(aka RING, THE RING)
Directed by Hideo Nakata
Written by Koji Suzuki (novel) & Hiroshi Takahashi
Produced by Shinya Kawai, Takashige Ichise & Takenori Sento
Music by Kenji Kawai
Cast: Nanako Matsushima, Miki Nakatani, Hiroyuki Sanada, Yuko Takeuchi, Hitomi Sato & Yoichi Numata
1998/96 mins/Color/5.1 Dolby Digital
1.85:1 anamorphic/Japanese/Japan/NTSC Region 1
Review from the DreamWorks DVD
The RING - the infamous film released in 1998 based on the novel by Koji Suzuki is now of course an international success. The film has spawned a prequel, RING 0, and a sequel, RING 2, and of course the well known remake by DreamWorks, with a sequel to that success coming close around the corner. Not to mention this original hit reinventing the ghost movie, which caused an excess of supernatural thrillers in the same vein as RINGU to come out of Japan in recent years, with no slow down ahead. Even Hollywood can't pass up the possibility to make money from the inventive filmmakers in Japan, especially with the current JU-ON quickly being remade.
By now everyone (if not most) know the basic premise of the film - after a young couple dies and a rumor surfaces that if you watch this video tape the phone rings stating you have seven days to live. When Reiko (Nanako Matsushima) hears word that the young couple was her cousin Tomoko and her boyfriend, she uses her journalism skills and begins to investigate whether or not the rumors are true. When Reiko ventures to the cabin the teens stayed at she finds a video tape left at the front desk. After viewing the tape the horror sets in when the phone rings telling of her demise in seven days. Seeking the help of her friend and former ex Ryuji (Hiroyuki Sanada) she continues on her terrifying journey and next thing you know Reiko, Ryuji, and her son Yoichi are all victims of the mysterious tape.
Even though RINGU and THE RING have now been widely viewed I won't continue any further with the storyline to reveal any spoilers. For newcomers, it is best to go into the film without much prior knowledge. This film has been a breath of fresh air, and easily ranks up there with terrifying horror greats such as THE CHANGELING, THE EXORCIST, and even the recent THE OTHERS. The idea that someone viewing a mysterious tape and can later die from its curse is a fantastic one. It is made even more intriguing when you consider the mythos of snuff footage, and watching videos out of the norm, which almost gives you the feeling that you shouldn't be watching them. Films such as the AUGUST UNDERGROUND series built with the purpose of making the viewer turn away can give you that type of unease - should I turn away? - and even though the video in RING contains nonesuch footage, the principle is there within the cursed cassette. Within the tape, the grainy footage is compiled of surreal imagery - a cloaked pointing figure, a mysterious woman brushing her hair, and of course the well in the middle of a forest, which is sure to send chills.
The film is devoid of blood and gore, and rightfully so. RINGU relies on a suspenseful storyline, and gives its horror to the viewer through psychologically terrifying ideas, and frightening images. This all of course blended with the subtle score by Kenji Kawai completes the sheer terror that the film produces.
There are several releases of RING on DVD right now but the version up to plate is presented by DreamWorks Home Entertainment in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio, which is anamophic, which is a given these days (or should be). The picture quality is crisp and clear, with fantastic colors and darks. The audio is presented in its original language (Japanese) in 5.1 Dolby Digital surround and comes with very well translated English subtitles (which are available in French and Spanish also). The 5.1 track really gives the full effect of the film making it an even more unnerving experience. The disc is barebones other than some promotional footage for the inferior (but still decent by today's standards) Hollywood remake as well as other terrible and out of place titles. The cover and packaging is crap without so much as an insert (once again there is no excuse with a massive conglomerate such as DreamWorks especially with the original MSRP being a whopping $29.99). Despite the lack of extras this disc is a huge improvement over how I saw the film initially, a badly presented VCD with poorly translated subtitles. With a recent price slash this disc is definitely one to add to your DVD collection!
This Film Features:
Review by Chris Mayo. All Right Reserved. 2004. ©