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Ring(u) * Hideo Nakata * 1998

What do you get when you mix The Blair Witch Project, Tesis, Videodrome, Odisjon/Audition and a bit of David Lynch? Indeed, a Japanese cult-horror. I had never heard of this film until last november when the boyfriend of my youngest sister told me about it. In the meantime it seems that “Ringu 2” and “Ringu 0” (which chronologically is supposed to be seen before this one) and on top of all, “Ringu” (just “Ring” on international dvds by the way) has been remade in America as “The Ring” and this US-version will have its cinema-premiere in the Netherlands coming Thursday (13/2/03). According to the critics, the American version is as good as the original and the word says that this is the most frightening film since the first Blair Witch. Well then.

“Ringu” is about a videotape-curse. People who see a certain video get a phonecall immediately after and they hear that they have only one week to live. This becomes a story to scare friends at school, but a tv-reporter is going to check out this story when two youngsters die with a horrible expression on their faces a week after they are said to have seen the film. Quite rapidly she finds a videotape on a holiday-resort, watches it, gets the call and asks her ex-husband to help her out to solve the mystery. He also sees it, doesn’t receive a call, but does get the weird visions that the watchers of the tape get in their last week. Then the search for the origin leads to a young girl who was daughter of a strange woman with psychic powers. The little girl could wish people dead and when she was murdered by her father, a curse came forth from her death.

The film reminded me of the Spanish “Tesis” because of the hunt for a killer-videotape by experts on the plane of video. Also the cult-film “Videodrome” has a similar idea as “Ringu”, videos take over the lifes of their victims. “Odisjon/Audition” I only added because this is also a film in Japanese as is “Ringu”. Then “Ringu” is supposed to be extremely frightening without gruesome images, like in “The Blair Witch”. This is partly true. There indeed are some quite heavy scenes in this film, but still I have to see my first real scary film. Further the film is quite dark and the video-images are used a bit as in Lynch’s “Lost Highway”. Also the dark drones add to the effect giving “Ringu” a nice atmosphere.

All in all though I didn’t like “Ringu” too much. It is nice, but not overtly original and definately not as scary as people say. Still a film that you want to see if you like horrors without thousands of liters of blood and also if you like a dark atmosphere in a film.

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