it for $19.96 at Amazon
The plot in a nutshell
Urban legend has it that there's a video tape out there that kills you -
seven days after you watch it. One teenage girl finds out the hard way
the legend is true.
And so begins a story of a
woman's search to save her life and that of her son before the same fate can
befall them. After watching the tape, you get a creepy phone call,
informing you that you have seven days. At first the aunt of the young
girl that dies is unwilling to believe, but then the required weirdness
begins to happen. Lucky for her, she's an investigative journalist,
and spends her last week trying to find the answer to save her life.
Her son accidentally watches the tape as well, adding to her already serious
The search leads her to a
little girl and a horse ranch, the unlikeliest of places. By the time
the film is over, you may be wondering if you'll be here one week from
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Relatively Spoiler Free Thoughts
This is one of those films that seems to either garner great praise or great
distaste. But the truth is really some place in between, with a well
written story that packs enough creeps to make you look over your shoulder
more than once.
There's nothing too exciting
about the acting, but that's not surprising. You'll see a unknown
cast, and they all handle their parts admirably if without much fan
fare. The best role is kept to the son of the woman reporter, who has
that Damian look down pat. Every scene he's in is excellent, and
although the little girl who causes all the fuss has little real screen
time, she does a marvelous job freaking you out.
There's not much in the special
effects department either, although there are some great make up effects,
and a couple nice touches around the television screens. The mood and
sound are just right, producing an atmosphere of tension and a feeling of
weight through out the entire film. But this is a movie that relies
heavily on one aspect - it's story. Fortunately, it is tight, with
just enough left to your imagination, but just enough left open to keep you
The movie opens with an
excellent scene, in which the teenage girl meets her demise one week after
watching the tape. This is handled extremely well, building suspense
much like the opening sequence in Scream. The tension never really
drops after that, and without much gore and even less boogeyman, they are
able to keep you riveted to your seat, waiting to learn the truth behind the
tape and the Ring.
And you do learn the truth, or
at least enough to be satisfied. They do leave a few questions
unanswered, but that makes the film even more intriguing. They answer
the big questions, and they do it in such a way to make you feel as though
you got your money's worth.
A note about the DVD itself -
it's pretty skimpy on the extras. There's an additional 15 minutes of
cut scenes, nicely re-edited together to film in some back story and give
you a little additional information. There's also the video itself,
which once you start you can't stop short of turning off your machine - nice
touch. There's also a DTS track, but it's not really used to it's
fullest extent. There are points where the surrounds are used to give
that extra punch to the spooky moments, but overall the sound is pretty
Rating - Buy It But...
This is a qualified buy it. If you're a big fan of unique horror,
check this out. I'd buy it now, except I think that due to the super
skimpy nature of this DVD release, that we'll see a better release in the
not too distant future. You may want to wait as well.
We are seeing something great
in the last couple years - unique horror tales. Thank goodness we've
gotten past the endless stream of slasher flicks, and producers are looking
for unusual and creepy tales to tell instead. Movies like Final
Destination, Blair Witch and this, while not perfect, are at least a breath
of fresh air.
Spoiler Laden Thoughts
So let's talk about the plot in slightly greater detail...
Here's a film with plenty to spoil, so let's get right down to it!
There are certain aspects I love about this film, but none of them more than
the simple fact that this is nothing more than the ultimate chain
letter. Yep! It's not really watching the video that kills you,
at least not in the sense that the video does anything. It simply
brings you to the attention of a little girl whose attention you do not want.
They managed to tie all the
little clues together nicely - the appearance of the water, the fly coming
through the screen, the seven day waiting period, and even what the 'ring'
really was. They also left plenty of plot points up in the air - who
is the little girl? what kind of power is this? where did she come
from? And what was meant by 'she never sleeps'?
You can answer many of those
questions with your own imagination, and that's what impressed me about the
film. They knew how much to tell, and how much to leave up to
you. Maybe the fact that they almost disappointed me and then pulled
it out at the end helped leave such a positive feeling about the film.
When it seemed as though the answer to the problem was to find her body, and
'put her soul to rest', I was thinking bad review time. I mean really,
what kind of silly, over used answer is that? And besides, why the
hell would she be killing people when that's all she wanted?
But when we found that helping
her had nothing to do with saving the woman's life, and that there was a
deeper point, the movie redeemed itself brilliantly. They baited you
with the obvious, and then pulled a relatively decent switch, without
causing too much confusion or dangling plot points. That's where the
chain letter came in - just make a copy, pass it along to the next sucker,
and you're home free.
There's a cut scene on the DVD
that shows a tape with no box sitting on the shelf of a video store.
I'm assuming that was how the director envisioned the reporter and her son
disposing of his copy, and it makes sense - you certainly wouldn't give it
to someone you knew! Still, you'd think they'd have the courtesy to
include a letter explaining what to do - that's the least that the standard
chain letter can do.