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Hideo Nakata

The Ring Two * Hideo Nakata * 2005

I have been in doubt whether or not to go and see this film. The first American Ring was alright, but didn’t quite have the atmosphere of the originals. Then there were two Ju-Ons of which the first was remade by the original director and this film WAS kept mostly in the Japanese style. Then Nakata himself was going to make the second American Ring. I read both positive and negative reviews and decided to just go for it.
Well, “The Ring Two” is pretty boring. Is has become totally American with fright-moments instead of atmosphere and additions to the story to make it more interesting. This American Ring two isn’t just a remake of one of the Japanese Ringu films, but an entirely new film, more or less with a new story. This is positive in my opinion, there is at least SOME surprise left when you know all of the Japanese films. But, like I said, “The Ring Two” is not too entertaining, but still alright to see some time.

Ringu 2 * Hideo Nakata * 1999

After the succesfull Ringu, Nakata made a sequel and later a ‘prequel’ was made by another director. I thought Ringu 1 is okay, but I suppose my expectations where too high, Ringu 0 was better than expected, but 2 is just alright. The story continues where part 1 ends. The people who found Sadako in the well are lost of insane and new people investigate the curse. Nice to see if you saw the other two, but the least of the three. Oh, my advice: watch them in the order they were made! That is Ringu, Ringu 2 and then Ringu 0.

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.

Honogurai mizu no soko kara * Hideo Nakata * 2002

Dark Water

This is something I already feared. Japanese horrors are nice, but too much the same and most are just nice and not really good. Nakata was at least the director that gave Japanese horror a place in the world of film with his “Ringu” and “Dark Water” is one of the earlier other films in this vein, but I saw it way too late. Anyway, the original “Ringu” is nice, but not as scary as “Ju-On” for example. “Dark Water” isn’t also one of the better films in this style, but still it is an enjoyable film. Again a cursed house, but as the title suggests, water plays a major part in it. The atmosphere is not as pressing as in the other mentioned films, so this is actually more of a thriller maybe. An alright film.