Thursday, November 08, 2007

Thursday's Ways Not To Die


I've been meaning to do this one for some time. I've railed hinder and yonder about Ringu versus the American remake, The Ring, and why this sequence - where the leading lady's boyfriend meets Evil TV Lady - works so much better in the original than the remake. So let's look at the scenes and compare to see what I been getting at, mmmkay? First up is Hideo Nakata's 1998 film.

Why hello there, leading lady. This is all we're going to see of you for this sequence. Imagine that! Cut to the boyfriend hard at work when he hears the unfortunate sound of static behind him...

Could it be any more straightforward? "Relentless" really is the right word - he hears her, he sees her, she comes out of the TV and keeps coming closer and closer and closer and we keep backing up and away and she gets him, the end. Simple, efficient, and terrifying, not to mention really beautifully shot, which I noticed watching it through this time. Look at those shots of Sadako (that's TV Lady's name in this film) - the shadows, the coloring. That's the stuff of nightmares.

And then we have Gore Verbinski's 2002 remake, which starts us off by letting us know bad things are a'comin' with the ring from a coffee mug (dun dun!):

I will give the remake this: Martin Henderson (whom I gave the Gratuitous Treatment right here) sure looks pretty while being terrorized.

We get the addition of an "I'm a big man, I'll just turn the TV off... oh shucks" moment:

But then we're in for the good stuff! The unrelenting, "this TV Lady is gonna come right for us without stopping" moment...

Wait. Wait just a second. Is that really a cut-away to leading-lady Naomi Watts wiping her son's bloody nose while calling her boyfriend on the telephone right in the middle of our build-up? Like, right there? Really? Okay, okay, back to Mr. Henderson and the oncoming TV Lady already!

Here she comes! Unrelenting momentum! Scary! She'll pop outta the TV any sec...


Okay, after that needless cut to Naomi Watts hurtling through traffic that murdered all of the tension in the scene that was being built up, we cut back to the boyfriend, and I do really love that the TV set is seen sweating in the above shot. Nice touch, that. And the rest of the scene plays out nicely:

I'm not even bothered by the CG; I think it's well-used. And once the movie gets to where it's going, with Samara (TV Lady's name in the remake) finally coming out of the television and at the boyfriend, I think it's well done. I like Verbinski's color-scheme, for the entire film really - the sickly greens and blues. I do think Sadako's upside-down eye in the original is scarier than Samara's milky-white ones, but the zooming camera-work is nice.

It's just those damned edits to Naomi Watts that piss me off to no end.

Now you know how I feel, Naomi!

Previous Ways Not To Die: Bitten By A Zombie -- Eaten By Your Mattress -- Stuffed To Splitting -- Face Stuck In Liquid Nitrogen -- Crushed By Crumbling Church Debris -- Bitten By The Jaws Of Life -- A Machete To The Crotch -- Showering With A Chain-Saw -- In A Room Filled With Razor Wire -- Pod People'd With Your Dog -- Force-Fed Art -- Skinned By A Witch -- Beaten With An Oar -- Curbed -- Cape Malfunction -- In The Corner -- Cooked In A Tanning Bed -- Diced -- Punched Through The Head -- Bugs Sucking On Your Head


Stacie Ponder said...

That scene absolutely completely totally fucking blew me away when I saw it the first time (I saw the remake first). Unbelievable!

Jason Adams said...

Yeah, my boyfriend doesn't get my griping about it really either - he too saw the remake first. It's weird how divided people seem to be with these two - depending on which one they saw first that's the one they love. I had more issues with the remake then I got into here, but I do think it's a good remake as far as remakes go, one of the better ones. I just HATEHATEHATEHATEHATE that cut to Naomi Watts driving in the middle of this scene so very very much. I almost left the theater when it happened.

J.D. said...

God, I love the spoof version in Scary Movie 3.

God, I love Scary Movie 3.


RJ said...

The only problem I had with it in the remake was when they had her find the body, they showed the face, the music stopped (thus, the tension has ended), and then she screamed. But her scream was when that scene had already kind of ended. It didn't work for me

M said...

I only saw the remake, and loved it. What bugged me about this scene, or its immediate aftermath, is when Naomi finds the body of her boyfriend.

As she screams she actually comes closer to her boyfriend's body with her face, screaming at it. Is that how people react in real life to something that horrifies them? They get as close to it without touching it as they possibly can?

Glenn Dunks said...

I saw Ringu second and still prefer it. The first just didn't scare me, but the original did.