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‘Original always better than remake’ adage Rings true

When will modern filmmakers learn that creepy houses, multi-legged insects and insane asylums do not make good horror movies? The Ring is the most recent film in the dwindling horror genre that fails to give audiences a full-on scare-a-thon.

The Ring is the story of journalist/single-mother Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) and her search for answers about a mysterious videotape (that resembles the work of a pretentious NYU film student), which kills its viewers within one week.

Rachel is alerted to the tape after her teenage niece’s death and her investigation becomes even more personal when she realizes that the tape has put her son Aidan’s (David Dorfman) and his father Noah’s (Martin Henderson) lives in danger.

But as Rachel pieces together the puzzle she seems to only get further from the truth — and closer to her family’s demise.

The Ring is a remake of one of the largest grossing films, horror or otherwise, in Japanese history. When, oh when will Hollywood learn? “Remake equals bad, originality equals good.” For this remake DreamWorks brought in director Gore Verbinski (The Mexican) and screenwriter Ehren Kruger (Scream 3).

This film is Verbinski’s debut attempt at horror filmmaking, which is all too evidently portrayed through his absurd and futile use of various bugs, characters’ unexplained nosebleeds and, of course, the eerie-open-door-at-the-scary-house trick. He has also evidently ripped off Stephen King’s “shining” feature and bestowed it upon the film’s characters accordingly.

Verbinski’s films are not known for their substantial composition — but maybe DreamWorks should have thought of that before they let him have a chair with his name on the back. The dialogue between characters is insipid, especially the overly contrived nature of Aidan’s best Haley Joel Osment impression.

Kruger’s screenplay didn’t help make Verbinski’s inaugural horror venture any easier, though. His screenwriting suffered from a bad case of replication — throw Drew Barrymore into the first 15 minutes of the film and this could have easily been Scream 4.

However, this pseudo-horror flick keeps its viewers attention on the fairly interesting plot that unfolds – though extremely incidentally – through the duration of the film.

The Ring spawned a prequel and a sequel overseas in Japan. Let’s hope that American movie studios are content with this lone adaptation.

Contact Nick Margiassoo