to do a little investigating. In the midst of a conversation with Katie's friends, she discovers that the other three people who saw the tape also died mysteriously. On the same night. At the same time. Convinced she has stumbled onto a great story, Rachel finds her way to the camping lodge the kids had stayed at. Staying in the same room as the victims, Rachel proceeds to watch the aforementioned tape. When it's over, she answers the ringing phone, only to hear the words, "Seven Days."

What follows is Rachel's attempt to unlock the mystery that has surrounded this tape and it's images for many years. She is now literally on a deadline to finish her story. Watts is excellent as Rachel. When her own curiosity becomes a struggle between life and death, she does what she needs to in order to solve the mystery. Alexander and Cox provide excellent support in their scenes and Tamblyn, who is the daughter of actor Russ Tamblyn (Riff in "West Side Story") makes an impressive film debut.

Full of suspense and genuine terror, "The Ring" is easily one of the most frightening films of the past few years. On a scale of four stars, I give it ***.

This week's movie review of "The Ring" is ©2002 by Michael A. Smith.   All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2002, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2002 by Nolan B. Canova.