HOLLYWOOD—Well, Halloween is less than a few days away at this point, so we are down to the wire on the remake debate in the horror genre. I was going back and forth this week, as there were 2 films that were at the top of my list, “Dawn of the Dead (2004)” and “The Ring (2002)”; both films that relatively came out within similar time frames of the new decade. I think “Dawn of the Dead” is a great flick, and the chaos and tension that delivered a zombie apocalypse unlike anything we’ve seen. Amazing, epic, devastating and bloody as hell.

With that said I wanted to rely on something a bit more supernatural, captivating and delivers an amazing opening and ending that blows your socks off. I am talking about “The Ring” which is a remake and Americanized version of the Japanese flick “Ringu.” What I love about this movie is that it is terrifying without the excessive violence or gore; it relies solely on narrative and suspense and does so better than any flick I have seen in years.

The opening of “The Ring” is classic. Two teenaged girls having a sleepover, but something other worldly transpires, when one of the girls talks about a tape that if you watch it, you die 7 days later. Sounds silly right? That is until that phone rings, and then rings, and then the TV turns on, but there is nothing to see. Something unfolds that the audience has no clue about, but we get small doses and that scene with the closet still gives the biggest jump scare I can recall in a long time; it shocked the hell out of me. Pay attention to a young Adam Brody from “The OC” in the movie.

There are riveting performances by Naomi Watts and David Dorfman as a mother-son pairing that could not be more distant. Aiden is solo, he takes care of himself and his connection to his mother is just that, she’s the mom, but he’s more of the adult. That bond develops as the movie progresses, as Rachel gets her hands on that tape as a reporter who digs to discover the truth about what led to her niece’s death. The promotion of the tape slowly begins, the creepy call, the strange photos, the nightmares, the near-death experiences, the girl with the black hair covering her face and of course, the ‘ring’ that you see before you apparently die.

The narrative is well fleshed out. We know little to nothing about this video tape when we first hear about it. Then we see this video and it is creepy as f***. You don’t understand it, I could not explain it, but it encapsulates you in the process, as you try to solve the mystery of the tape and it is a fun game to play. Why? It is a testament to clever writing, and it just works seamlessly. There are ton of hints throughout the movie that you can connect the dots if you’re carefully paying attention, but the problem is you become too sutured to pay attention to those clues until they are pointed out to you.

As a result, that ending with the girl coming out of the TV left me speechless, and the big twist at the end that reveals why Rachel was not in danger, but her ex was, I was flabbergasted. The sequel, not so great, but this remake is proof that a solid story is way more important, than gore, excessive violence and just over the top antics attempting to gross out the viewer. I could watch “The Ring” whenever it comes on Cable TV, and guess what, I never get tired of it, and I love the notion of learning something new each time I watch. Suspenseful, terrifying and just a fun time, “The Ring” is a must see this Halloween season when it comes to remakes.