The Ring



This movie is very, very scary.
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


Intense peril and violence, deeply disturbing images, characters killed, death of child


A wet t-shirt and some references to dating (and staying together in the mountains) without parental knowledge.


Some strong language for a PG-13

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Brief, unspecific reference to drug use

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie is very, very scary. Four people and a horse die on-screen, with the potential for many more untimely demises throughout and -- don't read on if you enjoy surprises -- beyond the end of the movie. The overall tone is creepy and would leave many of the staunchest of moviegoers in dire need of brightly lit rooms and laughter.

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. 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?


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 dyad 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. They might also wish to discuss the way that different characters deal with the untimely death of a loved one.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 18, 2002
DVD release date:March 4, 2003
Cast:Amber Tamblyn, Martin Henderson, Naomi Watts
Director:Gore Verbinski
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.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

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 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, 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, 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


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

Star Wars Guide