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Reiko Asakawa is researching into a 'Cursed Video' interviewing teenagers about it. When her niece Tomoko dies of 'sudden heart failure' with an unnaturally horrified expression on her face, Reiko investigates. She finds out that some of Tomoko's friends, who had been on a holiday with Tomoko the week before, had died on exactly the same night at the exact same time in the exact same way. Reiko goes to the cabin where the teens had stayed and finds an 'unlabeled' video tape. Reiko watched the tape to discover to her horror it is in fact the 'cursed videotape'. Ex-Husband Ryuji helps Reiko solve the mystery, Reiko makes him a copy for further investigation. Things become more tense when their son Yoichi watches the tape saying Tomoko had told him to. Their discovery takes them to a volcanic island where they discover that the video has a connection to a psychic who died 30 years ago, and her child Sadako... Written by
Hana Jo Gilmour
Ringu is an unassuming little movie that my boyfriend and I rented from the local DVD store knowing little about it other than it had inspired a recent Hollywood remake.
The first thing which accosts you when watching this film, is it's lo-fi documentary-style reality. Ringu has the look and feel production wise of a TV movie, but this only adds to the objective of it, to terrify.
The story unfolds of an everyday Japanese single mother, the backdrop is nothing unusual but this is required as the bizarre begins to unravel before the eyes of the watcher. The woman has a child whom appears to be a strange little boy, and in many ways he parents her in her hectic schedule. Her ex husband is an amiable fellow, though he has an annoying quality to any female whom observes him which one assumes is the reason for the couple's politely handled split.
The story takes a turn for the more macabre when a videotape emerges which is shrouded in urban myth. The short synopsis is you watch the tape and die within seven days of doing so. A group of teenagers inexplicably die, one of which is the niece of our leading lady. Being the plucky reporter that she is, she begins to investigate the eerie tape initially by watching it herself and embroiling her ex in this grim fairytale by seeking his counsel, on technical matters relating to the tape itself. The two find themselves in a race against time to discover the secret of the tape when their son watches a copy that was made.
The bogeyman of this psychologically rattling outing, is Sada- a child or a demon?, perhaps a freak of nature? No answer is given and the viewer is left to their own conclusion and speculation. This reliance upon the viewers observational conclusion is what makes Ringu a truly adult horror movie above all others, we are not told what to think or moralised. Ringu simply displays the evidence on the nature of Sada, and leaves you to suppose whether she is a tortured victim cast from society, or simply a demon and nothing more.
If the objective of any horror movie is to scare, then Ringu succeeds with flying colours. Everything about this movie is genuinely disturbing and unsettling. From the mythology of the tale to the ghastly contorted faces of the corpses that Sada, the demon of the story leaves in her wake.
The grainy gritty production plays and builds upon anybody who dares to watch. The bittersweet relationship between the two leads encourages us to care about them and their plight. The story piques the curious child in all of us, and dares us to look when we should not, and tamper with things that are beyond our understanding.
The absolutely heart ripping and bone chilling climax to this movie is unmissable. You will not be able to stop watching, but be wishing that you could rip out your eyes simultaneously!
This movie is a quiet and unpretentious if imaginative little piece from Japan, which displays something that Hollywood has lacked in the horror genre in many years. The director has a true innate gift for knowing exactly what it is that we can not put our finger on that horrifies the human mind. This film is very Japanese, and I cannot imagine it doing well when converted to Hollywood form.
Ringu is a movie made to be watched on your TV at home, exactly the way I did renting the DVD from your local store. This plays upon the very nature of the story. The TV is something we all think of as safe, it's in all our homes, and it is exactly this that adds such an overtone of terror to this particular film
As an additional note, my boyfriend was flicking through the extra features on the DVD and came across the cursed video clip, and proceeded to watch it. I couldn't, I left the room. This fact serves as the best conclusion that I can muster as to the brilliance of Ringu. It is not to be missed, but do not watch it alone!
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