Sunday, October 31, 2010

933. RING (1998)

Running Time: 96 minutes
Directed By: Hideo Nakata
Written By: Hiroshi Takahashi, from the novel Ringu by Koji Suzuki
Main Cast: Nanako Matsushima, Hiroyuki Sanada, Rikiya Otaka


The Halloween 2010 festivities continue as I take in "Ring" (I know the film is actually called "Ringu", but the "1001" book refers to it only as "Ring") and have a good time doing so. This was a great one to check out on Halloween and I enjoyed this one as much as I enjoyed the American remake.

The plot is pretty simple. "Ring" tells of a cursed videotape, that when watched gives the viewer only seven days to live. When high schooler Tomoko watches the video with a group of friends and dies exactly one week later (to the minute), it raises the suspicions of her aunt Asakawa (Matsushima), a reporter who has been trying to uncover the truth about the infamous "videotape". She checks into Tomoko's background and in the process watches the videotape herself and after seeing the images on the tape, is convinced that the tape is for real and that she only has one week to live. Wanting to break the curse, especially for her young sons sake, Asakawa enlists the help of her ex-husband Ryuji, who also watches the tape and then begins to help her figure out the origins of the tape and a possible way of breaking the curse and saving their lives. The clock as ticking as Asakawa and Ryuji follow a line of clues and try to find someway to break the curse and the situation becomes more desperate when their son, Yoichi, also watches the video.

I'm probably going to use a lot of comparisons to the American remake in the following paragraphs, so bear with me.


While the plot seems kind of silly on the surface (a cursed videotape that can kill you), everything actually meshes together quite well to provide us with a fairly chilling little horror movie. Sadly, I saw the remake first and actually the remake is a pretty accurate depiction of the original, so there were no surprises in store for me. I would say that the remake has a more pale look to it and thus provides us with a more bleak film, while this one seems just a tad more sunny, but still gives off a feeling of doom throughout. The acting was good in this one too and I quite enjoyed the two main actors, especially the beautiful Nanako Matsushima. Hideo Nakata relies more on sound, music and atmosphere to provide the eeriness of the picture and less on the actual visual horror, although the scene where Sadako crawls out of the television set and kills Ryuji is pretty freaky.

Despite owning it, it's been a while since I've seen the remake, but if I remember correctly it has more details that this one. Of course, that could be a bad thing, as there are more loose ends to tie up and more room for plot holes. "Ring" actually keeps the plot as simple as possible and gives us a clear cut directive: The main characters must do anything they can do to break the curse and save their lives and their main idea is to find the origin of the videotape, that's it. We get some back story about the characters that appear on the video, but it's kept to a minimum, at least more of a minimum than I remember the remake keeping it to. Also, while the remake title of "The Ring" refers to the sunlight creeping into the well as the lid is being placed on, thus being the last thing that Sadako (or Samara, as she is called in the remake), I think the title of "Ring" here refers to the vicious circle that must be carried out to save ones life after viewing the video. Also, if you think about it, this is one of the few horror movies where evil prevails. In order to break the curse, the viewer must copy the videotape and then show it to someone else, which will keep the cycle (or ring) continuing on and on.

RATING: 7/10 Now I'm very interested to see the sequels and prequels of this one and am hoping that they're better than the American "Ring Two", which was god awful.


October 31, 2010 1:19am

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