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Rumours abound about a video tape that, once you watch it you have a week
before you die. When a relative dies in a way that suggests she saw the
video, journalist Reiko tracks down the tape and recklessly watches it. She
finds she is under the curse and shows it to her ex-husband to get his help.
When her son watches the tape Reiko and Ryuji race against time to discover
the meaning behind the curse to be able to lift it.
I came to this only knowing the hype and the barest bits of the story. I knew it was meant to be scary and I wasn't disappointed. The plot is good in it's one word description but there are a few holes in it and something's aren't well explained. However it is a good story to follow as it is a form of a ghost hunt as they try to unravel the mystery. The whole thing has an air of uneasiness about it.
The film has some very scary moments especially the ending which I won't even hint at. However for the most part it is just plain creepy which is even worse. There's no blood or gore just a real sense of being uncomfortable. The director has seen teen horrors before so he teases us he has shots of people with doors just over their shoulder, or the TV lingering in the rear of the shot knowing that we are conditioned to expect something to jump out but then nothing does. Instead the scares come slowly and blatantly really not being shocking but just making your skin crawl.
The acting is superb all round although Sanada is a little stony at times but he gets better. The real star is the director who uses music and sound effects to get the eerie effect but also uses images that are weird to just creep out the whole film. I hope Hollywood directors learn what can be done with subtly rather than multimillion pound monsters or effects.
I have said before that Fire Walk With Me was one of the creepiest films I've seen. And that was for the same reason, just making me feel uncomfortable and unnerved. Here this little gem takes that to a whole new level.
This is a superb horror film. There's something about this film which
gets under your skin, into your nervous system, and then it turns out
the lights and creeps maliciously into your brain. The film has few
jump-out-of-your-seat moments, and minimal violence, but as the plot
develops the atmosphere becomes almost unbearably sinister and
unpleasant. The climax of this film is one of the most frightening
scenes in the history of cinema, and is guaranteed to turn your bones
to jelly and leave you a quivering dribbling psychological mess.
Forget the pointless Hollywood remake, go and see this film today! There are no cheap tricks here, no melodrama, just poker-faced top performances from the cast, and some genuinely unsettling dark ideas which will bubble away in your subconscious for years to come.
Has anyone rented out the Exorcist or the Wicker Man after being told
how unbelievably scary they are, only to be disappointed by the
Exorcist and completely disappointed by the totally un-scary Wicker
Well then, rent out Ring. If you can sit through this film without a feeling of eeriness and not crack up at the final scene, then you must be some form of superhuman.
Everything about this film is excellent. You are uneased by the surreal imagery on the infamous video tape and the atmosphere produced by the film getting your nerves ready for the final insomnia inducing final scene.
Other Recommendations: Dark Water, Ring 2.
While I realize that it might simply be that I am an american with no
knowledge of the japanese language beyond "Mushi, Mushi" and "Arigato" but I
simply did not think this movie is as good as it is hyped up to be. In fact,
(oh god save me) I enjoyed the American version of the movie more so than
this one. Perhaps it was due to cultural differences that I simply couldn't
'get' this movie but I'm somehow don't think so.
"Ringu" simply did not draw me in and make me really believe in what the characters were doing. Like many Japanese movies, I simply could not accept that the character would really do what they were doing; it just didn't make sense to me that these people would go running around Japan trying to discover the mystery of the 'video' based on some people dying. The american version seemed to give characters some extra motivation to go in search of the truth, with unexplained supernatural events, scary dreams, etc. Perhaps its a testament to Japanese work ethic or American laziness but I just thought there wasn't enough to back up the characters actions.
I realize it might somehow be hip to say that you enjoy foreign films more than their domestic counterparts and insult the Hollywood 'money machine' and decry the end of american cinema but I simply can't do it with this movie. The ultimate and final test to determine whether a horror movie is good is of course whether or not you are scared. And I can say that the american version of "The Ring" made me ruin a perfectly good pair of underpants whereas the Japanese version made me jump maybe twice and laugh once.
The main problem this poses is which movie do you see first because seeing either film will ruin the ending of the other. And so not to take anything away from "Ringu" (which is, in and of itself a great movie), I can honestly tell you that you should see the American version first... and bring an extra pair of underpants.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If you were wondering what the difference between Ringu and The Ring is, I 'll try to sum it up for you. You remember that TV series adaption of Stephen King's "IT"? Ringu is a lot like that. There is a lot of reflection scares and horror-mystery elements, but it has such a weak pay off. With the American version, you get significantly better scares and death scenes. I would have been okay with the classic "scream then cut to next scene", but the black and white-invert color thing, too? Any respect or immersion I had was ANNIHILATED by those scenes! I laughed at the death scenes! Those scenes made Ringu is a complete and utter failure of a horror movie! I would still recommend watching it if only to see the original Japanese version, but that's only justification I could give. To be honest, I didn't find the American version all that good either. A tape that takes 7 days to kill you is just not that threatening to me. Now if Sadako were "Final Destination"-ing people near immediately after they viewed the tape, THAT would have been glorious!
After hearing so much about this movie I finally was able to buy a
copy...and I was NOT disappointed. What a horror rush! I watched while
I was alone one night and had to turn on all the lights in the house
when the movie was over...and I am a horror movie nut from way back;
I'm not an easy scare. Sadako is one frightening character. I'm in
complete agreement with those who say this film actually is better on
the small screen: it is an intimate film and being closer to the screen
actually adds to the intensity.
I won't rehash the storyline since so many others have already done so. I will just say that there is one scene in this movie that will imprint on your brain for the rest of your life. The whole film is wonderful...a great exercise in tension and anxiety.
Hideo Nakata's 'Ring' is a masterpiece of the genre. Without a doubt, this
is the scariest film ever made. It also marks the only time in my entire
life when, upon finishing the film, I rewound the tape and WATCHED IT
without moving a muscle! This was partially because of how much I loved
and mostly because I couldn't have slept anyway!
Watch this along with 'Ring 2' and 'Ring 0' before seeing the crappy american version, as the remake contains elements (and scenes) from those two films as well.
I also feel that anyone who likes the american remake more than the japanese original should not be allowed to have opinions about anything. Not politics, religion, movies, restaraunts, parking spaces..... NOTHING! Shun these idiots like lepers. Or just pity them...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Ring was such a sensation on release that it led to a cycle of Japanese
horror films. This Japanese invasion became known as J-Horror and they
had quite an impact. Ring is a perfect example of why these movies were
so effective. The cultural difference between the West and Japan meant
that these films seemed somewhat unpredictable; some of the horror
concepts and imagery were genuinely unsettling. We in the West could
never have conceived of these ideas, they grew organically from
Japanese culture. The unknown is often the scariest thing of all and
the success of J-Horror is a perfect illustration of this.
The basic idea of Ring is a clever combination of the traditional Japanese ghost story with modern Japanese technology. In it, a strange videotape curses anyone who views it, resulting in a terrifying death exactly a week later. It's an extremely creepy film that is truly unnerving at times. The pacing is very deliberate as we are taken through to the unforgettable final act. It's all about mood and atmosphere. It's quite economic with its shocks, relying more on mystery and growing tension. The key to the puzzle lies in the enigmatic weird video at the heart of the story. This bizarre short film leads the protagonists on a journey to discover the sinister secrets that underpin it. Strange details surround those who view the tape, such as the fact that their images in photographs become disturbingly warped. It's a highly effective central idea for a horror film.
The visual presentation is very good, with some excellent cinematography. The sound design also works extremely well with the imagery on screen, adding to the ominous tone perfectly. On top of this there is good characterisation, which helps a great deal in giving the story an effective psychological edge. The husband and wife team are well played and believable; this makes their urgency in solving the mystery all the more pertinent. But nothing, I repeat nothing, can prepare a viewer adequately for Ring's one moment of true genius. Everybody who is reading this must surely know what I am about to refer to. I mean, of course, the moment when Sadako crawls out of the television screen. This must go down in the history of horror cinema as one of the most audacious and terrifying moments ever conceived. It's quite brilliant in concept and execution. The film may have been relatively subtle up to this point but after this scene perceptions of Ring suddenly and jarringly change. It's worth watching the movie for this scene alone.
It was remade in America to much lesser effect as The Ring in 2002.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If you have NOT seen "The Ring" (American) then I urge you to see this
one first. Not because this version is "better"--actually, the American
version is superior in my opinion. In fact, I gave "Ring" the score I
did ONLY because of the originality and suspense of the plot line and
the quality of (most) of the acting. The execution of the plot line,
however, was completely and utterly ruined right in the middle. Right
when the ex-husband OMG SUDDENLY HAS AMAZING PSYCHIC POWERS and KNOWS
ALL. Can you say, "lazy scriptwriting leads to completely
anti-climactic deus ex machina?" I knew you could. I think it also
lacked in subconscious imagery to play up the creepiness and sense of
dread. Some fans call this "realism" but for crying out loud, this is a
ghost story and there is no realism in ghost stories! I will say,
though, that the use of ancient legend and certain real historical
elements lent it a very "shivery" flavor and that worked well with the
It's definitely worth watching though.
Ringu (undubbed of course) was the scariest horror movie I've seen for
very long. While "The Excorsist" was entertaining and nice, and "the
Shining" was both hilarious (Jack Nicholsson) and effective, no horror
movie I've ever seen has been as unsettling as Ringu.
Nothing much happens compared to a western horror piece, where the director often spends a lot of time explaining and making things dumber for the broad audience, and squeezing in as much scary stuff as he can within the time frame. Ringu let's you think and make assumptions yourself, and doesn't assault your eyes with jump-scenes. Even though I had a rough picture of the plot, it was very tense and I was on the edge of my seat all the way to the climax.
The climax was nearly unbearable to watch, not only because it was scary, but because the mood had built up to that one scene. It was masterful. The actors where good even though I cannot really compare since I don't watch a lot of Japanese movies.
The movie is worth seeing, but not if you've seen "the Ring" first. Sorry, but this movie is spoiled for you if that's the case. To all others, I recommend this movie. It's scarier than any other movies that has come out since then.
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