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I first heard about this film when the American film, The Ring, was being advertised for release in theaters. I'm a curious sort, so of course I had to track down and see the original film ;) In my opinion, the original far outshines it's American counterpart; Japanese films tend to have more in the way of thought-provoking content. This film, in particular, makes you work to put the clues together; they don't hand everything to you on a silver platter. You have to think in order to understand the progression of events and the motivations behind a character's actions.. to me, that's the essence of a good movie. I've purchased a copy of this movie on DVD, and will continue to watch it as one of my all time favourites; I highly recommend that everyone find a way to watch it as soon as possible. It's an experience you won't soon forget.
A superb horror thriller from Japan, Ring somehow manages to be remarkably
unusual and innovative while at the same time stealing elements from
innumerable Western precursors. Visually, there are nods to Poltergeist,
Suspiria and Carrie while the plot borrows generously from
But Ring is the exact opposite of Hollywood's recent trend towards knowingly ironic, camp comedy-horror movies. This is a downbeat, serious movie full of a typically Japanese sense of fear and ambiguity, an interface between the modern, technological era and an earlier age of superstition, curses and vengeful ancestors. If Ring occasionally provokes sniggers rather than chills it's hard to know what to make of a film which pivots on the phrase Frolic in brine, goblins be thine,' for example - that's mainly because the film was made primarily with domestic Japanese audiences in mind. But even this foreign-ness' ends up as a plus, building up a genuinely unnerving sense of unpredictable dislocation.
Seeing Ring on the big screen not recommended, it is probably better on the small screen. This is because the plot pivots on the malign influence of a curse video,' its power the focus of a fictional, but entirely believable urban myth: after watching the video, the story goes, your telephone rings and a voice informs you that you have exactly one week left to live.
The story attracts the attention of divorced journalist Reiko (Matsushima) after four teenagers, including her cousin, simultaneously drop dead. She tracks down the tape, and watches its brief succession of bizarre, haunting images. Then the phone rings, and the film becomes a race against time as Reiko tries to exorcise' the curse, which soon extends to her surly ex-husband Ryuji (Sanada) and their young son, Yoichi (Nakatani) as they also view the tape. Ring shows an unusual attention to detail at every level, from Hayashi's multi-layered, evocatively cryptic script to Nakata's no-nonsense direction. The film has a deceptively flat, everyday look that contrasts all the more strikingly with the arty experimentalism of the curse video,' and the starkness of periodic black-and-white flashbacks - the rational world thus disrupted and subverted by impossible' manifestations of evil. Kenji Kawai's diverse score adds enormously to the growing impact of the story, as does the technique of announcing each new day with an on-screen title it's been done before in movies of all kinds, most notably The Shining but never with such skilful creepiness.
Though it works brilliantly as an intelligent thriller and the final two scenes wrap things up with a pair of especially satisfying twists Ring isn't just' a frightening horror picture. It subtly dramatises the tensions in a Japanese culture that, no matter how urgently it strides into a westernised, baseball-playing, high-tech future, can't quite shake off the insistent ghosts of its mystical past, just as Reiko is forced to abandon her air-conditioned, neon-lit Tokyo office and head to the countryside, then to a wild, wind-swept island, then into the very darkness of the earth itself, to confront the demons that threaten her very existence. And if many questions, many tensions, remain unresolved a sequel and a prequel have already been released in Japan that doesn't mean Ring is either inconclusive or a lazy cop-out. Like all the great horror directors, Nakata is primarily a collaborator. He starts the circle we finish it.
The American remake The Ring, starring Naomi Watts and Daveigh Chase was released in 2002.
Verdict: Easily better than most modern horrors, Ring is a spectacular chiller which is thought provoking, and nightmarishly original. *****
I was totally speechless to see what remakes are really. A week ago I saw Verbinski's "The ring" and I Was rather charmed by its David Lynch's atmosphere and incidentally one week later the original Japanese was on telly. Now do excuse me but I can't think of one good word from Verbinski's version simply as it is a copy...he just replaced the Japanese actors by Americans and for the rest, expect a better understandable ending, is the same. It's totally unfair to judge Ringu as I constantly was thinking now it will be that and now that simply as I watched it all before. What's better you say? Hmmmm perhaps the video that kills is better made but if you want to tell me truth...put some subtitles on the Japanese version and give the original makers the recognition they deserve rather than letting someone do a brainless copy.
Reiko Asakawa (Nanako Matsushima) is a young journalist with a divorced
husband, Ryuji (Hiroyuki Sanada), and a son, Yoichi (Rikiya Otaka). Her
niece, Tomoko, was recently found dead with a look of pure shock embedded in
her face as if something scared her to death. Upon learning that her niece's
three friends died at the same time, too, and hearing about a disturbing
videotape that is said to kill you seven days after watching it, Reiko comes
into the possession of that same tape. Now, as time grows short, Reiko and
Ryuji race to save their lives from impending doom and discover what the
tape has to do with a tragedy-stricken volcanic island and a very strange
little girl named Sadako (Rie Inou)...Great movie! Solid scares,
more-than-adequate performances, and a great, great ending!
Without doubt, anyone who knows their cinema will tell you that the
most inventive horror films of the last five-ten years have come from
the land of the rising sun. Principle among these is the film so
successful that it spawned a sequel, a prequel and an American remake.
So much has been said about the infamous "Ringu" (or simply "Ring" in
the West) that little of what I can add will make much difference.
Still, here goes...
"Ring" concerns a female journalist (played by Nanako Matsushima) whose young niece dies in bizarre circumstances. A look of sheer terror is etched onto her face, as it is on the faces of her three friends who also died at the same time. Linking their deaths with the urban legend of a strange video, she eventually finds and then watches the tape - unwittingly putting herself under a sentence of death which will kill her within a week. And so begins a desperate race against time to avoid the inevitable and solve the mystery of the videotape.
There is a simple reason why I didn't believe the American remake would work, aside from seeing this original one first - the plot wouldn't make sense in an American setting, a lesson learnt when they recently remade "The Grudge" (which they set in Tokyo). As daft as the plot sounds, the tension is tightened to unbearable levels as the ending grows ever nearer. This isn't a jump-out-and-scream horror film like we seem to make ad infinitum here in the West. No, this is a slow burner of a psychological torture session and is so much better for it. Not speaking as a big fan of the horror genre, "Ring" will remain my benchmark for a number of years because it is a film that remains lodged in the mind for some time after viewing and trust me, this is not a good thing to carry around with you. The numbing vision of the demonic Sadako (Rie Inou) stalking her pray still gives me the creeps so long after watching the film. In fact, we have the DVD on the shelf but I still haven't plucked up the courage to watch it again. Whether that's because I'm a natural coward or because this will scare seven colours of crap out of you, I'll leave you to make up your own mind about.
If you don't believe me (and haven't seen the watered down American version) then you're missing out on one of the scariest and disturbing pictures made in modern times. If you think that "Gothika" is as good as it gets then there's something wrong with you. This film is so good that other horror films just look embarrassing. "Ring" has to be seen, whether or not you're a fan of horror. Watch this because afterwards, you can then watch other horror films with ambivalence.
I tracked this one down, having been impressed with the American version. Whether it is better or not remains in question, but what is not in question is the quality of this film. The film starts out with some nice tension from the beginning and carries it out till the very end. The Ring seems to be a scene by scene copy of this film till about two-thirds of the way, and then it makes some noticeable detours. I find that I enjoy both story lines equally. This film has some stellar acting and some very memorable scenery. What I did like about it was the differentiation of Japanese life from city to countryside. The film showcases the differing values and lifestyles with ease and strength. Ringu is also a beautiful film. The much talked about ending DOES seem to assume a sequel and DOES answer more of the viewer's questions. I heartily recommend watching this shortly after seeing The Ring.
I, like others was intrigued by the controversy surrounding Ringu and the remake, The Ring. Luckily, my sister's friend made us rent Ringu first. I say luckily, because, having seen both versions, I definitely think that the original is much better. Not only is it more subtle, but it explains things more fully than the American remake. The American remake seemed to be full of special effects and things that did not matter as much to the story. Everything in Ringu meant something. In fact, The Ring seemed to be one big attempt to keep Americans attention, as if we were two year olds who could not pay attention to something as wonderful as Ringu. I would most certainly give this film at least a 9 out of 10.
Ringu (1998) a film that inspired countless knock-offs and remakes
(official and unofficial) all over the world. A old fashion horror tale
about a vengeful ghost. Sadako is a scary but tragic figure, a victim
of greed and exploitation. She seeks revenge for all those that did her
wrong. Trapped in a dark damp well for many years she waits for that
day when she'll escape from her prison. I actually enjoyed this film.
The direction well good, the storyline made sense and the acting was
above average. A few cultural differences aside, the movie had an aura
of realism. You can view this film is many different aspects. I have
read Ringu and there are many differences. But I like the changes that
they made.The scares are genuine and the soundtrack is excellent.
Highly recommended. This is the film that raise the bar in horror
films. Often imitated by never duplicated (the American version noted).
Watch out for T.V.s, unmarked videotapes and wells!
P.S. Reiko's looking good.
I tried for some time to get a copy of this film having seen the American
re-make. I was impressed with the re-make and found the plot fascinating.
have to say I was equally enthralled by the original, in fact in some
elements found it to be superior. The key to this films appeal is the way
the suspense, horror and unease is built with no gore or real action. It
just a slow relentless ramping up of suspense and the dark foreboding
is accentuated by the dark moody filming. I feel this is where this film
scores over the re-make. The hollywood version comes across as slow and
almost boring , in comparison. There is one key defining scene in both
(which I wont reveal of course)and , I have to say, this was done better
the new version. This is a great film but I think that comments like "best
horror ever" are a bit over the top.
Overall I would say, a great suspenseful example of sheer horror without
Just imagine, a writer in Japan who've written a book about a mysterious
video tape killing people exactly seven days after they've seen it....
director read this book and make a movie of it, it's just that simple. But
that doesn't mean it's not frightening.... :)
Let's start with the story. Four people died at exactly the same time. A rumour about a killin' video tape goes around the streets. A journaliste start investigating and discovers the tape. She think that the only option is to watch the tape to unsolve the mystery.
This are the most important things that you should know. The whole movie is 'dark' what gives it a frightening atmosphere. You feel the fear.... The 'monster' is very frightening, a great character. But.... ....if you've seen the American remake before watching this you know what's going to happen. The climax of the movie is not so scary if you've seen The Ring. However, it is still a good movie, and if you liked The Ring very much, I can you advise this masterpiece of horror. 8/10
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