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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 22.22%
Average: 13.8%
Pretty Bad: 7.74%
Total Crap: 9.76%

12 reviews, 225 user ratings

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Ring, The (2002)
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Brian McKay

"Horror Comes Full-Circle"
4 stars

With the exception of a few startling visual effects, THE RING almost feels like a very well-made independent horror film. That a mainstream studio flick with a PG-13 rating could be so chillingly effective is as surprising as it is gratifying. Although THE RING uses several recycled elements of the genre, it puts enough of a spin on them to create something that feels new.

The Ring begins like your standard teen horror movie, as two high-school girls try to freak each other out by discussing a new urban legend about a mysterious video tape full of seemingly random, disconcerting imagery. Rumor has it that once you've watched the tape, you have seven days to live. One of the girls, however, has actually seen the tape. Guess who's going to die first?

From this opening segment, you know you're in for one long, creepy ride. The first ten minutes layer on the tension and dread in a painstaking way that is anathema to most teen/gore/slasher flicks. This pervasive feeling of dread, rather than cheap scares, is what carries the film when it occasionally slips into familiar contrivances.

When the first victim of the mysterious tape is found dead under bizarre circumstances (an understatement if there ever was one), the girl's aunt, Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) decides to investigate. Rachel is a Seattle Post reporter and single mother of Aidan (David Dorfman), an eight-year old boy who has begun to express strange visions through a series of eerie drawings.

Following the trail of clues like a good investigative reporter should, Rachel finds the tape in question. As she views it, the audience is treated to a bizarre string of seemingly random, disconcerting images. However, as she unearths more clues that lead her closer to the origins of the tape, the meaning of each image becomes a clearly defined piece in a jumbled puzzle.

While The Ring does lapse into some blandly familiar territory (the children always "know" first, animals go berserk when the evil is near, and a little girl talking slowly with a hollow stare is, once again, supposed to be the personification of all things scary), it always comes at the audience with something new to thrust the viewer back into unfamiliar and unsettling ground. And while the revelation of clues is at times a bit too expository (like Rachel mumbling the vital facts to herself as she reviews old newspaper clippings, just in case we're too slow to grasp the meaning from the clippings themselves), the realization of what the clues mean is profoundly eerie.

While not heavy on special effects, The Ring does contain some wonderfully disturbing imagery - beginning with a photograph that Rachel finds, showing the doomed niece and her three friends who have been "marked" after watching the videotape.

Director Gore Verbinski makes mostly smart choices here, building the tension for maximum payoff during the horror "money shots", and using the rainy Seattle weather and subdued, gloomy lighting to get the most out of that tense atmosphere. The performances are solid all around, including Brian Cox as a widower whose tragic past ties into the meaning of the tape, and Martin Henderson as "Noah", Rachel's friend, investigative partner, and potential love-interest. Even the kids give admirable portrayals, despite acting too mature and insightful for their age to be fully credible. Naomi Watts is definitely the star of the film, and while she doesn't quite display the range or intensity here that she did in Mulholland Drive, she once again proves herself as a very talented actress who we will (and should) be seeing a lot more of.

At its heart, The Ring is a campfire tale for the digital age. The telling of scary stories has mutated into grainy Xth-generation VHS copies which are passed from one victim to the next. Video killed the Radio Star, and now it's coming for You. I wonder what Marshall McLuhan would have thought about that.

Drive-In Triple-Feature Don't Look at the Screen Picks for The Ring:

Poltergeist: Okay, it's mostly silly and dated by today's standards, but when I saw it in the theaters at the tender age of 15, it scared the shit out of me. Even now, this is the only other film I can think of where the sight of a static-filled T.V. fills me with dread. Plus that clown-doll thing was just fuckin' creepy.

The Blair Witch Project: Ah yes, the good ol' standby which I find myself judging most horror films by these days. Takes what The Ring does so well and magnifies that intensity a notch by making the viewer feel more like a participant than an observer. As Josh comments while watching Heather through a camera's eyepiece. "It's not quite reality. It's like a totally filtered reality. It's like you can pretend everything's not quite the way it is."

Acceptable Substitution: The Changeling - This 1970's classic haunted house story, starring George C. Scott, is noteworthy for some plot similarities (including one segment that is practically stolen in The Ring). A great supernatural thriller in its own right.

Like the best horror movies, THE RING asks more questions than it answers, and is the kind of film that has you standing outside the theater with your friends for an hour afterward debating what it all means (as we did last night, and will probably continue to do for days to come). And, as one patron said while exiting the theater, "There's the best reason for switching to DVD that I've ever seen".

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originally posted: 10/21/02 08:45:43
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Horror Remakes: For more in the Horror Remakes series, click here.

User Comments

4/12/20 dupadoit they're here 4 stars
3/13/17 morris campbell the best asian horror remake 4 stars
7/27/13 dr.lao In ths age of gore and cheap shocks I had forgotten how compelling a horoor movie could be 5 stars
3/24/11 kagomefan4lyfe Luv it!!!! 5 stars
11/12/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess Read the novels, they make alot more sense. 2 stars
10/03/09 art SORRY FOLK"S!,IT"S A HALF-ASSED "PG-13 THRILLER" YAWN!_ 1 stars
9/14/09 art IT"LL GIVE YOU NIGHTMARE'S! 4 stars
8/13/09 Jeff Wilder Overcomes the ridiculousness of the premise and offers some good suspense. 4 stars
1/13/09 Anonymous. one of the better pg-13 horror films. :] 4 stars
10/01/08 Shaun Wallner Scary Story!! 5 stars
9/01/08 kyle remians the scariest flick i've ever scene (as an adult , as child try "creepshow") 5 stars
3/27/08 SamanthaPayntr never gonna let my tv go fuzzy again! creepy! 4 stars
12/05/07 Quigley One of the creepiest, most unsettling and best horror films of the new milennium. 5 stars
11/02/07 Total Crap No other movie has more creepy visuals than the Ring. 5 stars
9/02/07 Double M Scary if it's the ONLY horror movie you've seen!.. its 'scary' reputation = mystery for me. 3 stars
6/23/07 Phiuk Yiu Fuck this movie. This bullshit ain't scary. I heard the original was better. 1 stars
2/19/07 Scully How'd she get the powers? And why didn't she send the video by email? And... aah, this sux! 1 stars
2/16/07 Axel Leos The Grudge is better, but the Ring is a great horror movie 5 stars
11/25/06 David Pollastrini Ringu was better 4 stars
8/23/06 sunhgfsdfh excellent 5 stars
8/16/06 anthonyuk a decent remake but not a patch on the original 4 stars
3/11/06 Dillon Overrated. The ending drags 2 stars
2/02/06 chris. aaaaaah!!! not static!!! 3 stars
12/31/05 Ronin Had a few good moments, but FOR ME it was a disappointment after all that hype. 3 stars
12/01/05 jessy baker this movie sucks 1 stars
11/10/05 doreb it was really scary and meaningless 5 stars
10/29/05 cowboyhunter I fell asleep on the movie. It wasn't that scary. 2 stars
10/04/05 Rachel this movie is the boom! 5 stars
8/25/05 Eden Very good remake. Scarier than original but more convulted 4 stars
8/18/05 ES Ah the movie that started the fear of dripping water and kids that draw ominous pictures 2 stars
6/08/05 R.W. Welch Doesn't make much sense, but WAL if you just like to be spooked. 3 stars
4/22/05 Pippin007 It scary! 4 stars
4/10/05 Kristan anderson Scary! scary! Scary! And, well written. 5 stars
4/09/05 B Kniprath Slow at times, but ok movie overall, confused at end. 4 stars
3/18/05 indrid cold This and Blair Witch are the only horror movies ever that have actually disturbed me. 5 stars
3/14/05 J. Warner One of the overall best horror films in recent years. 5 stars
2/05/05 Jeff Anderson THIS FILM BORED ME TO ENDLESS TEARS! See THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES instead, a much BETTER film 1 stars
2/01/05 Mary Anne Best horror flick since "The Haunting" (the OLD version, not the new!) 5 stars
1/31/05 Darryl "Horror movie?" 1st 15 mins seem promising, but downhill after that. I fell asleep. 2 stars
1/20/05 Dr. Lecter Pure rip-off of STIR OF ECHOES 2 stars
12/21/04 Countryside Jim SOOOOOOO Fucking crazy man! I Shitted my pants! 5 stars
12/03/04 Nari S. Ramzan One of the most surreal films ever that's not for the stupid... 5 stars
11/19/04 critic GoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooD ShiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiT 5 stars
10/29/04 heather it was awesome 5 stars
10/24/04 Ebert Rogers One of the Worst horror flicks ever. A tape that kills you? Sounds dumb, really IS dumb 1 stars
10/23/04 ODH One of the best horror flicks ever. A tape that kills you? Sounds dumb, but it works here!! 5 stars
10/22/04 Natasha Scared the sh*t out of me a awesome movie 5 stars
10/18/04 Naka Absolutely fantastic. A quintessential addition to modern American horror. 5 stars
10/16/04 FamousMortimor Contrived, poorly written, unoriginal,a lame premise. seen scarier shampoo comercials 1 stars
10/13/04 Jason It might be scary if you forget the laws of nature! 1 stars
10/12/04 Jeff effective commentary on the substitution of television for parenting in the US 5 stars
10/11/04 Jon Holdsworth A completely embarassing waste of time and an insult to original. Execute all responsible. 1 stars
9/12/04 jeff exorcist 1 rules 3 stars
9/11/04 Anonymous The scariest movie ever! The atmosphere is great and the movie scared the shit out of me!!! 5 stars
7/12/04 emma I really enjoyed it!! Very GRIPPING!!! 5 stars
6/05/04 jamal the people are stupid. this movie is so dumb and bad that its sad 1 stars
6/01/04 orochimaru compared tot he jap version this cudnt fight its way out of a wet paper bag 1 stars
5/08/04 Stefan Halka Scary? WTF? This film was as scary as an old animated" Scooby Doo" episode. 3 stars
5/06/04 Daveman and to think people complain about the remake of the Birdcage (which is actually superior) 2 stars
4/24/04 Brip Japanese version much better...not this doo doo. 5 stars
4/17/04 Michael Greenwaldt Beautiful, creepy, hypnotic! One of the best of 2002! MUCH better than the awful original! 5 stars
4/07/04 Sig Very original how the Japenese come up with better Horror than, the Yanks? 5 stars
3/24/04 Lord Haw Haw One horrifying image after another. This one stays with you. 5 stars
3/06/04 Jaco Visser The best "spookstorie" I have ever seen! 5 stars
2/23/04 Naturezrevenge Actually and surpisingly scary. Just go see it. 5 stars
2/22/04 Phyllis Joy An modern movie that actual manages to be scary and creepy. 5 stars
2/21/04 Denise Duspiva Creepy 4 stars
2/17/04 Stefan Halka The scare scene with the horse and Rachel was so lame it made me laugh. 3 stars
2/11/04 mans0n cool 5 stars
1/30/04 Andra This is my favourite horror movie!Many don't understand it's psichology,but it's great!!! 5 stars
1/28/04 Jingo P. By no means groundbreaking, but a clever, truly scary movie. It stays with you. 4 stars
1/19/04 I Would Stupid, pretentious remake. Uninspired, hurriedly cobbled together and definitly not scary. 2 stars
1/10/04 Jin What a waste of time. Slow and ridiculous. 1 stars
1/05/04 delie The circle of life forces procreation - we must make a copy or we will die. 5 stars
1/04/04 Littlepurch Not scary but really creepy and chilling throughout. Very enjoyable. 4 stars
1/01/04 Roxy SCARY!! 4 stars
12/26/03 Nikolai Scatterbrains will enjoy this entourage of cutting room droppings 2 stars
12/23/03 Demelsa Perfect Movie 5 stars
12/23/03 Alyssa I didn't see it HAHA, I am going to though, I hope it's not to scary. (I know i'm retarded) 5 stars
12/22/03 Ravenheart Good movie but the original is better!! 5 stars
12/19/03 Ryan Moore Very nice job. Again, stuff the critics. 4 stars
11/30/03 Aerin The original version is really scary, but this remake ...!!! 2 stars
11/30/03 jmsynth If u found this movie scary or entertaining u r easily amused or scared. It was just silly 2 stars
11/23/03 smartmusician grest/intriguing horror 5 stars
11/09/03 Samuel i would have never imagined a pg-13 flick being so terrifying... 5 stars
11/01/03 Skilly Skally Not bad at all, not great at all, just a fairly proficient flick, better than most horrors 3 stars
11/01/03 I Would Disappointing remake of a truely mesmerising piece of horror cinema. 2 stars
10/30/03 Becky Really scary! 5 stars
10/18/03 Will I just watched this and I'm home alone. Hold me. 4 stars
10/18/03 We are Rock & Roll ppls!!!!!!!!!!!!! ITS CREEPY I HATED IT IT GAVE ME NIGHTMARES AND IT SUCKED! :( 1 stars
10/16/03 Taylor Fladgate Creepy!!! Yikes, with a good story & acting 5 stars
10/13/03 Jim Creepy and disturbing for the most part, rather than scary 4 stars
10/09/03 Michelle Stupid the end 3 stars
10/04/03 Double G the ending ruined it 3 stars
9/17/03 Samuel Justus One of the best I've seen in a while! 5 stars
9/13/03 hando the ring?the crusty brown ring in my opinion 1 stars
9/06/03 Andrew The most terrrifying film I have EVER seen. 5 stars
8/26/03 dado excellent 5 stars
8/26/03 The Chimp Suprisingly one of the best horror movies I have ever seen! 5 stars
8/11/03 Nicole The movie had creepy atmosphere, but the only real scare came at the end 3 stars
8/07/03 April Very creepy! 5 stars
8/07/03 marc_ian_a Excellent ! (5 stars) :) 5 stars
7/24/03 Mag Pie The Movie Fucking Sucked Except When She Came Out The TV 1 stars
7/22/03 Double G Ending ruined it all 1 stars
7/20/03 Udoka It was scary and a very very nicely done movie! 5 stars
7/16/03 Fred Not very creative, yet stimulating. Sort of like playing checkers. 3 stars
7/14/03 Christian Harding Good, scary movie but crappy ending. 4 stars
7/09/03 courtney lynn woods i thought the movie was freakin excelant man 5 stars
7/06/03 Stefan Halka I pity the people who think this film was scary. They have not seen real horror films. 3 stars
7/03/03 Dan Stupid and porous plot, one-dimensional characters, bad acting; an overall boring movie 1 stars
6/27/03 Pissed Chris a mature movie goer will enjoy, be frightened, or at least appreciate this work 5 stars
6/25/03 WhiteRabbit scared the shit out of me.. awesome! 5 stars
6/22/03 Ghetto Smurf You fucking pansy's, it's not that scary. Certainly very dumb though. 2 stars
6/16/03 Brandon SCARY AND AWESOME 5 stars
6/11/03 Geoff A seriously scary movie, well acted and excellent ending, any parent would understand. 5 stars
6/10/03 Paul Andrews It still creeps me out 6 months later 5 stars
5/27/03 Danielle It was a great movie. It is 1 of the all time best scary movies 5 stars
5/24/03 usually not scared by movies.... do not watch alone in your basement with all the lights out and nobody home 5 stars
5/22/03 Desert Rat Except for the chick out of the TV scene, this movie was lame!! 2 stars
5/13/03 nbp creepy 5 stars
4/26/03 Scapegoat pretty cool 5 stars
4/25/03 Dead Kennedy If a girl came out of the t.v., i'd tell her to fix me a fucking sandwich with extra mayo 3 stars
4/17/03 TheTwiggs I liked it. It was strange and a bit in Silent Hill style 4 stars
4/17/03 Jon "Thumb the Toad" Lyrik Creepy. 5 stars
4/16/03 Russell I haven't been able to sleep since I watched it, and I watched it last night. 4 stars
4/14/03 Matrenou well-cut film with extreme good timed scene's, a must see 5 stars
4/13/03 Viper Awesome movie, very scary up to the end! 5 stars
4/08/03 Dead Ringers FX rules! Fun creepy and better than original. More expensive of course. 4 stars
4/06/03 Dave What can I say? It's the disappointing remake. 3 stars
4/06/03 Jessel Some decent twists, but mostly painful 1 stars
4/03/03 Chris A great horror film, in almost every aspect except the ending. 4 stars
3/29/03 NYTRANSIT417 Awsome Movie!, Very Suspensful and Ive got 1 day left. 5 stars
3/27/03 Mr. Bo Jangles Crummy tape quality does not equal scary 2 stars
3/26/03 HsiLiKniP This is the first scary movie to actually EVER scare me, i give it alotta props!! =) 5 stars
3/24/03 Meryl it scared the piss out of us. i watched the end through my fingers. 5 stars
3/23/03 Kyle So nightmarish I actually envy those who found it boring. 5 stars
3/22/03 snowconehead I saw it last night, I guess I hav 6 days left 4 stars
3/21/03 soelen creepy movie, gotta stick with it! didnt understand the let her out? 4 stars
3/19/03 Tiffany Thunderhurst Even supernatural premises need their own kind of coherence; This movie's doesn't have it. 2 stars
3/17/03 Jonathan Ingenious Movie: Horrible, Terrifying, but brilliant. I was absolutely Petrified by it. 5 stars
3/16/03 GMan Movie: Decent. Star: Wankable. There, now... what's with the fucking fingers in the box?? 4 stars
3/14/03 Christy this movie is scary, but it was too confusing.The suspense was great, but the storyline sux 3 stars
3/13/03 Chiend It sucked--Rips off Hitchcock and The Exorcist as well as the superior Japanese original. 1 stars
3/11/03 me A GREAT FILM 5 stars
3/10/03 Jiz Started lame, got good, then got slightly worse, and then came the ultra-shitty ending. 3 stars
3/09/03 othree the average ghost who wants to be found w/ a plus. More thought provoking then scary 3 stars
3/09/03 Film Dude You know something josh w, YOU SUCK. 1 stars
3/05/03 Robert Cooley Nail Biter, Thriller, Pscyho-scary and so much more 5 stars
3/04/03 the little big small man in the huge undersized tiny gigantic trashcan Naomi Watts. I love you. 5 stars
2/21/03 A. Kane A creepy atmosphere doesn't mean a good film 2 stars
1/28/03 bob leather jacket Creeepy!!! Awesome 5 stars
1/20/03 malcolm shocking, but inconclusive. get ready for the awful sequel. 4 stars
12/31/02 Kit Great! It was awesome. Freaky, yet not scary. 5 stars
12/26/02 josh w it sucked 1 stars
12/21/02 palaboy101 Very creepy remake, but the ending was very vague, unlike the original Japanese version. 5 stars
12/19/02 mav mad horror, mad lookin actress, wat more can u want? 5 stars
12/19/02 nick2k goddamn....goddamn.....good stuff! 5 stars
12/18/02 Chiendog Steven Spielberg sucks! Fuck this remake! 1 stars
12/18/02 masin wolliams I can answer any questions you may have about THE RING: 5 stars
12/17/02 Alanboy What happened? So many questions, but no answers. 1 stars
12/09/02 strider3700 Really good, I'm still scared a day later. 5 stars
12/08/02 richard breath-taking 5 stars
12/08/02 WestcoastPunk i must has shit myself 5 times it was so scary 5 stars
12/06/02 AJ S Scared shitless. Nightmares. Wet pants. 5 stars
12/03/02 George Jung Pointless tripe with Nicole Kidman lite. 1 stars
12/03/02 Gaiia If my TV turns itself on next wednesday i'm going to FREAK OUT! ME TOO!!! REALLY GREAT!!! 5 stars
12/02/02 angie mathars scarest movie i have ever seen and my favorite movie. 5 stars
11/26/02 zeitgeist great movie, but could use more closure... 4 stars
11/25/02 Lachlan Crap and wierd which doesn't make sense 1 stars
11/24/02 chris see Ringu instead. these guys can't act to save their lives. 1 stars
11/23/02 Doc's friend Tony If you see it at night alone, it's a long and dark trip home. 5 stars
11/21/02 Lock If my TV turns itself on next wednesday i'm going to FREAK OUT! 5 stars
11/21/02 Monster W. Kung This movie sucked. I expected much more than this. 2 stars
11/20/02 palaboy101 A great remake. A thousand times better than the crappy Blair Witch Project 5 stars
11/16/02 The Ringer This movie sucked so much dick i'd call it a cocksucker. 1 stars
11/15/02 Heath Stewart the stile of The Shining - if not more horrific. 5 stars
11/14/02 fred see the original 1 stars
11/14/02 SGR 'The Mexican' director redeems himself 5 stars
11/14/02 Dom Corleone Awesome 5 stars
11/13/02 Master Debator FREAK ASS TERRIFYING 5 stars
11/09/02 Jennifer Napier I love scary movies, but this one was so terrifying that it still haunts me! 5 stars
11/07/02 LessThanColleen the ending was so cool! The dead girls dad that fried himself was in L.I.E, kinda wierd... 5 stars
11/06/02 Nicole Nothing special - many recycled ideas.....ending scared me! 3 stars
11/06/02 Film Dude Holy shit. Freaky. I gotta find the Japanese version. 5 stars
11/06/02 david badass scary movie 5 stars
11/05/02 Blubberbot Bad acting. Dumb Story. Not Scary. 2 stars
11/05/02 palaboy101 Despite being a Japanese remake, this is one really scary movie. 5 stars
11/03/02 Melina piss in your pants scary 4 stars
11/03/02 The Ranter The plot is like swiss cheese, a lot of "pointless" and discardable details and loose ends. 2 stars
11/03/02 Obi Wan One of the better horror movies in a long time. . 5 stars
10/30/02 Bluto Liked it, I just don't think I can be scared anymore 4 stars
10/29/02 Gryftir I drove home thinking of how to convince somebody to see it, so it wouldn't get me. 7 days 5 stars
10/29/02 Entertaining and engaging but doesn't life up to hype would have been better if relied on creepy atomasphere with less cliche's 4 stars
10/29/02 noisey30 Lots of plot holes, but still freaky 4 stars
10/28/02 Caiphn Very well done. 5 stars
10/28/02 Benjamin Lesbian Feh. Some creepy moments but pretty convoluted and confusing. 3 stars
10/28/02 Michaelb14 scary as hell, 'nough said 5 stars
10/27/02 Roy Smith The best scares of the year. Bring your Depends(tm) just in case! 5 stars
10/26/02 jarrod_101 creepy, bad ending. did anyone else get that "bad NIN video" vibe from that video tape? 4 stars
10/25/02 Rich Cirivilleri what would that poor ghost do if they put that video on the jumbotron at the superbowl? 5 stars
10/25/02 Anarchy Azmi you people are sheep......the original japanese version is better only with less effects 3 stars
10/24/02 Sophann great somber atmosphere 5 stars
10/24/02 Morally Sound Awesome! Not since The Shining have I seen such a freaky movie. The ending hits you hard. 5 stars
10/24/02 Flounder Posed as a horror movie, but fails to fully live up to its genre placement. Did not scare. 3 stars
10/23/02 .Choadushouse. Deliciously frightening images! Completely horrifying! A great horror flick for everyone. 5 stars
10/23/02 Zaw Deja Vu,, I seen this movie before about 15 year ago! 5 stars
10/22/02 leanne scary & interesting. I've been thinking about it ever since and want to see it again! 5 stars
10/22/02 darkstar Very good movie. Went slow till the end, then BANG.. nice payoff 5 stars
10/22/02 puckfreak Don't believe the hype, yo. It's a snoozer. 2 stars
10/21/02 Matt Top 5 Scariest I've ever seen 5 stars
10/21/02 DedHeather Scariest movie I've seen in years! 5 stars
10/21/02 disappointed in seattle see name 2 stars
10/20/02 WickedEve Eerie, disturbing images overcome a few disappointing moments. 5 stars
10/20/02 norsaj I haven't seen a horror movie this good in quite a while 5 stars
10/20/02 Don Hite good, but left a lot unexplained.... 4 stars
10/20/02 Human Shield Had to watch Red Dragon afterward so I wouldn't have nightmares. 5 stars
10/20/02 kooler Please. A pumped-up murder mystery. I've seen scarier episodes of Scooby Doo. 3 stars
10/20/02 gyro_44 Creepy. 4 stars
10/20/02 cretaceous ( this film's an infection. beautifully creepy. 5 stars
10/19/02 Neil Tense. 3rd act will annoy those who like hand holding 4 stars
10/19/02 kallisti93 Fucking GREAT remake. Shame Hollywood can't be creative anymore. 5 stars
10/19/02 loser boy sucks 1 stars
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  18-Oct-2002 (PG-13)
  DVD: 08-Mar-2005



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