The Ring

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
The Ring Movie Poster Image
Remake of Japanese horror film is terrifying and creepy.
  • PG-13
  • 2002
  • 115 minutes
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 41 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 173 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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 & representations

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
Drinking, drugs & smoking

Teenagers and adults smoke cigarettes. Someone mentions Vicodin.

What 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."

User Reviews

Adult Written bygavin m. jackson April 9, 2008

Couldn't Live Up

This is a film that couldn't live up to the scary first act of the film. It drones on, and on, asking more questions that it doesn't attempt to answe... Continue reading
Parent Written bylolboy55 December 9, 2012

for teens

i watched it when i was 5 years old and it was not that scary probably the scariest part is when she comes out the tv
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 Morga... Continue reading
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 las... Continue reading

What's the story?

In THE RING, a 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?

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the decision that Rachel makes at the end of The Ring 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

For kids who love to be scared

Our editors recommend

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