(out of 5)
Flat, tepid thriller that steals from every film of its kind. Naomi Watts stars as a driven journalist whose niece mysteriously dies of a stroke seven days after watching a videotape that depicts strange, nightmarish images. Deciding that the story of the tape is more than just urban legend, she begins to investigate its contents after she, her ex-boyfriend and little boy watch it. The story threatens to be interesting from time to time, even featuring a few genuine thrills and an exciting sequence involving a mad horse aboard a ferryboat. This is a remake of a terrifying Japanese film (with the same title), and like most American remakes of foreign films it suffers from trying too hard to rationalize everything, then throws in a Sixth Sense-like plot twist that is basically a cheap trick. The good part is watching the luminous Watts.
Directed by Gore Verbinski
Cinematography by Bojan Bazelli
Music by Hans Zimmer
Production Design by Tom Duffield
Costume Design by Julie Weiss
Film Editing by Craig Wood