Ring (Ringu) (1998)

One curse, one cure, one week to find it.
Posted on by

Ring (Ringu) - One curse, one cure, one week to find it

Ring (Ringu) is the defining Japanese horror that can be credited with bringing the unique Japanese style of horror movies to the Western world plus inspired a whole cascade of copy cat movies (not to mention remakes) that is now known as the J-Horror formula. Ring used many film tactics beyond a simple scary storyline and shocks to create a sense of unease in the viewer. The contorted malevolent spirit moving in an almost stop motion manner makes the scary scenes seem all the more surreal and the premise that watching the video causes the horror leaves the already disturbed onlooker hoping that the phone doesn't ring in their house whilst watching the DVD or a change of underwear will definitely be required. The evil spirit of Sadako introduced the mainstream to the horrors of long dark hair plus manages to create a sense of trepidation about everyday items such as TV's and telephones.

The premise of the movie is simple yet effective, a cursed videotape is doing the rounds of the teenage population which when watched instigates a disturbing phone call to the viewer informing them that they have a week to live, the curse can only be lifted if a copy of the tape is made and passed on to the next unsuspecting sucker. This concept in itself is a genius example of viral marketing and I'm surprised that the haunting videotaped images were not interjected with numerous Google ad's and a plethora of online casino banners by the time that it reached Asakawa Reiko (Nanako Matsushima), an investigative reporter looking into the truth behind the fabled pre-internet phenomenon that manages to populate itself faster than any "golden fountain drinking monkey" or "keyboard playing cat" movie of the era.

Unfortunately for Asakawa her perilous job involves her watching the tape which prompts the phone-call and cuts her life expectancy down considerably making her wish she'd never given up her twenty Montecristo's a day habit as it was a pointless exercise in life preservation. Realizing that two heads are better than one and unable to contact her conjoined nephews she enlists the help of her ex-lover Ryuji Takayama (Hiroyuki Sanada) and the pair set about unraveling the mystery of the tape. All trails lead to the lost daughter, Sadako, of the illustrious psychic Shizuko Yamamura and uncovering his infanticidal tendencies, decide that appeasing the vengeful spirit of Sadako will save the video's latest viewer, Asakawa's son, who managed to easily decrypt the parental lock on the VCR.

With the act of spirit appeasing seeming to work life carries on until Sadako makes her now famous 3D debut through the TV and kills Ryuji which is when Asakawa's intracranial lightbulb illuminates and she discovers that it was the act of copying the tape that saved her and the cycle must continue until Sadako is more famous than any popcorn eating hamster on a piano.

The origins of the story show a disturbing side to the superstitions of the Japanese society and demonstrate a much more evil side to the social order beyond the supernatural threats. The manifestation of the cruelness within normal people makes the viewer gain sympathy with the malevolent spirits creating confusion as to where the moral person watching the plot unfold lays their loyalties.

Ring is undoubtedly a highly influential piece of Japanese cinema and has managed to terrify most who have experienced it. As per usual the American remake completely missed the point of the original and managed to create a mediocre and suspense-less movie dumbed down to reach a wider audience.

Ring inspired two sequels, Rasen (aka Spiral - released at the same time as Ring but with nowhere near the same success) and Ring 2 plus a prequel, Ring 0: Birthday.
This review was posted on by
Categories: Asian Horror Movies

Ring (Ringu): Movie Information

Ring (Ringu): Related Images

Ring (Ringu): External Links