note: i am a weenie. i saw maybe fifteen minutes of one of the alien movies when i was eight, and i'm still unable to think about sigourney weaver without getting upset. a camp counselor read me stephen king stories at some point in junior high; i continue to close all closet doors before going to sleep. i refuse to speak about jim henson's dark crystal, period.
that said, no one with the slightest tendency to clench at spooky things should see the ring - it's the scariest movie of all time. the premise is cheesy - watch an evil video and die in seven days - but that's just it: the first death is cliched and not at all disturbing, and i settled into my sticky theater seat thinking that the whole show would be silly. no, no. it's cruel and surreal and ultimately utterly unresolved. as we left, dozens of couples around us were fighting about coming to the movies: "let's go see "the ring", you said. jackass, jackass!"; "damn, i'm never watching television again. why'd you do this to me?". we had no reason at all - joe thought i wanted to go, and i thought he kept mentioning it because he was interested. that in itself is scary, as the film-in-the-film essentially lures random people to the VCR. so i had horrible nightmares, and when i jolted awake i had to convince joe to go to the bathroom and find me a sleeping pill; i was afraid to leave the bed.
why? because the director manages to scratch the surface of dozens of sinister archetypes, and the references are casual enough that if, say, you were a slightly paranoid viewer with a hyperactive subconscious, you'd be forced to fill the narrative gaps with personal fears. because i've seen maya deren and luis bunuel films, and the ring implies that their arty cacophony is evil, evil, evil. because i got used to hitchcocky, lovecraft-style felt-not-seen horror after an hour and forty-five minutes and was wholly unprepared for an explicit climax.
don't see the ring. if you have seen it, please tell me that it's amateurish and obvious and that i'm silly to fear my television. honestly - i need it.