You Will Die in Seven Days: The Ring (2002)

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“You will die in seven days…”

So many of you might remember the post I did a year ago on Ringu, the original Japanese film. I had watched Ringu because I had heard that it was far creepier and better version that the American one. However, I found that to be false, with The Ring being the creepier one of the two. This was mostly due to the actors, some story changes, and a better explanation of Samarra. But more than anything else, my own personal connection to the film (I’ll mention that at the end).

So I was home alone one night (my roommates were all out of town for the weekend) and decided that I would spend the night in watching films. I had spotted this at the library and decided that it was perfect film for the occasion. I decided that instead of watching it alone in the living room, I would watch it in my room with the lights off. You know, set the “creepy mood”.

Ren Stevens: What? Honey, you're chased by six mutants, and you just decided to take a shower?

So the story is pretty similar to the Japanese film. You have two girls who are talking about a cabin weekend that one of the girls, Katie, had gone to. Suddenly the topic of a cursed videotape comes up. If you watch this tape you will die in seven days. After her niece dies, the main character, Rachel (Naomi Watts) starts tracking down what caused her death and gets caught up in a supernatural mystery. (For more info check out Ringu or watch the film).

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So what made this film much creepier than the original? Let’s get started.

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1. Lighting/Set Design

I’m not sure where the story takes place but it is always raining and gloomy. Plus the camera crew gave the whole movie this blue tint when filming which also adds to the creepiness/horror film feel to it.

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2. The Kid

In the first film Yoshi wasn’t really in the film that much. He had the nightmares and could hear his cousin “calling” to him, but that was mostly it. He watches the video, which leads his mother to try even harder to discover how to stop it. He then gets dropped off at his grandfather’s house for a bit and we don’t see him until the end of the film.

In the remake this kid is SUPER CREEPY

Gilmore girls creep

He’s kinda like Cole from The Sixth Sense, that is if Cole wasn’t a cutie. I mean this kid is an uber creep as he only talks in monotone, and doesn’t act like a kid at all-more like a 30 year old man. To top it off he even draws strange murderous pictures. Horrifying.

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AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Certified Creepo Ribbon

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3) The Video

So The Ring came out four years after Ringu and had much better special effects, not gonna lie about that. And the video was much more creepy in this film. Freaky, emphasis on the FREAK.

ring-2002 TV

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4. Samara/Background Explanation

So in the original film we don’t get a full background on her. We find out that a professor was looking into studies of mental telepathy and other things like that. He found a woman that has this ability and the two end up having a child that for some reason is more powerful, and CRAZY! The main character’s ex-husband also just happens to have this ability. That’s it. That’s all we get.

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How does it pass down? Why does the husband have it? Is that why they got a divorce? Why was the girl so much stronger? Why did she kill all the horses?

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In the remake they give her a weirder background that explains her murderous tendencies. She was almost drowned as a baby, taken away from her family, and then put into social services. She has a history of trying to get attention/be the center of attention. She was adopted by a couple that really wanted kids but she was unlike anything they had ever seen. She started to develop these powers that freaked out her parents as she was getting into their minds.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She goes to a psychiatric hospital and is questioned and treated, causing her to react as a kid would with anger. She kills her doctor and gets sent back home to the horse ranch.

To prevent her from harming anyone, they put her up in the barn away from everyone else with only a TV set. This makes her very angry.

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She gets very jealous and kills all the horses by making them go insane. To her adoptive mother, Anna, those were her children. She loved them and cared for them. She has a complete mental breakdown and gets sent to a sanatarium. After she is released the family goes to the mountains and she kills Samarra by throwing her down a well, and them committing suicide herself.

It may be strange, but explains things a whole lot more than the original. Plus it is very creepy.

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So personal connection.

As I mentioned earlier, I was home alone. I had 5 housemates; 3 were staying the night at their boyfriends house and 2 had gone home to see her parents. My actual roommate had gone home to see her parents and wasn’t coming back until the next day. Instead of chilling in the living room, I took my food into my bedroom, along with the film.

Ren Stevens: What? Honey, you're chased by six mutants, and you just decided to take a shower?

So I was watching the film and had just gotten to the part when Rachel has watched the tape and received the call that in seven days she will die. Just as she has hung up her phone, my phone rings!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I pause the film and reach for the phone, shakily saying hello as its ringing scared the bejeezus out of me.

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It was just my sister. She had an idea for something and wanted to bounce it off me.

Phew!

Phew!

So I go back to watching the film. As I reach the part when Samarra comes out of the TV

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My door starts to open.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So let me explain campus security. The dorms I was living in were like townhouses. They had 4 bedrooms-2 singles & 2 doubles. Every student was given an ID card that held campus money, allowed us to check out books, go into the rec center & dining hall, and most importantly our rooms. We had two doors to the dorms that were set to only accept the cards of the people of the house. Besides running your card through the slot (like a debit card) each member of the house had a unique four-digit number to gain access. A card wasn’t enough, you had to use your code as well. Plus the code had to match the card or else you were out of luck.

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To make that even more impressive, every room was encoded to only accept the occupant’s card. My roommate and I were the only ones who could into my room, unless someone had one of our cards. (The codes were only for the front & back doors.)

So you can see why I was freaked out. Everyone had made plans to be gone, defintely be gone. But yet here was my door opening and someone or something entering.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It being really dark and the fact that the rooms were L-shaped (therefore making it hard to see “who” was exactly coming in through the door) didn’t help that much.

Of course, as I’m sure you all have figured out by now it was just my roommate. It turns out she had changed her mind and decided to come home early.

This experience made the film much more exciting, although anything that happened in the film afterward that last scare was pretty anti-climatic.

So It was a pretty great film and I suggest you check it out.

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And I’m not just trying to pass it off to save myself from being killed. LOL

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To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

To go to the previous post, go to You Think You Know Something, Do You?

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For more on Ringu, go to That Video…Is Not of This World

For more on real life mimicking horror films, go to Krueger Town 

For more evil children, go to He Who Walks Behind the Rows

For more on remakes, go to Let Them Fight

For more films that spanned sequels, go to It’s Happening Again, Isn’t It?

For more on Supernatural, go to I’m Batman!

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You Think You Know Something, Don’t You?: Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

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“You think you know something, don’t you? You think you’re the clever little girl who knows something. There’s so much you don’t know, so much. What do you know, really? You’re just an ordinary little girl, living in an ordinary little town. You wake up every morning of your life and you know perfectly well that there’s nothing in the world to trouble you. You go through your ordinary little day, and at night you sleep your untroubled ordinary little sleep, filled with peaceful stupid dreams. And I brought you nightmares.”

So for my first Alfred Hitchcock film, I am going to review Shadow of a Doubt. This really surprised me as I never thought this would have been the first, (I was sure it would be Psycho). But I had such an urge to talk about it, that I had to follow it. Now this has never been considered one of Hitchcock’s greats, in fact it bombed at the office, but it was both Alfred Hitchcock’s and Teresa Wright’s favorite film.

I actually have a personal connection to this film myself. I used to go to college near Santa Rosa and one day for film class we were going to watch a psychological film. The one we chose wouldn’t work and I suggested that we had to watch an Alfred Hitchcock film, specifically Shadow of a Doubt. I had this urge and was pushing the film so hard, even though it is not one of my favorite Hitchcock films. It was only when we watched it, that I remembered that it was set and filmed in Santa Rosa. In fact, I have been to all the areas the film was set in.

So the film is supposed to be about a happy town, full of normal American people, but underneath this lies something horrible. This kind of thing was what David Lynch ended up doing and becoming famous for in his film Blue Velvet and TV series Twin Peaks.

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So the film starts off with the extremely handsome Joseph Cotten, lying on a bed. His name is Charlie Oakley.

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His landlady knocks on the door and tells him that there are two men looking for him. Charlie quickly packs some things up, gathers his money, and takes off. He makes plans to get out of the East coast, going heading to California to visit his sister Emma in Santa Rosa.

In Santa Rosa, we meet Charlie 2 (Teresa Wright), named after her Uncle Charlie. (From now on I’m going to say Charlie for Teresa Wright and Uncle Charlie for Joseph Cotten as otherwise it will be too confusing.) Anyways, Charlie has been complaining that life is boring. Nothing interesting ever happens in life.

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She finds out that her Uncle Charlie is coming and is ecstatic. The two of them have always shared a special bond. Out of everyone in their family, she feels that Charlie is the only one who really gets her.

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Uncle Charlie greets the family and not only bring life into the house but gifts. Charlie gets the most special gift of all, an emerald ring. Charlie notices an engraving of initials on the inside and asks Uncle Charlie what they stand for. He doesn’t know and blames the jeweler for selling him an old ring instead of a new one.

Sound suspicious

Sound suspicious

He keeps trying to push Charlie to let him get it re-engraved, but she refuses. At dinner, Emma is humming this song. It has been stuck in her head all day and she can’t remember what it is called. She asks around to everyone else, and her husband Joseph says that it is The Merry Widow Waltz. When Uncle Charlie hears this, he is startled and spills his wine.

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After dinner, Joseph’s friend comes over. Now this is an interesting subplot. The two of them are huge mystery fans and are constantly trying to create the perfect murder. This subplot always makes me laugh and it reminds me of a friend and I. We are always talking about the best way to kill someone and get away with it. I always go with the Secret Window way.

“Joseph Newton: We’re not talking about killing people. Herb’s talking about killing me and I’m talking about killing him.”

In fact, they remind me of Randy from Scream except with actual murders, than horror films.

Randy

They determine one of the best ways to kill someone is to disguise the murder as a suicide.

The next day, Uncle Charlie is reading the paper, when he sees a story that upsets him. He rips the page with the story on it, and turns it into a house for the kids, hiding the ripped story in his pocket. Ann and Roger think it’s are cool, but they have to dismantle it as their father hasn’t had a chance to look at the paper.

Charlie saw him hiding the torn pages and starts teasing her Uncle. She grabs them out of his pocket and tries to put them together. But before she can, Uncle Charlie gets angry and pushes her away. She becomes frightened, but Uncle Charlie consoles her,  telling her that it was a bad story about a friend.

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Soon after, two men approach the family and let them know they have been chosen to be the feature family for a census agency on “typical American family-ness”. They will be coming to interview them and photograph their average lives.

BMW Average

Emma is really excited as Uncle Charlie will now be a part of the featured story. She tells Charlie about how she only has one photo of him. It was when he was a little boy, before he got in a horrible accident. After he recovered from the accident he never was the same again. Often getting into trouble.

Uncle Charlie says he will be staying in town for a while, and then begins acting strangely. At the bank he deposits forty thousand dollars in cash and makes all these jokes about the bank and Joseph (Charlie’s dad) embezzling funds. He also extremely avoids the census takers. He thinks they are up to something. Whenever they come to the house, he always leaves and won’t answer any questions.

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When his picture gets taken, he becomes extremely angry and demands for the negative roll.

The younger of the two census workers, (Macdonald Carey), asks Charlie to be his guide of the town, and she agrees only to please her mother. When he gets her alone he tells her that he isn’t a census taker, but that instead he is Detective Jack Graham and that he is with the FBI. They are investigating “The Merry Widow Murderer”, a man who romances widows and murders them taking their money. He tells her that that they have two suspects. One of which is her Uncle Charlie.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

The next day Charlie is still reeling from the news and sleeps all day. She doesn’t want to believe her Uncle Charlie is capable of murder. However, she can’t help thinking about his suspicious behavior.

Sound suspicious

Sound suspicious

Charlie gets even more freaked out when Uncle Charlie gives a rant on widows.

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“Uncle Charlie: The cities are full of women, middle-aged widows, husbands, dead, husbands who’ve spent their lives making fortunes, working and working. And then they die and leave their money to their wives, their silly wives. And what do the wives do, these useless women? You see them in the hotels, the best hotels, every day by the thousands, drinking the money, eating the money, losing the money at bridge, playing all day and all night, smelling of money, proud of their jewelry but of nothing else, horrible, faded, fat, greedy women… Are they human or are they fat, wheezing animals, hmm? And what happens to animals when they get too fat and too old?”

Charlie suffers a breakdown as she can’t handle the thought that her Uncle is a murderer. That coupled with her father and Herb’s constant murder talk, ugh she just needs to get away. Uncle Charlie follows her and takes her to a bar to talk.

At the bar, he confronts her suspicions and tells her that he is considered for The Merry Widow Murderer”, but it isn’t him. It is just a coincidence.

Yes I am

Yes I am

Charlie listens, but something doesn’t sit right with her. She still feels suspicious. She sneaks into Uncle Charlie’s room to try and figure out what article he had ripped up.

shadow-of-a-doubt-room door break into

She can’t put the pieces back together, and instead heads to the library. She convinces the librarian to let her search the papers and discovers that “The Merry Widow Murderer” killed a famous entertainer. She notices that the initials of the woman match the ring Uncle Charlie gave her.

OMG

She goes to her uncle to confront him, and he asks her not to say anything. She agrees to wait as she knows it will hurt her mother.

Meanwhile, Jack is pushing Charlie to give him info on her Uncle, but she won’t say a thing. They sent the photo of Uncle Charlie back East but haven’t heard whether or not he is the guy the are actually after. The other suspect they were considering was killed fleeing from the police and many believe he is the murderer.

After this news, Jack goes to Charlie and tells her that he likes her. And that he would like to date her, maybe even marry her one day.

Say What

I know. He has been nice, but he never even seemed to show that he was that interested in her. He totally pulls a Mr. Darcy, completely dropping that bomb out of the blue.

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Uncle Charlie is all smiles and it seems like everything is fine, but Charlie can’t shake an uneasy feeling.

This doesn't feel right.

This doesn’t feel right.

Soon Charlie suffers from an accident. As she is coming down the stairs one of the steps falls through causing her to fall. She checks later but can’t tell of any tampering.

Oh what a horrible accident.

Oh what a horrible accident.

Now these are some of the best scenes in the film. In the beginning you aren’t sure if Uncle Charlie is doing anything, whether they are accidents or not. I mean could he really be so cold-blooded as to kill his own niece?

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Uncle Charlie is asked to give a public lecture and the whole family is going to go hear him speak. There isn’t enough room for them to go in one car, so they decide to send most in a taxi, with the Charlies going in the car. Charlie gets trapped in her garage with the car going. She calls for help, but the music Uncle Charlie is playing overpowers her screams.

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Luckily, Herb is coming by as he does everyday and hears her, freeing her.

The next day, Uncle Charlie decides that he is leaving. Everyone but Charlie is sad to see him go. As he gets on the train we see that he won’t be traveling alone, but a rich widow from the town. Every one comes on board to check out the train, with Uncle Charlie gets Charlie to stay longer to talk. The train starts going while she is on it. She tries to run off, but Uncle Charlie tries to push her off the train onto the track of an oncoming one.

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The two struggle and Charlie manages to overpower him, knocking him off the train.

There is a funeral for Uncle Charlie and Jack comes back. Charlie tells him the truth and why she kept it hidden from him. Together they resolve to keep Uncle Charlie’s crimes a secret.

You have to see this film. The story is great, the acting amazing, and the cinematography is just beautiful.

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To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

For the previous post, go to It’s Happening Again, Isn’t It?

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For more on Alfred Hitchcock, go to Horrorfest III: The Revenge

For more classic cinema, go to Feast Your Eyes On My Accursed Ugliness

For more serial killers, go to What’s Your Favorite Scary Movie?

For more psychological thrillers, go to A Deliciously Creepy Tale

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Happily Ever Aftermath

For more on Twin Peaks, go to Food, Food, Food!