Here comes the fear. An unmarked videotape is circulating in Seattle. Seven days after you watch it, you die - face frozen in a rictus of terror.
Grabs the attention, dunnit?
Presumably that's why the dollar-spying honchos at DreamWorks tapped Japanese hit "Ringu" for this surprising remake - surprising, in that it's not terrible.
As with the 1998 original, a reporter investigates the tape, spurred on by the mysterious death of her niece - who carks it in a creepy opening scene.
But once Rachel (the excellent Naomi Watts) tracks down the offending VHS, she can't resist taking a peek. She soon begins to fear that curiosity kills more than just cats.
Central to the success of "The Ring" - such as it is - is the tape itself, with its blend of gruesome and eerie images - including an impaled finger, haunted woman, and the titular vision itself.
It's effectively disturbing stuff and the troubling pictures don't stop there. Gore Verbinski creates beautifully-composed pictures of unpleasantness throughout - moments that sneak around the memory for days after viewing.
The problem is that moments is all they are - stylish snapshots diminished by the soggy script, which only differs from its (overrated) antecedent by introducing mostly boring backstory.
Even the appearance of the ever-menacing Brian Cox can't justify the extended exposition, which makes the movie feel overlong, although it's under two hours.
Still, those looking for a few Friday night chills won't be disappointed, while high-minded horror fans can feel smug as they spot the fear of family and film subtext.
"The Ring" may not be worth rewinding, but scare-seekers should give it a play.