After the strange death of her niece, a reporter (Watts) investigates an urban legend about a cursed videotape where the viewer suddenly dies seven days after watching it. Based on the seminal Japanese horror hit RINGU.
Rachel, a single mom, is a reporter for a local paper in Seattle, Washington, and is struggling to balance work and her son, Aidan. One night, Rachel's niece, Katie, is found dead and her friend, the only other person in the house, is found with an extreme case of shock and is ultimately committed to a mental hospital. When doctors are unable to pinpoint an exact cause of death and Rachel's sister asks her to discover what really happened, Rachel's curiosity is piqued. As Rachel begins in an investigation into what really killed her niece, she discovers that Katie's boyfriend also died on the same night. Rachel also learns about a videotape that supposedly kills you seven days after you watch it. After learning that two more teens died the same night at the same time under mysterious circumstances, Rachel is able to track her niece's actions to a remote inn, where Katie and the other kids had snuck away a week before their deaths.
Rachel drives to the inn to investigate. When she gets to the cabin, she discovers a mysterious video cassette tape with no label, which she decides to watch. Immediately after the video ends, Rachel receives a call saying she has seven days. Now, Rachel is racing against time as she must discover the secret of the tape before she runs out of time. Her journey leads her to a small island and into the history of a family with dark past. Just as Rachel begins to put the pieces together, her mission becomes even more urgent when her son accidentally watches the same tape.
The Ring was based on a Japanese novel by Koji Suzuki (Ring) and a Japanese film based on the same novel Ringu. It was one of the first and most successful in a series of American remakes of Japanese films, which included: Dark Water, The Grudge, The Eye, and One Missed Call.