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How to watch all ‘The Ring’ movies in order

You have seven days to binge-watch every 'Ring' film or Samara Morgan will come for you.

Samara from The Ring
Image via Dreamworks

The Ring, romanized in Japanese as Ringu, evolved into a multi-million dollar cinematic franchise from a novel series of the same name by Koji Suzuki. Although the entire franchise consists of eight Japanese films, those various remakes, spin-offs, and sequels are hard to find outside of Japan, so the United States is more familiar with its 2002 remake and subsequent sequels.

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What is The Ring franchise?

A woman is seen in a white gown in The Ring.
Image via Dreamworks Pictures

Suzuki’s novel debuted in 1991 and spawned five more installments in Spiral (1995), Loop (1998), Birthday (1999), S (2012), and Tide (2013). Further print publications include seven comic books that were released alongside the novels. Along with the Japanese film collection and printed works, Suzuki’s supernatural horror franchise comprises two television series, three English-language film remakes, a Korean film remake, and two video games: The Ring: Terror’s Realm, and Ring: Infinity.

Japanese Films:

  • Ring (1998)
  • Ring 2 (1999)
  • Ring 0: Birthday (2000)
  • Sadako 3D (2012)
  • Sadako 3D 2 (2013)
  • Sadako vs. Kayoko (2016)
  • Sadoka KOL (2019)
  • Sadoko DX (2022)

However, many American viewers might be more familiar with the equally terrifying remake. Directed by Gore Verbinski, the US version of The Ring follows journalist Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts), who investigates a videotape that had allegedly killed four teenagers (including her niece). There is an urban legend surrounding the tape that prophesies the viewer will die seven days after watching it.

Unbeknownst to Rachel until later on in the film, the curse originates from Sadako Yamamura (renamed Samara Morgan in the American remakes), a vengeful ghost capable of nensha (thoughtography), which she uses as a means to kill whoever views the videotape.

For convenience to binge-watchers and horror junkies everywhere, here are all the American Ring movies in order.

The Ring (2002)

Samara Morgan from The Ring is looking straight ahead.
Image via Dreamworks Pictures

The Ring (2002) kick-started the American film franchise with Naomi Watt’s Rachel, a Seattle investigative journalist who experiences the effects of the cursed videotape first-hand when her niece, Katie (Amber Tamblyn), dies a week after watching it with her friends.

When asked to uncover the exact cause of Katie’s death, Rachel visits the Shelter Mountain Inn, the location in which Katie and her friends viewed the tape. After watching it, Rachel faces impending death and begins to see images from the tape superimposed in her environment. She learns about Samara Morgan, the adopted daughter of Anna Morgan, a horse breeder, who can psychically etch images onto objects and into people’s minds.

Theatrically released on October 18, 2002, The Ring received positive reviews with particular praise for its atmosphere and visuals as well as Watt’s performance. It went on to become one of the highest-grossing horror remakes ever made. The Ring turned out to be so influential that it inspired American remakes of other Asian horror films, such as The GrudgeDark WaterShutter, and The Eye.

This inaugural film can be streamed on Fubo, MGM+, Paramount+, and Roku. It can be rented and bought on Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, Apple TV, Vudu, Microsoft, RedBox, DirectTV, and Spectrum.

Rings (2005)

Alexandra Breckenridge and Ryan Merriman in the Rings Short Film.
Image via Dreamworks Pictures

While it isn’t entirely necessary to watch Rings (2005) chronologically with the other three films, the events in the American-made short film flesh out some further details about the overarching concept that leads nicely into The Ring Two. Interestingly, Rings is included as a bonus feature on The Ring Two‘s DVD, so it’s safe to assume that the short film correlates with canon and continuity.

Sometime after The Ring, Samara Morgan’s cursed videotape has gone viral; each time someone watches it, they make a copy and share it around, and then the cycle continues. From the soaring popularity of the videotape, a subculture has formed wherein people test the seven-day deadline and see how close they can get before chickening out and passing the tape along. Online groups dedicated to the phenomenon are called “rings,” one of which recruits Jake Pierce (Ryan Merriman) to document his experiences after agreeing to take the challenge.

Rings is available to stream on Fubo, Paramount+, Showtime, and DirectTV. It is also available to rent and purchase on Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, Vudu, Redbox, DirectTV, and Spectrum.

The Ring Two (2005)

Samara Morgan from The Ring Two
Image via Dreamworks Pictures

The Ring Two is a direct sequel to The Ring (2002). Hideo Nakata, the director of the original Japanese Ring (1988), helmed the project in place of Gore Verbinski. Set six months after the events of The Ring and immediately after Rings, the cursed videotape has circulated as far as Astoria, Oregon. Jake Pierce (Ryan Merriman) is on his seventh day, so he asks his friend, Emily (Emily VanCamp) to watch the tape. Shortly thereafter, Rachel (Watts) obtains the tape and destroys it, but Samara Morgan – the ghost who cursed the footage — pursues Rachel and her son, Aidan, whom she tries to possess.

Unlike its predecessor, The Ring Two was received negatively by critics despite grossing US$35 million during its opening weekend, which more than doubles the opening weekend of The Ring. Although its domestic gross total was significantly less than the original, it earned a total gross of $163 million internationally.

The Ring Two can be streamed on Fubo, Paramount+, Showtime, and DirectTV. It is also available to rent and purchase on Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, Vudu, Redbox, DirectTV, and Spectrum.

Rings (2017)

Samara Morgan from Rings
Image via Paramount Pictures

Not to be confused with the 2005 short film of the same name, Rings rounds out the trilogy with F. Javier Gutiérrez serving as director. It was based on the Spiral novel by Kōji Suzuki. Originally, Paramount Pictures had planned a third film to be titled The Ring 3D in early 2014, but once Gutiérrez came on board, plans changed.

Written by David Loucka, Jacob Aaron Estes, and Akiva Goldsman, Rings stars Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki, Aimee Teegarden, Bonnie Morgan, and Vincent D’Onofrio.

Lutz portrays Julia, a young woman who becomes worried about her boyfriend Holt (Roe) when he explores the “rings” subculture that challenges members to watch Samara Morgan’s cursed videotape. Julia sacrifices herself to save Holt, but in doing so, she makes a horrifying discovery. Released in February 2017, Rings opened at #2 at the box office and grossed $83 million worldwide, despite being critically panned.

This film is currently not available to stream but can be bought or rented on a number of platforms. These include Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, Apple TV, Vudu, Redbox, and Microsoft.

Could there be more Ring films in the future?

According to Bloody Disgusting, The Grudge director Nicolas Pesce expressed interest in a crossover film between The Grudge and the English-language The Ring film series in September 2019. This would be similar to the 2016 Japanese film Sadako vs. Kayako, which pitted the icons of the original Japanese franchises together.

Although three years have passed since then, the window of opportunity remains open for a crossover between two very similar yet distinctive horror icons.