Monday, October 29, 2012

"Ringu" a Gooseflesh Generator

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 145 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux

Ringu (1998)
Running time: 96 minutes (1 hour, 36 minutes)
Not rated by the MPAA
DIRECTOR: Hideo Nakata
WRITER: Hiroshi Takahashi (from the novel by Kôji Suzuki)
PRODUCERS: Takashige Ichise, Shin'ya Kawai, and Takenori Sentô
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jun'ichirô Hayashi
EDITOR: Nobuyuki Takahashi
COMPOSER: Kenji Kawai

HORROR/MYSTERY with elements of a thriller

Starring: Nanako Matsushima, Hiroyuki Sanada, Rikiya Otaka, and Katsumi Muramatsu

The subject of this movie review is the 1998 Japanese horror film, Ring, which is better known under the title, Ringu. The film is directed by Hideo Nakata and is based upon Ring, a 1991 novel by Kôji Suzuki. Ringu was released in the United States and the United Kingdom in 2000.

In this film, there is an urban legend in Japan that if you watch a peculiar videotape, you will die a week later. After watching a mysterious videotape, a group of teenagers die gruesome deaths. One of the teenagers was the niece of reporter Reiko Asakawa (Nanako Matsushima), who had been trailing the urban legend of the cursed videotape for her newspaper. But her niece’s death troubles her and makes her believe that there may be some validity to the story. She tracks the tape to a mountain resort and watches it, and immediately after gets a phone call promising death in seven days. Reiko panics and fears for her life, so she calls on the help of her ex-husband Ryuji Takayama (Hiroyuki Sanada), who may actually already know something about the strange girl on the tape. Time becomes of the utmost purpose when the divorced couple’s young son, Yoichi (Rikiya Otaka), watches the tape, so they must uncover the secret of breaking the tape’s curse to save all their lives.

Ringu was the subject of a 2002 remake from DreamWorks Pictures called The Ring. Both films are based upon Kôji Suzuki novel, Ring (the first in a horror trilogy). Both films are similar, although Ringu is not as oblique as The Ring. Director Hideo Nakata drenches his films in deep and penetrating shadows, and haunting reflections suddenly appear dreamily in reflective surfaces when you least (but should) expect it. Even the daylight is filled with a sense of the haunted and the foreboding, and the most benign everyday sounds, such as a phone ringing, hints at evil. Nakata, more than Gore Verbinski did in his remake, creates the overwhelming suggestion that around every corner and just over one’s shoulder is doom and gruesome death.

Nakata’s best feat, however, may be in that he surrounds the cast with a sense of normal, everyday life. There is the illusion that everything is normal, and that what goes on every day happens this very day. But just beneath the normalcy is another real world of horror and creeping evil. That’s the scariest kind of horror of all.

8 of 10

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