Some of you may be aware that I’ve been having some difficulty getting to sleep at a reasonable hour lately. Today, through a combination of waking up early, the effect of my extended period of insomnia, and plenty of riding my bike back and forth across Tempe dropping off resumes trying to find employment, I was mentally and physically ready to go to sleep by nine o’clock. I tried. I even managed to stay in my darkened bedroom for nearly an hour before I had to get up and turn all the lights on, having determined that sleeping tonight would be entirely impossible.
Not because of insomnia. Not because of stress about trying to find work; I have to be up before seven AM tomorrow to start training for one of my opportunities. Not even my mind racing, keeping me awake. Tonight it’s my heart that’s racing. I don’t remember the last time I felt this way about a movie. I don’t think it’s ever been this extreme before, literally moving me from bed, afraid of the dark and what might be hiding there.
When I left the theater after watching The Ring, I was satisfied. I didn’t think it was particularly scary, and I don’t remember the opening-night audience screaming even once (though I might have missed it, as intently as I was watching the movie unfold). I hurried home to watch Firefly and John Doe, believing that I could forget about The Ring as easily as a similar re-make of the Japanese classic horror film Ringku, feardotcom. Then I turned out all the lights, put on some music and tried to sleep.
Images from the deadly tape kept appearing before my eyes, whether I had them open or closed. The dark was enough that the difference was negligible. Dark, except for the images she was showing me. Don’t you understand? She never sleeps.
Okay, okay. Keep it together. The movie. As you may already be aware, the basic premise of The Ring is that there is this video. When you watch the video, as soon as it’s over, your phone rings. A voice tells you you have seven days, and is gone. Exactly seven days after you watch the video, you die. The movie follows the seven days of a young woman journalist as she attempts to figure out where the video came from, whether it can really kill you, and then how she can try to stay alive. More than once the film gives the impression that it’s over, only to keep revealing more of the story.
Thinking back over the film, there were few specific sequences that were particularly scary. The very opening sequence, almost everything after the first time you think the movie is over, and the actual content of the video were all quite scary. There was a constant feeling of something being just around the corner, a constant level of suspense drawn out continuously throughout the film very effectively. There were a few startling moments, but no big jumps. (Do you remember when the alien’s shell suddenly burst open in ID4 and literally everyone jumped back in their seats? Nothing quite like that.) Something about the movie seemed to have everyone moving slowly but steadily back into their seats, further from the screen as it became increasingly intense though.
Why do I have these images in my head? Why won’t she leave me alone? I’m supposed to be learning how to handle paperwork for filing loans in a little over 5 hours. I was supposed to be asleep over 5 hours ago. My head is starting to hurt, and I don’t know if it’s from lack of sleep or from physical manifestations of the images I saw on the video. I may try to go to sleep one more time after I finish writing here, but somehow I have this nagging feeling that I won’t be able to slip into unconsciousness.
So, The Ring: Captivating cinematography, excellent maintenance of suspense, great acting (even from the little boy, whose performance will undoubtedly be compared to Haley Osment’s, but who did a great job in a totally different way), and did I mention that it has scared me so much that I’m afraid of turning out the lights to go to sleep? It’s pretty f***ing scary. F***.