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For the sequel, Hollywood has drafted in the original's Japanese director Nakata after commercials director Noam Murro and Donnie Darko (2001)'s Richard Kelly declined. Given that 2004's remake of Japanese horror picture Ju-on: The Grudge took the original director on to call the shots, again to much financial success, it must have seemed logical to do the same with The Ring franchise.
A couple of years ago, Nakata directed a creepy little number called Dark Water (2002) which told of a single mum in a new home struggling to keep her child safe from the spookiness going on around them. There was also a lot of water; something that apparently freaks the Bejesus out of the Japanese, however it leaves domestic audiences a little bemused.
When Koji Suzuki wrote his book Ring back in the Nineties I doubt he could have envisaged the beast his story would unleash. In much the same way that the cursed videotape has to be copied for the curse to be transferred it appears also that the film has to be remade too. The original movie, directed by Hideo Nakata, became widely acclaimed as a classic and was recently voted as one of the top five scariest movies of all time. It was inevitable that Hollywood would come a calling and the resulting remake, 2002's The Ring was a worldwide smash and was passable, despite being scripted by Ehren Kruger and being tailored for the PG-13 crowd.
Having made a movie that many critics were citing as scary and disturbing, it must have come as a surprise of sorts to the original director, George Sluizer, when he came to remake it for an American market - the very thing that marked the original out as being so disturbing, the way it ended, had to be changed. In the press pack that accompanied this 1993 remake, Sluizer explained 'While the remake is essentially the same film, screenwriter Todd Graff has added new elements, deepened some aspects of the story and most importantly, altered the ending for American audiences'.
Basically, Sluizer was told that American audiences wouldn't approve of the original ending. Not that it mattered, as only $14million worth of tickets were bought, so it looked like the majority didn't really fancy seeing it regardless of the ending. Jeff Bridges hams it up big time as Barney Cousins, making him more laughable than real. With an accent he can't decide upon and a walk like he's pooed himself, Bridges' sociopath is more socio-pathetic, a bumbling moron that wouldn't hold a candle to Raymond Lemorne's more calculating and cold Donnadieu. Any pretence of bad vibes is washed over in this version. There is no big argument in the car between the couple, Jeff Harriman and Diane Shaver, it's more of a small spat; there is no reference to the golden eggs of the first film or the book which gave the film a more doom-laden and fate-driven feel, and the ending doesn't have anywhere near the same impact.
By opening up proceedings by dismissing the original's ending as a nightmare, Julie is still in the picture and getting edgy around the anniversary of the original's 4th July murder spree. She looks fantastic for a woman practically bordering on hysteria! She has a new guy looking to get into her panties, whilst fisherman and fellow survivor of first time round Ray Bronson is keen to marry her but has yet to pop the question.
Easily swayed bitch that Julie James is, she buggers off to the Bahamas after answering a radio quiz question wrong (all part of the bad guy's cunning plan), only to find that they are there during the rainy season and that oh yeah people are getting hacked up! Still, except for the lead cast players, there is some nice support playing from Re-animator's Jeffrey Combs as a snotty hotel manager, Jack Black un-credited role as a reefer addict and Jennifer Esposito as bar-lady Nancy.
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