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After the mysterious death of her niece and other three teenagers on the same hour and with the symptoms of heart attack, the journalist Sun-ju decides to investigate their last moments. She discloses that the four friends had just watched a videotape exactly one week before their death in a resort. She travels to the place and finds the deadly video and after watching the weird footage, her telephone rings. When she takes a picture of herself, she sees her image blurred the same way that happened with the teenagers. She makes a copy of the cursed tape to her acquaintance, the skeptical coroner Choi Yeol. Together they seek for a hint, and find that it was taped thorough telekinesis by Eun-suh, a psychic girl that had disappeared years ago. When Sun-ju's little daughter watches the movie, Sun-ju has a stronger reason to unravel the mystery to save her daughter and her own lives. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This film is the first remake of the Japanese film Ringu, which was later remade into the Hollywood film, The Ring. If you measure it alone or in comparison with the novel, it stands a passable affair, but you can't really leave aside some comparisons with Ringu as The Ring Virus takes several key elements from Ringu while also re-incorporating a few elements of the novel back into the movie. In the end, some of this gets all jumbled and it leaves a couple plot holes as well as weakens believability at times.
I noticed right away that The Ring Virus generally takes a different aesthetic approach. While Ringu had a lot more natural/fluorescent lighting, generally casting the film in whites, greens and blues, The Ring Virus accepts warmer tones from incandescent lights and thus adds more yellows and oranges to the palette. Furthermore, the camera takes more dynamic movements and positions in The Ring Virus, although this is not necessarily a good thing. In some way, the Corean remake looks a little busier than the Japanese version and the overall look doesn't seem as oppressive as the original. Nonetheless, some of the shots are still taken directly from its predecessor.
The story itself is primarily like Ringu. A female reporter finds a tape, which upon playing, curses her with seven days to live and she begins a desperate search for a way out of the curse. While the overarching story is essentially the same, the details and characters have changed. The partner in crime in this instance more closely follows the novel, as we find a medical researcher with no relation to the protagonist joins the case. Furthermore, the story of the ghostly villain has changed as well and thus her reasons for her vengeful ways have also changed. The story is infused with more sexuality and less paranormal science than Ringu.
Unfortunately, many of these changes, even if more closely following the book, fail to work. First of all, the supporting character of the researcher doesn't come across nearly as brilliant as he is presented as being and there appears to be some remnant of Ringu's ex-husband in him as he has some unexplained bouts of clairvoyance. Also, because he has no relationship to the protagonist, its hard to believe that he would bother to join in her quest and endanger himself. In the book, he is at least a friend of the male protagonist (the sex of the protagonist got swapped in Ringu). I do have to admit that expansion of the ghost's story does lead her to be a more interesting character, but it doesn't save The Ring Viruses from the weaknesses in the details of the story. Add in a couple plot holes and a lack of attention to detail and The Ring Virus fails to impress.
I found myself yelling at the screen during the course of this film and slapping my head in disbelief. Maybe if I hadn't seen Ringu first, this effort would seem less curmudgeon and while it does bring some interesting elements to the story, overall, the weaknesses in the direction and the story make it a slightly less than adequate affair. It might be an interesting first watch of the various Ring movies or an interesting comparison viewing, but otherwise, I think you'd be better served trying one of the other versions of the Ring story. Problematic. 5/10.
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