A horror movie doesn't need to be great cinema to be effective. The Ring, the Gore Verbinski-directed remake of Hideo Nakata's Ringu, suffers from gaping plot holes and characters who make very annoying decisions. And yet it works, thanks to its ominous atmosphere, surreal imagery and the monster at the heart of the story, a dead 10-year-old girl named Samara Morgan (Daveigh Chase). Samara's spectral projections are captured on videotape by some dudes, carrying a terrible curse that the ghost notifies the cursed about via telephone. Wackiness ensues.
You know the premise, and it's a fairly silly one, but one which Ringu made believably eerie. Nakata's film is probably the better one, but I must admit that it's the remake that gives me the willies. I love the chilling moment when Naomi Watts' clairvoyant, frustratingly cryptic son (David Dorfman) asks, "Why did you help her?" And, thanks to Rick Baker's outstanding effects work, Verbinski's attention to details like the water seeping menacingly from a TV and actor Martin Henderson's convincingly terrified performance, Samara's entrance remains one of horror cinema's most memorably creepy payoffs.