Saturday, October 26, 2013

My years in horror: 2002

This is one of the most difficult years I've had had to deal with. To give you a sense of it, Cabin Fever, May, and Bubba Ho-Tep all fell short when it came to choosing the year's best horror movie.

If I was only choosing the year's best horror scene, I'd have to throw in the opener from Ghost Ship. If only the rest of the movie had lived up to its introduction. Then there is the British war ghost story Deathwatch to think about. My brain hurts.

The two films left to consider have been influential in so many ways it's almost impossible to separate them. But I have to. What would you do? Would you go with 28 Days Later, the movie that truly kicked off the modern zombie craze or The Ring, which started American cinema's J-horror fad?

I've made my decision and I'm sticking to it. So what makes Gore Verbinski's stateside version of The Ring such a great horror movie? Well, in comparison to 28 Days Later, it is the lack of hope The Ring leaves you with. The cycle will continue and ultimately no one is safe. Sure, lots of people died because of the rage virus, and quicker than the spread of a videotape. But you get the sense (even without seeing the sequel) that things will get better for the world post-Z outbreak. But in The Ring, the viewer is left with the sense that things will only get worse. Our heroine blew it and more people will die.

And even before the "resolution," we're told the only way to not die is to set someone else up to die by showing them the tape. In other words, if you didn't want to die, you had to become an accessory to someone else's murder. That's no world to live in.

At the time, The Ring caught me off guard. I had no expectations. It's PG-13, so I thought that I wouldn't get anything for my time. But people screamed and at the end of showing, about half a dozen cell phones went off. How's that for scary?

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