Back in my day, we didn’t have high-speed connection horror at our fingertips. There was no creepypasta, no original urban legend-style inspired scares that we could savor at the click of a mouse. No, we had to get our frightful folklore fix the old fashioned way: word of mouth. For years, we had to settle for rehashes of the classics: Bloody Mary, the Hook Hand left dangling on the car door handle, the ominous call coming from inside the house. And fun as they were, we longed for more, something new and fresh and different to scare our pants off. In lieu of the horror-shaped hole in our hearts that would soon be filled by cyberspace, Hollywood intervened by doing what else? Stealing an idea. Lucky for us they lifted Hideo Nakata and Hiroshi Takahashi’s Japanese cult classic Ringu. And after Gore Verbinski adapted it stateside as The Ring, folks were glad that like the internet, video technology was evolving…because suddenly, no one wanted to watch a VHS tape again.
Well, well, well.
Not only are they deep. They can be quite scary too.
Don’t just take Lassie and Timmy’s word for it (what; too soon?). Ask anyone who’s ever seen The Ring and they’ll tell you: wells are nothing to play around with.
Released in 2002, The Ring (based upon the Japanese original, Ringu) shattered box office records on its way to becoming one of the highest grossing horror films ever. And it earned its money the old- fashioned way: by delivering legitimate scares that still hold up almost 15 years later. It spurred a rash of Americanized revisions of Japanese fright flicks (J-Horror, as the cool kids call it), several that likewise riffed on the teen-girl-turned-demon formula. Still, The Ring eclipsed its contemporaries through strong performances, a solid script and some genuinely creepy visuals.
It’s a simple, urban legend premise: a video-tape—chock full of disturbing, disjointed images—is being passed around by local high schoolers. After the viewer watches the tape, his/her phone will ring. When answered, a voice on the other end of the line whispers, “seven days.” Unfortunately, the caller is not referring to God’s 144-hour Genesis Creation story, but informing the viewer that their days are, in fact, numbered. In a week, they will die.
Award-winning journalist Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) gets sucked into the fray when her teenage niece becomes the tape’s latest victim.
Rachel turns to her film tech ex-husband, Noah (Martin Henderson), for help with her analysis of the recording. Unfortunately, the only way to unravel the tape’s mysteries is to watch it. And we all know what that means…
The more they dig, the further down the rabbit hole (or, more appropriately, the well) they go, as each clue points to a twisted plot involving a broken family, paranormal activity and the most horrific type of murder imaginable.
As her seven days begin to wind down, Rachel barely survives a handful of brushes with death only to learn the most frightening secret of all…her son, Aidan (David Dorfman), has also seen the tape.
The Ring serves as a dark commentary on the perils of parenting. Aidan—who refers to his mom by her first name only—has already distanced himself long before things get dangerous. Rachel’s devotion to her job is juxtaposed with Aidan’s lack of a paternal influence; together they’ve carved out a rift that seems impassable. Likewise, the videotape (without giving away its entire plot) chronicles the story of a broken family relationship that begins with the parents and trickles down to the child. Even the teens who view the tape seem far removed from the protective eye of their parents, as their screeners usually involve alcohol and sex.
Raising kids isn’t easy, but thank God that He left us the closest thing we have to an instruction book—His word.
Dozens of scriptures from the Bible provide guidance on how to raise a child. In fact, some stories that don’t directly give instruction on child-rearing (Samson’s history, Joseph and Mary’s search for Jesus in the Temple, the parable of the Prodigal Son, etc.) still hold deep-seeded commentary and priceless wisdom on the subject.
The Ring reminds us that the most beneficial thing we can do with our children is to give of ourselves to them and the only way to do that is to spend time with them—even when it may not be convenient, easy or—gulp—fun. Love them when they seem unlovable and keep trying to bridge the gaps and never go it alone—because you simply can’t. Seek God’s wisdom before you dig yourself any deeper. Open His word; read it, digest it and put it into action, for your kids’ sake.
And at all costs, try to avoid hitting rock bottom.
There’s some scary stuff down there.