Ring Around the Rosie
directed by Rubi Zack
(Sony, 2006)

An hour into Ring Around the Rosie, I was wondering why in the name of H.P. Lovecraft so many reviewers trashed this movie. It is genuinely creepy, suspenseful, disturbing in an I-haven't-figured-it-out-yet-but-I-have-some-ideas kind of way, and building up to something quite possibly momentous. Very soon thereafter, though, the story suddenly becomes way too disjointed and tumbles into several what-the-heck-just-happened moments. That most definitely is a problem, and I can see how some viewers would begin to turn on the film at that point. I can also see how the ending leaves some people feeling as if the movie just gave them the finger.

Still, speaking as a horror veteran who has seen it all (or at least most of it), I think Ring Around the Rosie rises to the occasion much more often than it falls into cliches. If this had been released 10 years ago, it would certainly have generated more cheers than jeers.

We horror fans are incredibly fortunate to have Gina Philips working in our genre; I would watch this gorgeous woman in anything at all, and I'm so thankful I don't have to suffer through sugary romances or chick flicks to bathe in her beauty. I think she's even sexier when she's scared -- and her character, Karin, is scared quite a lot during Rosie. The fact that she already suffers from strange nightmares does not bode well when Karin inherits the country house where she and her sister used to spend their summers. She and her boyfriend head out to begin packing things up and getting the house ready to sell. It's soon obvious that something just isn't right, with a lot of the mystery seemingly associated with a mysterious closet door. Despite some unsettling experiences in the house, though, her boyfriend leaves her there -- out in the middle of the country with no transportation -- for several days. That's when she meets Pierce (Tom Sizemore), a strange fellow who has been looking after the place. Things soon progress from weird noises and nightmares to unexplainable occurrences and real danger -- a trend that continues after Karen's sister Wendy (Jenny Mollen) shows up a few days later.

It wouldn't be appropriate for me to describe the kind of things that happen as this film moves along its singularly unique track. I can say that the story takes on an atmosphere of increasing creepiness and suspense, though. I actually think the ending is pretty effective, and some viewers won't see it coming -- heck, even I was surprised by certain elements of it. The only problem I have with the film is the way it rushes through a few scenes without really tying them together -- like the director forgot to remove some deleted scenes. In a way, though, this disjointed sense of the later action works in concert with the story's idiosyncratic nature.

Obviously, I can't guarantee you will enjoy this film as much as I did. If you think every film is supposed to explain every single plot element to you at the end, chances are you won't regard this film too highly. This isn't an episode of Scooby Doo. Personally, I like and appreciate the odd horror film that doesn't spell every plot element out for me in the end. One's own imagination is a much more effective storyteller than any Hollywood scriptwriter, so what's wrong with a film leaving a few things open to your own interpretation? This film does make sense, but it doesn't cater to your every whim or leave time for questions and answers during the end credits. To some viewers, that's a bad thing, but I find it rather refreshing.

by Daniel Jolley
30 September 2006

Buy it from Amazon.com.