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  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL 57:14)
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • German: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
    English, French, German, Dutch, Arabic, Bulgarian
  • Deleted scenes
  • Teaser trailer - Catch Me If You Can
  • Animated menus

The Ring

Universal/Universal . R4 . COLOR . 111 mins . MA15+ . PAL


Here we have the perfect solution to a cold winter’s night. Great for a cuddle, Gore Verbinski’s rendition of the classic Japanese horror film The Ring brings terror to the big screen, with the skill, precision and talent of the best horror legends such as Wes Craven and Alfred Hitchcock. OK, so if you’ve seen the original, chances are that this will really be a let down for you, but for those of us yet to see the Japanese version, this American rendition of the story kicks some serious terror butt. Such a powerful statement, and yes, the inbox is prepared for a large number of disagreeing emails, but still, this film just absorbs the audience and fills them full of fear like how a sponge absorbs water.

Guided by a tightly written script by Ehren Kruger (Scream 3, Arlington Road), the 31-year-old writes as if he’s written for decades, with a real sense of style and suspense. Verbinski’s composition and direction takes Kruger’s screenplay to the next level, adding motion, imagery, timing and colour to the static text, bringing the terrifying story to life. Only a few movies in this young reviewer’s life have really scared me shitless, one being The Never-Ending Story (that wolf was scary to a youngster!), another being Signs (the creepy Brazilian party scene) and now The Ring. From the opening frame, tension is built to such extreme levels and the intensity just cuts like a knife, adding up to form a frightfully mysterious film event. Now technically you can’t classify this as a horror film as there is barely any gore, murder or blood, as it just rises up above the simplistic nature of these and requires some brain activity from the audience.
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Naomi Watts bleeds talent off the screen...
Simple connections and signs can be seen throughout, and intelligently gives the audience plenty of time to think for themselves before obviously and passively revealing the links. Led strongly by a cast of Aussie(ish) exports, Naomi Watts (Tank Girl, Mulholland Drive, Ned Kelly) takes the lead as Rachel Keller, and Martin Henderson (Big Sky, Echo Point, Sweat (alongside Heath Ledger), Windtalkers) accompanying her as Noah. The equally talented supporting cast is strongly lit by Brian Cox (The Long Kiss Goodnight, The Bourne Identity) and the creepy youngster David Dorfman (Bounce) as Aiden Keller. But what is scarier - this little boy or the actual film?

Now this part will be brief, and its best that you go into this film open-minded, clear-headed and naïve to the story and outcome. But basically there is a video that is rumoured to exist – like an urban myth. It is said that immediately after watching the tape, the phone will ring with a female voice whispering “seven days” before hanging up. And then seven days later, the watcher will mysteriously and suddenly die. But what if you’re a journalist who stumbles across the story of your career? And what if you come across the tape - do you watch it? So just do yourself a favour, and go out and grab this disc. Scare yourself stupid – it’s a lot of fun, trust me. Well that is after you find your way safe and sound to your bed after walking through a pitch black house where God knows what can be hiding... eeeep!


Universal and Dreamworks have simply pushed forward the limits of DVD and have produced a technically stunning DVD. What isn’t there to like about this DVD? It’s clean, it’s sharp and it does its job at scaring the hell out of the audience. Blacks are boldly solid, showing no sign of any low level noise. At times towards the end, they do appear to hold a small tint of blue, but nothing distracting. While we’re on the topic of colours, let's talk about them.
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"Look Ma, I'm on TV!"
Filmed with a dull and fairly dark palette, each and every colour comes sharply to the screen, with none of that awful posterisation in sight. Interior scenes away from the city bring warm washes of colour, such as yellow or deep orange, which add warmth and vitality to the picture. City sequences and interiors hold a cold, restricting blue wash, but still capturing the harsh and nasty reality of these scenes.

Shadow detail is adequately solid, yet at times does appear a little murky. Apart from the occasionally murkiness with the shadows, the image is superbly detailed, with a rich clarity and superb definition. The interesting point with this transfer is the aliasing. Well honestly, the lack thereof. The transfer is nearly free from aliasing, and one or two minor cases are the full extent of this issue. Other compression-related artefacts are non-existent, and the lack of grain and film artefacts all amalgamate together to give you a supreme rendition of The Ring. The biggest hitch only lasts for a split second, and yes that would be the layer change. The gap in the audio gives this sucker away, as the change is smack bang on an angle change.


Now with a horror film, you need a good transfer, as well as a good film. Well this disc has it all – fantastic video, as you should know by now, and an awesome display of Dolby Digital 5.1-ness. Three language options are available, with alternates in German and French. This soundtrack simply rocks, and heightens the mood and tone of the film beyond belief. Turn the audio down and you get a basic thriller. Turn it up and prepare to scare yourself stupid.

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"What? Tank Girl is not on R4 DVD?!?"

Each channel runs discretely, offering an exciting array of effects, bangs, scares, jumps and ambient noises to keep you paranoid for the entire duration. The faint patter of rain is captured superbly with such a rich fidelity, and the dialogue comes crisply from the centre channel. The subwoofer simply drives underneath the soundtrack for this film, giving everything in your living room a slight dusting as the soundwaves penetrate for over an hour. The ambient music slowly creeps up, and the effects spin around you and then WOOF we go off with a bang. Hans Zimmer’s creepily ambient score subtlety, yet purposely, floats over the top of the film, aggressively attacking the soundstage with precision, direction and poise, once again illustrating that Zimmer is clearly one of the best composers working in Hollywood today.


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Exactly... Don't watch this alone
The 16:9 enhanced menus built up the tone of the film with an eerie effect, creating a heavy and dense layer of mystery. From the main menu, you have access to the film (duh), scene selections, setup, and two odd looking titles. The first, Look Here, takes you to a trailer for the Dreamworks film Catch Me if You Can. The Don’t Watch This title leads you to nearly 15 minutes of alternate/deleted/odd/extended/lost scenes which add something to the film, but have no introduction, labels, titling or anything describing what they actually are. A good addition, but a dummies guide may have been helpful. Finally (sadly, already) there is an Easter Egg, so check out our Easter Egg page to get that one...


The Ring hits home on DVD with a powerful video transfer, pounding soundtrack, a mysterious collection of extras and let’s not forget one hell of a terrifying film. This is definitely late-night material, so get a group together, get the DVD, turn down the lights, turn up the sound and then try to get some sleep... if you can.

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      And I quote...
    "Like an intricate and delicate jigsaw puzzle, The Ring slowly builds up piece by piece forming a complexly linked conundrum."
    - Martin Friedel
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Philips DVD 736K
    • TV:
          TEAC EU68-ST
    • Receiver:
          Sony HT-SL5
    • Speakers:
          Sony SS-MSP2
    • Centre Speaker:
          Sony SS-CNP2
    • Surrounds:
          Sony SS-MSP2
    • Subwoofer:
          Sony SA-WMSP3
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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