When seeing horror movies, I’m usually the one sitting in the back who’s been coerced by her mates to come, giving a running commentary about how lame this movie is. And here some random female gets slashed up; here the heroine finally realises who the killer is, even though the rest of us worked it out half an hour ago; here the heroine runs up the stairs, even though we all know that’s a dead end – and whoops, wouldn’t you know, she’s wearing a clingy shirt and no bra.
Except for The Ring. The Ring terrified me. Largely I credit it to the fact it’s never fully explained to us what Samara is or what she does to kill people – a method of “suggest to the audience, don’t explain it word-by-word” that I find refreshing – but also something I credit to the portrayal of the heroine.
Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) is awesome. She’s a journalist whose teenage niece Katie has just died of a mysterious heart-related death. It just stopped. She digs deeper, and finds a superstitious claim that her death, and the deaths of half a dozen friends at precisely the same time, are linked to them all watching a killer video exactly the week before.
Of course, Rachel doesn’t believe it. I mean, killer video? So she tracks down the offending vid and watches it, except it turns out the story’s true. She’s got a week to live.
And what does she do? Does she sit down and cry and wait for hunky ex Noah (Martin Henderson) to make things right? Nuh-uh. Using her journalist training and what time she’s got left, she delves into the history of the tape, inching closer to a “cure” for the curse as the clock ticks down. When she’s on her last day, she utilises every moment to find answers that will help Noah and their son Aidan – both of whom have seen the tape – continue on in that search. Even when she knows her time is down to the hours and minutes, she searches for answers.
How bloody cool. A woman when, faced with her mortality at the hands of something supernatural and terrifying, does her best to stave it off, first for herself, then for her loved ones and others. Watts is brilliant as coming off as a woman trapped in terrifying circumstances but determined to go down fighting. Unless we’re counting Ripley from the Alien franchise (something I always considered more scifi than horror) then Rachel Keller is definitely my #1 horror heroine.