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When it comes to horror films, no film has had the effect that Hideo
Nakata's psychological thriller Ringu has had on me. No film has ever
creeped me out the way Ringu did. Never have I felt such a thick,
unbearable tension then when I first watched Ringu. And never has a
film made me sleep with the lights on. To this day, after viewing the
film several times, Ringu still gets under my skin, with it's bizarre
imagery, slow burn pacing, and ultimately the most terrifying force
ever seen in a horror film: Sadako Yamamura.
The plot revolves around a mysterious urban legend too silly to be true. A strange video tape promises death to anyone who views it. Once viewed, victims have one final week. Reporter Reiko Asakawa(Nanako Matsushima) thinks it nothing but a silly story; that is until her cousin, young Tomoko(Yuko Takeuchi) and three other young students die simultaneously one night, a week after watching the tape. Reiko comes to possess the tape, and watches it herself. Now, with the help of her ex husband Ryuji Takayama(Hiroyuki Sanada), who has also viewed the tape, Reiko has only seven days to save herself from an inevitable death, and protect all that she loves from a powerful evil.
Where Ringu strikes its audience the hardest is not with a gratuitous amount of quick cuts, ample jump scenes, or gory images It is all in the slow pace, the feeling of inevitable doom drawing near, for with each passing day, the characters are closer and closer to their final breath. The fear that the characters experience is shared with the audience, as the evil of the tape presses down harder, and harder, and harder. As the film progresses, questions are answered, but more are raised, and the super natural world and the physical world begin to collide. Watching Ringu is comparable to digging a pit, looking for answers, with no where to go but down, knowing full well that time is running out, and that giving up may be for the best.
Director Hideo Nakata films Ringu is quite a simplistic, low key way, focusing on the mystery of the video and our protagonists quest more so than fancy visuals and cool images. Ringu looks very, ordinary, in most scenes. Filmed in such a way, the paranormal, downright disturbing episodes are exceptionally distressing and shocking, as they seem completely random and unparalleled to reality. And that's the beauty of it. Even during bright, outside scenes, the audience is never left to feel safe, for what is around the next corner remains unknown. The audience never feels safe. There is one scene in particular, the basics of which I will not discuss here, filmed entirely in grainy black-and-white, bringing all to the heart of the nightmare, and grabbing the audience at a rather unsuspecting moment. It is one of the scariest scenes in the entire film. And thats saying something. I also love Nakata's play on water and darkness, two themes that prevail throughout the film.
The character of Sadako in this film is an absolute force- pure, monstrous evil. She lures victims, plays with them, keeps them guessing. Once you enter her territory, you lose all control. She is not the cute little girl seen in the American films. She is not the sympathetic loner seen in Ringu 0. She is not the sexual figure seen in Rasen. She is not the cheep scare tactic seen in Ringu 2. She is a powerful monster, a physiological demon whose powers sweep into the physical realm. Her presence is everywhere, even though the character herself receives very little screen time. Its all about messing with your mind, and that's what Sadako does best.
The film's score by Kenji Kawai is also very noteworthy. Though not used often, when it is employed it it incredibly frighting. Distorted, surreal, piercing, and not overly dramatic, the score heightens the viewers sense of unease and surrealism. The films use of sound effetfs is also incredible; Not since the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre have sound effects created such vivid images.
The acting is all very good. Nanako Matsushima does a great job in the lead role. She portrays fear and realism very acutely, and easily gains our sympathies as she fights to find an end to the tape's curse. Hiroyuki Sanada is brings life to his character, who himself is shrouded in mystery and intrigue. Yutaka Matsushige, who plays Reiko's young son, plays his part very low key and is quite enjoyable to watch.
I can't really explain to you how or why Ringu is so great. It just is. If you like horror films, watch it. If you like Japanese films, watch it. If you don't like horror films, watch it. If you hate reading subtitles, watch it. Whatever you do, just watch it.
This deserves to go down in history as a classic of the horror genre
and heavily deserves the honor of being considered an innovative movie
in its genre, one that broke new ground. Japanese population certainly
knows that better than myself. But does the rest the world too? That I
am not so sure, as the Americans, as usual, felt like they *had* to
spoil another amazing movie with some fast-food remake.
'Ringu' is rich and complete when it comes to the horror element. Yet, this isn't purely horror, there is a dramatic story behind this groundbreaking styling. Suspense and the feeling of horror are intense, almost of the type "chilling to the bone", but that doesn't necessarily mean you won't sleep at night, unless you are oversensitive on that matter.
This is the disturbing story of a videotape that is bad to the bone - literally. And me saying this as if videotapes had bones! It's just a force of expression, so do not take it so literally. The basic idea of the film is pretty simplistic but works out fine.
The artists do generally fine in their acting. While asians are clearly the sort of people who are noisy and can be either shy and reserved or the type who can't shut their mouth, they do perform pretty well, as this movie proves.
This should definitely be on Top 250.
Ringu was far more spookier that the make over "The Ring" and far more
chilling in its effects and elegant Japanese people were shown in this
motion picture. Compared to the original, the make over was totally
boring American garbage! Ringu has freakier things to recommend,
especially the title "Watch Tomoko's Video". This one is so spooky
because, you either have to agree or decline in order to watch the
film. I declined because, it warned me that nobody is held responsible
for strange electrical occurrences (especially if the telephone
rings).Well, after watching this film it made me not want to watch the
But, you all out there, I dare you to watch Tomoko's tape and feel the power of RINGU!
When Reiko Asakawa's niece dies, she goes to the funeral and thinks
it's just another death. But when she learns three other teens died on
the same night and at the same time, and that they all watched a
"cursed video" a week earlier, she realizes that there is a mystery
behind it all...
This is the premise for Hideo Nakata's masterpiece of modern psychological horror, Ring (a.k.a.Ringu). This film shattered box office records all across Asia, and by 2002, had spawned three sequels and been remade twice. Everything about this film is wonderful: the creepy atmosphere, the tension building, the acting performances, the idea... And the payoff sequence will leave you in total fear of your television. It will also make you craving for more. The movie is a great achievement within itself, proving you don't need gallons and gallons of fake blood to make a horrifying film. The story really crawls under you skin, and sticks with you. Ring is, in my opinion, one of the scariest films I have ever seen. Watch this, and you won't regret it. 10 out of 10.
P.S.: Ring is available with English subs from company called Tartan Video, but if you live in the US (I do, but I have the Tartan disc), Dreamworks released it on DVD. And if you like this film, also see the director Hideo Nakata's other film, Dark Water. This is the only movie I have seen that actually can be compared to Ring.
It's hard to overstate the impact this film had on modern horror and
Japanese cinema in general. It was a bolt out the blue, a back to
basics horror that re-affirmed the original principles that make it
such an enduring genre. It's almost unbearably tense - creepy,
atmospheric and downright terrifying.
Ring spawned an industry within Japan but also brought J-Horror (dim lighting, grubby kids, face-obscuring hair, bloody-minded weirdness) to the attention of Hollywood, becoming the first in a string of films to inspire American remakes. But what the remakes lack is what Ring has in spades - otherness; a kind of indefinable and intrinsically unsettling Japanese-ness that is the DNA of the film and makes it what it is, certainly for Western audiences.
Ring is really a modern take on ancient fears - contagion, in the form of video, and the fundamentally terrifying prospect of the supernatural becoming flesh and blood, dissolving the comfortable boundary between the real world and the imagined, through the medium of the television screen. Literally.
I don't remember the American version of the movie. I sure watched it
when it came out and remember being very impressed. but watching the
original now, over a decade later I won't be able to compare the two.
Which is fine since the original deserves to be treated like an individual movie. I can say for sure that it is a great movie and by now one can really say that it is a classic in the horror movie genre. It is one of the most successful Japanese horror movies that also started a big interest in the West towards Japanese horror.
What makes this movie so great is that it is very atmospheric. The idea itself is original but not complicated. The atmosphere is very creepy and keeps one full of suspense. This is the better kind of horror than just some blood massacres.
The suspense keeps a tight grip on the viewer and doesn't let one relax until the very end where we get some great twists that make the movie even more shocking and giving more room to imagine what comes next.
The acting is not the major part of the movie where as I said suspense is what plays the greatest role. But the actors are really good fitting in with the mood of the movie. The one who causes all that horror is almost never on the screen and yet keeps the viewers terrified. Great work of art.
This cult Japanese horror follows the investigative journalism of a
young Reiko Aswaka, who in the course of duty watches a cursed video
tape, in which the viewer is killed by a mysterious force exactly seven
days after viewing. In her last week alive she tries to get to the
truth behind the video (and it's apparent power) in order to save her
life, and also the lives of her son and ex-husband who end up watching
Chances are you've heard of this film, or at least its American remake. Ringu is the most successful film in Japanese history in terms of financial box office records, and is seen as marmite for horror fans (love it or hate it?).
The first time I saw this film I almost wet myself. Seriously. Every twist, dark camera angle, screeching of the non-melodic soundtrack had my heart racing. Unfortatnutley, it wasn't true of the second viewing. The scares are obvious a mile off (due to long build ups), and in terms of horror it doesn't quite work.
However, I would still say that as a film it still works. Unlike most of its fellow genre inmates, even with the horror stripped away, there is enough narrative to make the film work and the detective side of the story (although fairly underwhelming at times due to the easy accessibility of what they are looking for) makes it far more worthwhile than the typical slasher flicks that have plagued the horror films recently.
The dark undertones (murky lighting, and slow panning shots) certainly create an atmosphere suitable on first viewing, but on second time round, without the shock value, they are a little bit too obvious, as if the plot is stuck in a linear rut in terms of style.
The film is superior to its American cousin in my view due to the strong cast, and the horrifying first viewing (if you haven't seen this film I would advice you watch it with someone, with the lights on), and whilst directed very tastefully and artistically (and far better than any American horror of the last 10 or so years) lacks the brutal or horrific punch an effective horror film should have.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First of all,you should see this movie in the original version.Why?Because it's based in Japanese culture and folklore.And,the remake won't give you the same feeling at all.It's Japanese.See it in Japanese. The basic plot is as follows;a short video clip is said to be shown on a local TV-station every now and then and anyone who sees it will die,within 7 days.Basically,all the victims seem to have died from plain terror,they are found with horrid expressions on their faces. Most of them are teenage girls. When journalist Reiko's cousin dies after seeing it,she decides to defy her fears and investigate the story to the full,helped by her ex-husband. What begins as sheer curiosity soon becomes a race for her own and her son's life.She discovers connections to a tale of a child with special and horrifying powers who met a dreadful end.I love Ringu.Psychological drama is mixed with good old horror movie dramaturgy to a nearly perfect horror blend.
What a breakthrough in cinema this film has turned out to be! The
perfect blend of a very emotional tragic journey into the suffering of
the soul. Strikingly well performed and executed, this is one classic
horror film that will stand out and be remembered.
Not often is there a movie that can open the gates of hell and release a horror tornado throughout the world like the Ring has, judging & taking into account the newborn explosion of ghost stories both throughout the Asian cinema market and America. Most horror films out of the Asian league have been feeding off the similar premise that the Ring has created and this is a clear indication that it is the birth of today's modern horror template.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The film that made me an Asian horror fan is probably the most tense and chilling horror to rival Audition. The famous plot about a killer video tape that will kill anyone who watchs it exactly 7 days later is told in such a great way that every scene delivers a chill. The film has some incredibly eerie 'humming' as music which helps make those shivers hit your spine. The camera work plays a major roll in the fear factor as well, swerving around to neatly reveal the shocks on the victim's faces. Those who viewed the Hollywood remake first will be more shocked as the famous crawling through the tele finale is even more chilling.
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