main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Headscratchers: The Ring
  • Can you just tape over Samara with American Idol? Sure, you might die, but you'd remove Samara's evil forever...
  • How many people even have VCR players now? And how many people will have VCR players ten years from now? Soon somebody's going to just receive Samara's tape and toss it because they can't even play it.
    • In the novel series by Koji Suzuki, Sadako figures out a way to spread to other forms of media... starting with the report that one character makes about the Ring tape... and the published book... and the movie...
    • And let's not forget about the many VHS converters out there.
  • They really didn't think out the whole, "Watch the tape, and a week later a crazy bitch comes out of your TV and kills you" thing, did they? I mean, what if, on the seventh day, you're camping or something, nowhere near a TV? Or, what if you had watched the tape at a friend's house, and didn't actually own a television? Yes, I know how absurd that would be, but these are hypothetical questions, OK? With hypothetical questions, I could suggest any situation, such as, if a dog watches the tape, does it turn into a gorilla? So, anyway, how about those Red Sox? They sure a baseball team, aren't they?
    • Speaking of which, what if you went to a baseball game on the seventh day? You know one of the stadiums with the super large screens?
    • Does it matter if it gives you panic attacks?
    • Weren't a lot of kids in a car among the first casualties (in the original anyway)? And don't you "die of fright?" I assume if you're not near a TV she either just appears or you are overcome with a fatal sense of non-specific terror.
      • You put it well: in the original. In the remake, it does seem that Samara can only come from inside a TV, due to crappy writing or adapting, whatever. I think there is a trope for these cases where they don't seem to realize the Fridge Logic caused by a simple decision on the storytelling (e.g., all the deaths on-screen happen with a television).
      • Not true. Rings (appearing on the Ring Two unrated edition DVD) has the scene where Jake smashes the TV, and Samara comes out through the shards of glass, meaning she can come out through reflective surfaces.
      • Really? Oh...dear. Well, there's another reason not to watch the remake. (Honestly, how unnecessary! And all the deaths? Saving the revelation till the end is part of the point!)
      • Actually the death of the kids in the car is specified in the remake - they lost control of the car and crashed. The conventional fan explanation is that the image of Samara appeared on the windscreen.
      • Which... takes some of the mystery out of it. Part of the point in the original film was that it was strange because they died in a car that was both locked and parked.
      • Maybe the car was in a drive-in theatre (haven't seen the original)?
      • You got the wrong idea. The revelation is still saved till the end. The OP was just noting (inaccurately; see above) that there's always a TV near the victims. I really don't see any difference in clarity between the original and remake when it comes to Sadako's killing methods — the details are for us to hash out. Don't let this or any other second-hand evidence put you off watching the remake. It's still Ring through and through, and still scary as hell.
      • In a deleted scene, it turns out that the owner of the cabins watched the tape, and he is found dead in a boat in the middle of the lake. Samara's powers and apparitions do seem to be based more on water and reflections than TV, so she probably manifests out of the nearest reflective surface (like Sadako did).
      • Right, this troper's mistake (didn't like the movie anyway). Still, it doesn't actually solve the problem of specifically stated conditions for death.
      • Actually, there was a TV involved in the Shelter Mountain innkeeper's death. It was the first thing Noah noticed that eventually led to him locating the innkeeper's body - it even had some residual water in front of it that Noah stuck his finger in. It's implied that the innkeeper fled down to the boat on the lake in an attempt to escape Samara. There's even a set of bloody footprints on the dock that parallels Noah's own death scene.
      • The "water and reflections" part is probably the main reason. Japanese myths are pretty big on the concept of "reflections," especially mirrors. Mirrors supposedly enable a person to see into the otherworld.
    • What if you go blind during the one-week interval? And why am I thinking about a Toph vs. Sadako/Samara match?
      • On a similar note, what if you're already blind, or simply not looking at the TV when its playing the tape? Can it curse you if you only hear it play? If you're asleep on the couch in the same room as someone watching it, does the curse still affect you?
      • People don't seem to be affected unless they actually see the tape. After all, in the openning sequence of The Ring 2, a girl sits right in front of the tv while the video is playing. This is well within hearing range (and-ahem-grabbing range), but her eyes (and only her eyes) are closed. She remains physically unnaffected, even though Samara apparently crawled right out of the tv and attacked the boy she was with (who had watched the film).
      • It's also implied by the first film that the tape affects people through the eyes in some manner. They show a shot of Rachel's iris contracting just after she watches the tape. It contracts again just before Samara shows her what happened at the well and sets her free of the curse.
      • If it were up to me, yes. Sadako doesn't seem like the type to be generous about that kind of thing. Even if you're just in the room when she comes for someone else, she'll drive you insane and use you to deliver messages. And if we're counting the Japanese sequel Rasen, that's just the beginning. She can curse you in hundreds of ways and never quite lets go even if you pass the curse on.
      • True about her not being generous. There's a scene in the Japanese sequel, Ringu 2, that shows how a friend of one of Sadako's victims from the first movie got insane - she opened the door to the friend's room and saw some of the getting out of TV thing. IIRC, she started to affect the TVs around her, which scared people who watched the TV.
      • Why didn't anyone try using the VCR controls to run through the taped scenes backwards? Sure, it might not do jack-squat to reverse the effect, but it's gotta be better than just counting down the hours till you die.
      • What good would that do? If you've already watched it, you can't "rewind" it to get more time. Everyone in the novel, movie(s), and remake(s) played with the tape by fast-forwarding, rewinding, pausing, printing, and it didn't affect their scheduled death one bit.
    • It should be noted that what actually kills people in the novels is different to the movie adaptations; its revealed that Sadako's will to live mutated itself with the viral information of smallpox (which she had contracted right before her death), the tape being used as a medium for the new virus to infect others in the hope that it's existence will propagate and continue its mutation. People die from this virus in seven days time unless they allow it to be "birthed" into a new medium.
    • At the beginning of The Ring Two Samara pops out of the body bag to give her "Mommy" a hug, so who knows?
    • OK, so. You watch a video tape and seven days later a crazy bitch comes out of the TV and kills you - fine. But what if the clocks go forward/backwards on one of the days? Do you lose/gain an extra hour (e.g. when daylight-saving time begins or ends)? What if you change timezones on one of the days, does that in/decrease your time? Do leap days count? What if the calendar changes during the countdown and you're "fastforwarded" further than your remaining time (e.g. when crossing the International Date Line)? Are you instakilled, does the counter reset, what? The more you know~
      • Crossing a timezone/fiddling with a clock/flipping a calendar page doesn't affect anyone's actual age, so the curse probably would track how long it had been since someone watched the tape by judging that person's own time. Seven days worth of time out of their life, if you will.
    • What happens if you put the TV on a balcony or a roof so that its screen faces out of the building? Or put two T Vs to face each other in a way there would be no distance between the screens? How does she come out if the TV is mounted on a wall and there's no table/shelf/whatever she could put her hands on? Does setting traps in front of the TV work? What if you turn it off while she's emerging? Or if you simply block or cover the screen? Or rotate the TV set in a way its screen directly faces a wall or floor, leaving no room for emerging?
  • What if you don't answer the phone? Or what if your roommate, who is in the kitchen having some spaghetti-os answers? Would ghost-girl ask them to put you on? Or just leave a message?
    • "Okay let's see, in seven days she'll fry...oh I see, DIE, okay then, I'll tell her.".
    • You die of smallpox. Which is what actually causes the deaths, all the other effects are artefacts of the disease fused with Sadako's freaky powers.
      • Not... really. In the novel, the death curse really is the result of the fusion of the resentment and desire for reproduction of Sadako and the smallpox virus... but the symptoms of the deaths don't much match smallpox — it can cause heart failure, but also has other symptoms that'd be nearly impossible to miss; most noticeably, a rash of large pseudo-pustules. You literally die of fright — The Sadako/smallpox fusion uses a reflective surface nearby to show you a vision so terrifying it stops your heart and kills you — for Ryuji at least, it was a vision of himself as an incredibly ancient, decaying husk of a man, at least a hundred years older. We never get to see what the other victims saw, so if it's the same for everyone, or tailored specifically to the victim isn't clear.
      • The death in the novel is actually caused by virus induced tumours in the heart or arteries (I can't remember which) and the fear is just secondary to that, it is the blocked bloodflow that causes heart attack and death.
      • That must be one of the later novels — I've only read the first one, so far, and what was stated above is basically what it suggests. Either way, smallpox doesn't cause tumors — although there have been reports of malignant tumors forming in scars left by smallpox or smallpox vaccinations — so it's still not really consistent with smallpox. So... yeah. Apparently, it's a different virus causing the problems. Even moreso, given some of the stuff discussed below.
    • Noah watched the tape but did not answer the phone when it rang for him. He heard the phone ring and asked Rachel if she was going to get it. He still died.
    • This is specifically addressed in the movie. The boyfriend doesn't get the message, but later a clerk says, "You're going to die", referring to the effects of smoking cigarettes, but the implication is that that constitutes delivery of the message.
      • That was the movie indulging in a bit of Black Humor at Noah's expense. There's nothing to indicate that the clerk is "passing on" the message.
      • There was nothing to indicate that the clerk wasn't passing on the message too, why can't it be both?
      • This troper would like to vouch for the message theory: whilst one could see how it could be funny in a dark way, the general tone of the film, the attempted evasion of the message and Noah reaction to the comment does give the feeling that it was intended as a subtle, alternative delivery of the message, so it's probably at least both (humour and delivery).
    • The impression I got: the phone call and 7-day wait are not rules that Sadako/Samara has to follow. They're things she chooses to do, because she wants people to suffer the way she suffered. Dodge the phone call, or keep yourself safe on the 7th day, and she'll get you some other way, sooner or later.
      • Or it's just her way of being sadistic: giving her victims the illusion of a chance before they inevitably die.
    • Hilariously enough, in the (non-canon) video game, this happens. Sadako calls, someone else picks up, and they put Sadako on hold.
  • Why does Sadako's ghost appear as a full-grown woman? I can't think of a single in-fiction reason for it; it might as well appear as a capybara, for all the relevance it has. Out-of-fiction... there still isn't a lot of reason, except that it throws the viewer off a bit about just who the ghost is and what happened to the person it's the ghost of. Granted, I've only seen the original film... but the implication there seems to be that she was murdered when still a child — don't know about the novel or the other films.
    • Er, no, Sadako was killed as a young adult. Sadako (as Samara) was only killed as a child in the American remake.
      • I've actually been told this since posting, but from just watching the original film, I got the distinct impression that... she didn't quite live that long. Not quite sure if I just misinterpreted the film, or if it really does give the wrong impression about how old she was when she was killed.
      • In the original novel and Japanese movie, Sadako was old enough to go to graduate from college. She also looks like an adult woman in the first film when she gets the meaty-sounding whack on the noggin.
      • The book is quite clear about she having 19 years old. The first movie doesn't says explicitly how old she was, but the third (Ring 0) shows her as a young woman.
      • At the beginning of the second movie (Ring 2), it is explicitly mentioned that Sadako died only a couple of years prior to the first film, meaning she would have been in her 40s. This is never brought up again, and there is a lot of speculation as to how she could have survived for being trapped in the well for around 30 years before finally succumbing to death. A popular theory is that her powers of self-healing may have played a part even as she was withering away, and that her body was finally allowed to die when the TV that was installed in the cabin above the well allowed her to pass on her curse.
  • What was the point of the hinting that Sadako was actually fathered by an Eldritch Abomination, rather than her human father in Ringu? It coalesced so late in the film that it didn't have a chance to go anywhere. I haven't watched the other films, but I've been told it wasn't followed up on in those, either.
    • Probably just so it clicks in people's heads, "Ooooh, she's something inhuman. That explains the freaky powers." And then prompt WMGs on what exactly the being is.
      • Considering the ocean-related symbolism, I'm guessing Cthulhu. As least as far as the original novels are concerned, what with her mother dredging up that obviously possessed figurine. And then The Reveal shows that it's not that simple.
      • The second movie goes even further. It explains that her mother gave birth to her in a cave which was presumably haunted by the spirits of dead, unwanted children. Probably as a justification as to why Sadako is so hell-bent on revenge.
  • Why do you have to make a copy of the tape in the film? In the novel, it's quite handily explained by Sadako's pseudo-hermaphroditic circumstances and her being infected by smallpox. It's about reproduction — the reproduction that is the very reason for existence of a virus, and which Sadako was denied during her life by her biology. The "death curse" bit is a side effect of the smallpox being involved and their combined resentment of humanity — Sadako for the destruction of her family, and smallpox for being driven to the brink of extinction. But the movie dropped both the smallpox and testicular feminization (or, if you prefer, complete androgen insensitivity) from the plot, so... there's no particular reason that you should have to copy the tape, instead of just showing it.
    • In the remake, at least, the characters rationalize it as Samara wanting as many people as possible to experience what she went through (and making them suffer horrible hallucinations, natch.) It's a lot harder to spread her curse with just one tape, hence the copy. As for why it kills people... well, it's a supernatural curse.
    • The death part of the curse is probably to encourage people to copy the tape. If it is coppied the curse may spread much faster.
  • More a question to do with the Japanese strain of movies/books, but what fucking difference does it make if Samara is female or not? No mean to offend, but that just seemed like a ridiculous excuse for angst.
    • To begin with the plot point doesn't apply to Samara, but to Sadako. Even then, the movies ignore that particular aspect because they also changed her killer (Dr. Heihachiro Ikuma, Sadako's father, or Anna Morgan, Samara's stepmother.) It's VERY relevant in the novel because she was raped by a doctor from the nearby clinic, at which point he discovered her true gender. While he was busy being outraged at "her deception" (even when he was the rapist!) Sadako was so humiliated and enraged that she tried to kill him with her psychic abilities. He fought back, strangled her, and tossed her down the well. If not for her physical gender confusion, the Ring Virus never would have existed in the first place. But it doesn't end there! As the sequel novel explains, because she had male gonads, she was able to use her psychic abilities to mutate the smallpox virus into the Ring Virus. This doesn't just kill you, but it's also a fertilizing vector that impregnates unlucky watchers (like Ryuji's assistant) and allows Sadako to be reborn as a full-on hermaphrodite who can impregnate herself. Which has its own consequences... Yeah, the movies and remakes went for the supernatural, the ghosts, and the metaphysical, so they removed that aspect entirely and all of Sadako's film incarnations are 100% female. The novels aimed more for the Body Horror route, so that little tidbit about Sadako is crucial to the entire thing. Incidentally, she never does angst about it. She has... higher goals in mind, and sees it as an advantage in Spiral and Loop.
  • So... what would happen if someone uploaded Samara's video to YouTube?
    • xkcd did it.
      • Right. But the result would be...?
      • This is It Just Bugs Me!. You are supposed to ask in the Mass Speculation page.
      • This bugs me; how the hell does she do it? Where the heck does her power come from? Is she the only eldritch thing in the world, and if not, why is there no defense against her? What's with the tendency of horror movies in general to make their villain a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere?
      • This is answered obliquely by the second novel, where the curse has spread to novels, TV series, and film adaptations of the Asakawa Report. Basically, anyone who watches, reads, or even listens to media derived from The Tape is every bit as cursed as one who has watched The Tape itself. And the uploader wouldn't be safe from the curse, anyhow, since the tried-and-true method of copying the tape in the films doesn't work as well in the novels. Yeah, the world is doomed. It would simply happen a LOT faster than it did at the end of Spiral.
      • Hold, on... I watched it on YouTube like a year ago. Does that mean... I've been dead the whole time?! Damn! No wonder my boyfriend freaked out when I trashed his house after he'd been ignoring me for a month.
      • Welcome to Purgatory.
  • Ok, the book's general use of bad biology in the original books, especially the ways in which smallpox is involved. It would be much less of a wallbanger just to say that A Wizard Did It (which is probably why both movies take this approach).
    • Considering that Sadako is said to have genetically modified the smallpox virus with her Psychic Powers, doesn't that pretty much say "A Wizard Did It"?
  • In the second of the American films, The Ring Two, Rachel and Sarah move house, move home, to a smaller town and all. The film opens with them picking up new furniture. Why do they have a TV with a VCR? After everything they've been through, all of it, they'd move home, and have a TV and VCR in their new house? At all?
  • In the American movie. Keep making tapes to share her story? Um, how are other people expected to gather the information about her that you found on their own, lady? Not every has access to fancy news devices to read stuff found just off the tape's screen. Not everyone's going to know to look through piles and piles of old local news papers. They can't exactly find out about Samara's past because her dad is sort of dead now. She could atleast tack on a stickie note giving the basic gist of it to the next poor sucker she's giving a death sentence to.
    • Rachel thought that Samara wanted her story told, and it's fairly likely that she (as a reporter investigating the case) would've gotten word out on the newspaper and such. But when she realized that Samara's goal was to kill everyone, that whole "share her story" thing became moot and the game became one of survival. Hence the copying of the tape. She couldn't care less what happened to the poor schmucks who came after.
  • An AIS woman cannot impregnate herself, and neither would she have visible testicles. AIS women have vaginas, but no wombs, fallopian tubes, or ovaries, and therefore cannot bear children; and although they have testes instead of ovaries, there is no external evidence of the difference - their gonads stay undescended, tucked up inside their lower bodies like ovaries. Basically, the entire idea of book-Sadako's "hermaphroditic" ability to self-impregnate, not to mention the idea of the doctor who raped her discovering her condition by finding physical evidence of a scrotum/testicles, is the purest case of research failure.
    • That depends. Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome is a spectrum ranging from a woman with no uterus and testes instead of ovaries to a man with low sperm count. If she had complete AIS, the books would be a wallbanger, but it is entirely likely she had an incomplete form of the condition (the description seems to be pretty clear that she had only partial AIS, and the condition itself is poorly explained in the book). After being resurrected, however, she deliberately altered her biology into that of a self-impregnating hermaphrodite, and did not have this ability previously (thus fulfilling her desire to reproduce... herself, again and again).
    • Or, more simply, A Wizard Did It.
  • Why did Samara possess Aiden? Couldn't she have picked a comatose girl or something? Growing up in a male body would be awkward, even if you are a Yandere Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl, wouldn't it?
    • Samara wants Rachel to love her, and only her. Possessing a random girl would mean a) getting away from, or getting rid of the girl's own family, b) finding Rachel all over again, and c) sharing Mommy time with Aiden. While she could probably do A easily enough with her Psychic Powers, it's an unnecessary hassle, what with Aiden being right there. And possessing him means Rachel can't leave him behind, either. She didn't plan on being discovered, after all, so as far as she was concerned Rachel would still be a loving Mommy to her "son" and everyone would be happy. Plus, he had already come under her influence once. Maybe the only reason she was able to possess a living creature was because he had watched the Tape and become susceptible to her powers in the first place.
  • This one is about Ringu 2. While the whole film is kind of a contrived mess, three points really stuck out to me. When did Mai develop psychic powers? What exactly does water have to do with breaking the curse? The whole weird science thing in general didn't make much sense. Also, Yoichi getting angry summons Sadako. How? Why is this never explained?
  • I have a few problems with the opening scene of the remake. Was the tape created when Katie and her friends were at the cabin? The beginning of the film seems to imply this, with Katie saying "We tried to record the football game, but when we played it, it wasn't there. It was something else." But then how come her friend Becca had already heard the story? She's the one who starts the conversation about the tape. If those kids at the cabin really were the first to see it, then at that point no one had even died yet. So how could Becca know about the curse? In a similar vein, when Katie realizes what Becca is talking about, she acts shocked and scared, realizing the story is about the tape she's seen. Then a minute later, it turns out she was only joking. But as we find out, the kids really did watch the tape in question, so why wasn't she more concerned?
  • What happened if someone spliced the cursed video with some other video. Imagine if not only were you cursed, but got Rickrolled as well.
  • If an infant were to watch the video, would it get cursed too, or would it be too young to even register the material in the first place?
  • What happens if the victim watching the video was blind and deaf? Would they still get cursed because the video got them to see and hear it through supernatural means?
  • If you were to take every single cursed video tape and show them to one person simultaneously, would they get quadrupal cursed?
  • So Aiden apparently knew ahead of time that helping Samara was NOT the right thing to do—hence his What the Hell, Hero? reaction. So why did he keep that simple fact to himself until after the fact?
    • From his reaction, it seemed like he didn't expect anyone to assume anything but the same as he did.
  • You watch the video but have no phone. What happens? FB message? What if you're not in any kind of social network? Postcard?
  • You watch the video in another country. Does she reverse the charges or is she kind enough to pay for the international call?
  • What if several people watch the video at the same time and are in the same room when they hit the deadline? Does Sadako/Samara kill them sequentially or duplicate herself so she can kill them simultaneously? Does the number of TV sets in the room have any effect (e.g. two people who will die are in the room which has two televisions, will she come out of both)? What if they are in different places when their time comes? Can Sadako/Samara kill them all at the same time? If she can appear in multiple places simultaneously, what if one of her clones gets "killed"? Does it affect the rest?
  • She is after you. You surprise her from behind and throw a bucket of water on her because she is hydrophobic (in the American version). Will she be scared to "death"?


TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy