Ring, The (2002, USA/JAP) C-115m. *** D: Gore Verbinski. Starring Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, David Dorfman, Brian Cox, Jane Alexander, Lindsay Frost, Amber Tamblyn, Adam Brody, Daveigh Chase, Chris Cooper. Remake of the Japanese horror hit RINGU (1998) is surprisingly good. Watts plays a journalist, who investigates the mysterious death of her niece. It turns out she died exactly seven days after viewing a video. When Watts finds the tape and pops it into the VCR herself, she must solve the mystery before she falls prey to the video's curse. Not without flaws (some improbable coincidences, overlength, weak tacked-on ending), but the story is expertly told, well-directed and well-shot. Horror movie buffs will savor the references to genre classics like PSYCHO (1960), JACOB'S LADDER (1990) and even PROFONDO ROSSO (1975). Good score by Hans Zimmer. Followed by THE RING TWO (2005).

© Ron Altman