The Ring Movie Poster Image

The Ring

(i)

 

Remake of Japanese horror film is terrifying and creepy.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Review Date: March 17, 2005
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 115 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

In Hollywood Horrorland, wronged dead people have inexplicable evil magical powers that they feel the need to use on innocent strangers.

Positive role models

Decades ago, a husband and wife treated their difficult young daughter badly, ending in the girl's death. The girl's vivid and lingering anger is expressed for decades after her demise in supernatural revenge against both her mother, her father, and, later, innocent strangers for no apparent reason. A mother who believes that she and her young son are doomed to die owing to a supernatural curse searches frantically for answers.

 

Violence

The soundtrack is filled with the spitting of unending Seattle rain, echoing orchestral strains of doom and loud and relentless guttural sound effects, all adding to the scariness. A dead girl's face decomposes in a few seconds. Refrigerators open themselves. Screws unscrew themselves. Wells cover themselves. Water seeps out of nowhere. Handprints appear and then disappear just as mysteriously. A horse seems to go mad for no reason, violently escapes his trailer, runs amok, and then jumps off a ferry into a river to his death. Blood is seen in the water. Several people have spontaneous nosebleeds. A man kills himself using electric cords and an overflowing bath tub. A dead girl is found wearing an expression of horror. A woman tumbles down a deep well, where she discovers a girl's dead body. On television, in a grainy black-and-white video, a long-dead girl emerges from a well looking gray and menacing, then climbs out of the TV set and causes the frightening death of an innocent man. A woman throws a bag over her daughter's head and tosses her down a well. In addition to unremitting scariness, this movie also continually poses the question "why?" and then never answers it, which is even scarier.

Sex

A 16-year-old girl mentions in an aside that she stayed at a cabin with her boyfriend without parental knowledge. Her friend asks if they "did anything." A woman in bra and underpants looks for a dress. A character in a wet T-shirt.

Language

"S--t," "prick," "bitch," "damn."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Teenagers and adults smoke cigarettes. Someone mentions Vicodin.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Ring is a 2002 remake of a Japanese film that is very, very scary. Four people and a horse die on-screen, with the potential for many more untimely demises throughout. The soundtrack is filled with the spitting of unending Seattle rain, echoing orchestral strains of doom and loud and relentless guttural sound effects, all adding to the scariness. A dead girl's face decomposes in a few seconds. Water seeps out of nowhere. Handprints appear and then disappear just as mysteriously. Blood is seen in the water. Several people have spontaneous nosebleeds. A man kills himself using electric cords and an overflowing bath tub. A dead girl is found wearing an expression of horror. A woman tumbles down a deep well, where she discovers a girl's dead body. On television, in a grainy black-and-white video, a long-dead girl emerges from a well looking gray and menacing, then climbs out of the TV set and causes the frightening death of an innocent man. A woman throws a bag over her daughter's head and tosses her down a well. Profanity includes "s--t," "prick," "bitch," and "damn."

What's the story?

In this remake of a Japanese horror film based on a series of books, urban legend meets scary movie reality when four teens die, as predicted, exactly seven days to the minute from when they watched an unmarked video in a remote mountain cabin. Rachel (Naomi Watts), the aunt of one of the teenagers, is a savvy and skeptical journalist whose curiosity is sparked by tales of the tape. After finding and watching the source of the mystery, she receives a phone call announcing that she has seven days to live. From there, it is a race to solve the clues and answer the riddle of the video, with the stakes greatly raised when two of the people closest to her, including her young son, watch the deadly tape.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Director Gore Verbinski does an excellent job of letting our imaginations find portent and peril in the most mundane of actions, such as picking up groceries at the local corner store. Watts is a relief as she plays through the gamut of Rachel's emotions with truly credible, but not overwrought, gusto. While the adults are busy solving the riddle of the tape, the heart-stopping pair of the Ring's children usher in the deeper dimension of fear. Rachel's son, Aiden (a stony-eyed David Dorfman), is the medium and interpreter for the terrifying Samara (Daveigh Chase), who is at the heart of the mystery.

THE RING dips deep in the well of oft-used scary images, which paradoxically results in a movie that is both architecturally firm but, with little new to add, empty of true revelation.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the decision that Rachel makes at the end of the movie and the ramifications of her actions. Did she make the right decision? Why, or why not?

  • Discuss the way that different characters deal with the untimely death of a loved one.

  • For fans who have seen the original Japanese tale, how does this movie compare? If you have seen the sequels, how does this one stack up?

  • What is the appeal of scary movies?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 18, 2002
DVD release date:March 4, 2003
Cast:Amber Tamblyn, Martin Henderson, Naomi Watts
Director:Gore Verbinski
Studio:DreamWorks
Genre:Horror
Run time:115 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:thematic elements, disturbing images, language and some drug references

This review of The Ring was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Scarier than the first, but not as interesting.
  • Creepy suspense/horror film. Older teens plus.
  • Gory original Satanism saga; popular but plodding.
  • Great, but sometimes scarier than R-rated horror.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 15 years old Written byindiemusiclover27 June 8, 2011

This movie is not "very, very scary".

I think the original review of this movie given by Common Sense Media is too critical. The Ring is not scary; some people may find the cursed tape and the Morgan family to be creepy. Otherwise, this movie is more interesting than scary; mind you, this was my first scary movie experince. Also, there is not any sex in this movie; the closest you'll probably even get to sexual themes is in one scene where Rachel (the protagonist) is in her bra and underwear in her house looking for a dress. Language is not much of a problem either; the only drinking/drug reference is at the beginning where Rachel was telling some girls about how sometimes her and her friends would get high in Rachel's room during their teen years. In a nutshell, this movie is not as bad as Common Sense Media makes it seem.
Teen, 15 years old Written bybookkeeper October 29, 2009

Scary scary scary *spoilers*

I haven't seen many horror movies, but this one was freaky. I can't think of any family appropriate words for how scared I was after watching this last Halloween. I had to sneak into my sister's room for the next two nights and listen to audiobooks to get any sleep at all. The Ring, though it has many somewhat gory and very disturbing images, has less of a horror feeling than an overall creepy feeling of impending doom. So, for those who are curious, I will try to name all the scary parts that I remember, so you can be on the lookout. If you don't want to know, don't read them. The beginning was scary; the one girl tells her friend and the audience about the tape, and then reveals that she watched it- 7 days ago. As the clock strikes 10, when she watched it the week before, things start happening (I don't actually remember the specifics). Either way, it's all very creepy and ominous- the TV turns on and off and on, static fizzing from the living room (I was afraid of static-y TVs for weeks, by the way). She opens the door to her room, and screams, and that's the end of her. You don't see what happened to her until the reception for her funeral, which our protagonist attends- the girl was her niece. They talk about her roommate (or was it her mother..?) finding her in the closet and BAM! Before you can blink, a quick flash of the girl, crouched in a closet and grotesquely distorted. The movie continues in similar ways- a man commits suicide in front of Rachel by electrocuting himself in his bathtub, a horse drowns and is chopped to bits by the propellers of a boat, Rachel pulls a long wire covered in black hair out from her throat. The tape itself is the creepiest thing I've ever seen. Simple shots of clues to the mystery of Samara, the ring girl. The climax is scary, but I'm not quite sure, as I was hiding behind a pillow the whole time. But the action- and gore- doesn't stop there because PLOT TWIST! And when Rachel is about to spin the chair around to see what's his face's face, don't look. I'm so glad I didn't- my friend still shudders to think of it. But, by this time, you are tired of plot twists, and just want it all to end. So, in conclusion: Scariest movie I've seen, disturbing images, and just a bit too long. Rachel is a good role model, who wants to save not only herself and her son, but everyone else who may ever watch the tape in the future.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great role models
Teen, 14 years old Written by96grlpowrCE March 10, 2010

More proof that j-horror re-makes are epic fails.

I didn't know I had this movie until I found it one day buried under all sorts of junk. I've seen Ringu, the movie on which this was based, and it's a lot better. I'm not frightened by Samara-- and this is coming from a girl who is afraid of TRAINS, for crying out loud-- and I just feel bad for her. The only scene that scared me was the suicide scene, and I was pretty creeped out by the poor horses falling off the boat. I would suggest seeing the Japanese version of this movie as it is a lot better (if you're looking for a scare) but if you have young and/or sensitive children and they just HAVE to watch this movie, please at least cover their eyes during the scenes I mentioned.
What other families should know
Too much violence

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?