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Country: Japan
Director: Hideo Nakata

Matsushima Nanako - Reiko
Nakatani Miki
Sanada Hiroyuki - Ryuji
Takeuchi Yuko

Based on the novel by Suzuki Koji, "Ring" is like a Japanese version of movies like "Scream", "I Know What You Did Last Summer" and other variations of teenagers-as-prey horror movies that were popular a few years ago. However, it has little of the B-grade movie humour that was evident in those other films, instead going straight for the deadly (no pun intended) earnest, hysteria-lurking-beneath-the-surface acting and plot, which can be unintentionally funny in itself. Apparently 2 sequels had already been made by the time this film came out in 1998, so popular was the series (based on novel by Koji Suzuki).

Journalist Reiko investigates the teenage urban legend of a cursed video that kills all who views it within a week. Reiko (for some strange reason) gets a hold of the video and plays it, watching the strange, disturbing (and frankly scary) jumble of images that flashes up on screen. With the help of her ex-husband Ryuji, they race to lift the curse before it kills all of them.

Like "The Blair Witch", "Ring" suggests the horror through the blend of ancient myth and modern technology, using disturbing images which teases the imagination, heightened by the appropriately overwrought musical score by Kenji Kawai ("Ghost in the Shell"). Bit by bit the story is unveiled, the flesh peeled back until the finale which is deliberately left open with no thorough explanations or closure. For some, this may be somewhat frustrating, because there is a lot of things here that rises up like shapes beneath the murky water but never really reveals itself. Like "The Sixth Sense", "Ring" does not depend heavily on special effects for its chills and horror, choosing instead to convey it psychologically, although the previous film carries off the genre better than this. However, generally this is a good film, and the ending is genuinely scary and shocking in its conclusion.

Eden Law

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