8:00 PM, 14th March, 2003
The Ring is the American remake of the Japanese movie Ringu [which we screened in first semester 2001 ((mdash)) Ed.] and although it introduces a few good new ideas to the original storyline, I believe it fails to outdo the Japanese version. Now, the review guidelines ask that I give a short plot synopsis of the movie. I believe, however, that this type of movie is better seen without being completely in the know. If you're inclined to agree with me, then don't read on. For the sake of satisfying the criteria however, the following few sentences will give a brief outline of the movie, hopefully without giving too much away. After four teenagers die in unusual circumstances, Rachel Keller (Watts), a journalist and the aunt of one of the four teenagers, investigates and discovers that the deaths are linked to a peculiar video that the four teenagers had watched. Consequently, she watches it herself, after which the phone rings, telling her that she has only one more week to live. At times the remake tends to explain too much, particularly in parts that would probably be better left to your own imagination. Indeed, this viewer asks why a remake was made, when the original, which was made only a few years ago, was an absolute success to begin with. That being said, The Ring is still an excellent horror/thriller flick, and although it fails, I believe, to outshine the original, it is still a good watch, particularly for those looking for a good scare.
10:00 PM, 14th March, 2003
Carlos (Tielve) is a ten-year-old who has been orphaned during the civil war in Spain in 1939. He is sent to an isolated orphanage, and encounters characters who are creepy, nasty, sympathetic, or, well, dead. That's right, The Devil's Backbone is directed by Guilllermo Del Toro, horror director specialist, whose credits include such 'masterpieces' as Mimic, Cronos and Blade II. The Devil's Backbone is better though. Trust me.
The basic, basic storyline is that there is a boy, Santi, who disappeared from the orphanage when a bomb landed (but didn't explode) in the courtyard. Carlos encounters a vision that could be of Santi, but why would Santi be dead when the bomb didn't explode? Meanwhile, Jacinto (Noriega), the school's caretaker, is up to no good; attempting to get to the school's gold.
The Devil's Backbone is spooky and the effects are slick. While the main aim (I think) of the movie is to create an uncomfortable atmosphere for the audience, there is some real, intelligent storytelling going on behind the scenes. This movie is not just another dumb scare-fest. There are rich and varied characters, and the plot is engaging and fascinating.