Hiroshi Takahashi

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The Ring Review


Extraordinary
There's something inherently creepy about children and the supernatural. Poltergeist knew it. The Sixth Sense knew it, too. Both movies make their presence known in The Ring, though I wouldn't necessarily use them - or anything else - to describe this remarkably original and terrifying ghost tale.

Following a number of false starts that establish the film's unbalanced mood, The Ring rehashes an urban legend about a videotape. Very few people know its contents, though it's believed that the images found on the tape recap one person's nightmare. Initially I thought that tape was Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach, but I was wrong. Once you watch the video, the phone rings and a child's voice on the other end of the line whispers, "Seven days." You now have one week to live.

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Ringu 0 Review


OK
The final film in the Ringu series, Ringu 0 takes us back 30 years to learn the origins of that girl in the well, who she was, and how she ended up down there.

Too bad it's not a very compelling story. Sadako (Yukie Nakama) is an actress in college -- sort of -- and she's so nuanced that she draws the ire of her fellow actors. This culminates in Sadako being beaten to death by the troupe and coming back as a ghost to get her revenge. Sounds cool, but unfortunately the film spends about 85 minutes getting to the juicy bits. So for about 20 minutes, we've got a cool little thriller on our hands -- culminating in a cool and harrowing hunt through the woods. The other 80 is nothing but padding.

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Ringu Review


Very Good
Before there was The Ring, there was Ringu, the Japanese horror/thriller that was remade virtually verbatim from this original. Of course, it's a little less Hollywood-shiny, a little less in-yo-face-scary, and a lot more subtitled. But the guts are the same: an unlabeled videotape is making the rounds... watch it, and you die in one week's time. A skeptic TV station employee discovers the tape after her cousin watches it and dies, watches it herself, and soon draws her ex-husband and nephew into the quest to find out more about the tape's origins and, hopefully, avoid death for all three of them.

Ringu is very atmospheric and often creepy, especially in its last half hour, but it's hardly chilling enough to keep you up at night. The fairly vapid performances don't really help, but the overwhelming sense of marching us toward doom makes up for many of the film's flaws. The remake, by all accounts, actually seems to be a better time.

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Ringu 2 Review


Weak
Rushed out the same year as Ringu, Ringu 2 ignores the first sequel Rasen (see that review for details why) and continues where the first film left off, designed as a spiritual journey into the backstory of Sadako, whose body was exhumed from a well in Ringu, not quite lifting the old watch-the-video-and-you-die curse. This time Mai (Miki Nakatani) finds her nephew -- and maybe herself too -- developing creepy psychic death-vision powers, and she spends much of the film in various mental institutions and locales with padded walls trying to figure out why.

Note that, at least on the bootleg DVD that I saw, the white-on-white subtitles make much of the film hard to understand. I doubt many people will care, anyway. The kooky sequel bears little resemblance to its predecessor, especially regarding the sense of dreadful urgency it carried. A stillborn thriller.

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The Ring Movie Review

The Ring Movie Review

There's something inherently creepy about children and the supernatural. Poltergeist knew it. The Sixth Sense...

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