Out of all my senses, my hearing is most prone to tipping off the rails of the rational. Ring places me in absolute pitch black, rendering me immediately aware of how sound is so often stabilised within the frame of reality by vision, and in absence of all light, the objects of my hearing are pitched into an ominous, ever-escalating conversation with the most bleak and paranoid recesses of my own imagination. It doesn’t take much to conjure a state of unease, and while Ring could have opted for some explicit, instant scares – sudden eruptions of volume, icy screams – it leaves my mind to do much of the work, leaving sinister thoughts to erupt like fireworks fed by the smallest sparks of implication.
After all, the brilliance of Ring is that it never strays too far into fantasy, extending its limbs beyond the material membrane without shattering the plausibility of the situation. Did I really just hear all of the other chairs in the room move back to form a ring around the edge, leaving me alone in the centre? Is there actually a throb of low frequency eating at my right ear, or is my own mind re-positioning my heartbeat like a deft ventriloquist? Is there just the slightest pulse of light up near the ceiling, or have I subconsciously placed it there in a desperate thirst for audio/visual synchronicity? I find myself in a meeting (a cult perhaps?), in which memories and imaginary scenarios are shared, questions are asked; situations escalate and statements are misinterpreted. I’m a murderer – hypothetically, but then the accusations start to feel quite real, and while I’m adored by everyone present, I’m also to blame for everything that haunts and hurts them. The darkness turns me to putty, and not only does sound reshape my perception of reality in the present tense, but it also implants my own memory with doubt and falsity. Disturbingly intrusive.