Horror fans and movie buffs alike are likely to have come across or know of The Ring (2002), but not all know that it is a remake of a Japanese horror film by the same name. Ringu (1998) (also known in English as Ring) is a Japanese film based off of the book series of the same name by Koji Suzuki.
If you aren’t aware of the story, it’s simple:
You watch a cursed video tape, you get a creepy phone call from the spirit of a dead girl saying you will die in seven days, and in most cases, that’s exactly what happens.
A journalist named Reiko Asakawa (played by Nanako Matsushima) and her clairvoyant ex-husband Ryuji Takayama (Hiroyuki Sanada) discover the cursed tape. The one integral thing they have to bear in mind? If they don’t figure out where the tape came from, Asakawa, Takayama, and their son will all die within a week.
As a film, it’s a pretty solid example of what the horror genre should truly be. It’s engrossing and builds the right amounts of tension and suspense as the two main characters try to uncover the mystery behind a cursed video and who exactly created it and for what purpose. The tone throughout the whole movie is solidly tense and never really gives the audience member room to breathe. The opening scene is a good example of this, with two teenage girls gossiping and discussing local lore only to have their innocent conversation shift to one of seriousness as soon as the phone rings. Shifts like this occur frequently throughout the film, keeping the viewer on their toes. That acts as a far better tool to elicit fear or unease than a jump scare.
That being said, Ringu is a good horror movie with a great story and is an enjoyable weekend film. To make your viewing even more enjoyable, pair and compare with the American remake The Ring, which is a much more stylized and eerie version than its Japanese counterpart. Though be careful, if you watch both of these movies you may feel the urge to unplug your television. Don’t know what I mean by that? After you see the first twenty minutes of Ringu, you’ll know.
Watch it on Kanopy today!