You'll be at an advantage, watching this remake, if you've already seen Hideo Nakata's classic modern chiller Ring. The Japanese original is more creepy for being insidiously mysterious. To be fair, however, Verbinski's more expensive revamp treats it with a surprising degree of respect. The central conceit is the same urban legend teaser: the video tape which brings death to all those who see it, exactly seven days later. Watts grits her teeth again as a newspaper reporter whose niece is among a spate of perplexing teenage fatalities. At first she's sceptical about the notion of a killer vid connecting the victims, but the enigmatic images on the tape convince her to take it seriously. If the testimonies are true, however, she has only a week to live. It's symptomatic of this version that the said video plays more like conspicuously art directed MTV surrealism than Nakata's haunting, rough-hewn artefact. Heavier on back-story, the remake loses some of the goose pimple factor through dogged over-elaboration, even muffling what was its predecessor's hairiest set piece. Not everything it might have been, then, but decent enough to have you tracking down the original.
Cast and crew