THE RING: Starring Naomi Watts, Martin Hernderson, David Dorfman, Brian Cox. Director: Gore Verbinski.

Chilling urban myth is the premise for this remake of the eerie Japanese hit Ringu.

For once, a Hollywood makeover doesn’t mean slapping an expensive yet disfiguring gloss over the proceedings. The director’s name may be Gore, but he’s resisted any impulse to create a bloodbath., retaining the atmospheric, psychological chills of the original (although there is a rotting corpse along the way).

A grisly death intrigues Naomi Watts, investigative reporter, and draws her deeper into legend of a deadly videotape. Once seen, this nightmarish vision gives its viewer seven days to live. Not even instant death, but the sweaty, unsettling realisation that it’s coming.

It’s a film with dark depths, with a constant troubled feeling lurking just beneath the surface. Even Brian Cox’s cameo evokes memories of his disturbing turn as Hannibal Lector in Manhunter.

A clever, frightening movie.

MOONLIGHT MILE: Starring Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon, Holly Hunter. Director: Brad Silberling.

A change of pace from the scares or superheroes in many of the films this week, Moonlight Mile looks at loss and life with a top cast giving it their all.

When his fiancee is killed in a restaurant shooting, Joe Nast has to come to terms with his feelings while living with her parents.

The film follows the trio as they struggle to deal with the loss. Dustin Hoffman as the father throws himself into real estate work, while mother Susan Sarandon endures writer’s block with outbrusts of sarcastic wit.

Joe himself (played by Jake Cyllenhaal) has to wrestle with his conscience – should he tell the grieving parents that he and his girlfriend broke up on the day of the shooting? And how can he be falling for another girl already?

It does grow a little too syruppy, with helpful resolutions for all concerned. But drawn from the writer/director’s own experiences (his girlfriend was murdered by an obsessed fan), it provides some poignant bittersweet scenes.

Also showing

DAREDEVIL: Starring Ben Affleck, Colin Farrell, Jennifer Garner, Jon Favreau. Director: Mark Steven Johnson.

Another costumed crusader takes the leap from comic books to the silver screen. Ben Affleck plays the driven Matt Murdock, who works as a lawyer by day (but a champion of the downtrodden, nice kind of lawyer) and then dishes out vigilante justice at night.

Dressed in red, he’s the acrobatic ‘Man Without Fear’, scourge of bad guys on the mean streets of Hell’s Kitchen in New York. And he’s blind, after a childhood accident robbed him of his sight, but boosted his other senses to superhuman levels.

Martial arts action and a darker, grittier urban feel than your average superhero make for an enjoyable, if undemanding, film.

There’s even ‘acting flavour of the month’ and former Brittany beau Colin Farrell, hamming it up as assassin Bulleye, a man with amazing aim who can fashion a weapon out of a paperclip, working for criminal mastermind The Kingpin. Good fun.

Mark Miseldine