Thursday, March 24, 2005

I Keep Checking My TV... make sure that it hasn't turned itself on. Remember this little girl? No, she isn't another metaphor for my lurking, wrathful, and eternally returning dissertation. (Although, come to think of it...)

Actually, I'm just scared of her. Which is sort of odd, because The Ring Two, like its predecessor, is not such a well-made film. They're both full of narrative cul-de-sacs, images that don't relate to anything, characters that fall flat, and unnecessary "reminder" images (remember this ladder??! remember this tree??!). Having just seen the sequel today, I can also assure you that Rachel's propensity for making jaw-droppingly awful decisions at the worst possible times has only increased. Hugely, in fact.

But these films have a great villain in the spookily, hairily, hotly mad-as-fuck Samara, and the two things that work best in this franchise—the sheer force of her fury and the twisty perversity of her hysterical, incestuous mythology—actually derive fuel from the sloppiness of the narratives. It's like Samara's anger is earthquaking not just the plots and the other characters, but the movies themselves. Several sequences have zero momentum, and no crucial relevance to the plot, so there's no reason why Samara can't bust into any single scene and start throttling people with her dead-girl hands. (Yikes, people!) Did anyone share my sense in these two movies that, at any moment, this girl could burst out of the movie screen and just lay waste to everyone? Both The Ring and The Ring Two excel at isolated images, and the nearer to Samara the better. In fact, it was a mistake for me to buy one of those Caspian Sea-sized sodas at the theater this morning, because just the sight of Samara scratching at the wallpaper almost made me pee the entire thing. There's a sequence involving a herd of angry deer in this movie that doesn't make a lick of sense, and when the art directors try to pick up the motif in a later sequence, it's hilariously stupid. But the image of a deer who's also mad as fuck, for no other reason than that Samara is (kind of) around, is scary. The teaser trailer for The Ring Two, especially if you're in the dark, is still the best movie I've seen all year. Less of Samara is more, I've decided...even though my friend Caetlin Benson-Allott just wrote a 30-page hermeneutic analysis of The Ring and video-era paranoia that made me rethink the entire first movie in serious depth. (Caetlin is as smart as Samara is angry; her jelly is gonna get published, I'm sure of it, and if it does, I'll let y'all know.)

But by the same principle, just a little bit of Samara goes a long way. That's why, as I write this at 1:42am, I keep looking nervously over my shoulder.

Anyone who feels like posting a comment and explaining that Samara is fictional is officially invited to do so, because I am seriously tripping! I am usually a calm and collected FlickPicker, but tonight, I am set to bug. {{ shivers }}

Photo © 2005 DreamWorks Pictures

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Blogger Dr. S said...

I would call you and tell you she's fictional, but I'm afraid the ringing phone at 2:20 a.m. would put you over the top! She can't hurt you! She can't hurt you!

(Of course, I found the trailer for the first one so scary that I've gone nowhere near the Ring... and that picture in your post doesn't make me want to change that course of action!)

1:21 AM, March 24, 2005  

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