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aka - Ringu
Japan 1998
Directed by
Nakata Hideo
96 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Mike Esler
3.5 stars


The Ring series of horror films is an erratic compendium of psychologically-induced shivers derived from a classic Japanese ghost story. Taken as a whole the core film, Ring resonates the strongest of the 3. The sequel, Ring 2 (***), won’t "freeze your blood" as the promo tag threatens but the final half hour does contain strong images worthy of the original. In the current fashion of mining story material from events set prior to the seed film, the Ring O: Birthday (**1/2) prequel is the most polished in production value but weakest of the set. It purports to shed light on the ancient curse that lies at the centre of the trilogy which, briefly, concerns an evil video cassette that when watched leads to the viewer’s death within a week.

The subtleties of the Ring series are its strengths. Judicious use of shimmering, metallic noise on a compressed soundtrack cleverly aids the scare factor. The "monster" here is Sadako, a vengeful young girl. She drifts across all 3 films, simply dressed in a white smock with her long black hair covering her face and other than flashbacks between each installment, is the only cast constant. Look for her crawling from a television to wreak bloody revenge in Ring - one of the genuinely alarming horror scenes here.

There will no doubt be more to come in the Ring franchise regardless of the effect the Hollywood remake has. At the very least this series is conceptually far more intriguing than anything Freddy, Jason or the Scream team have offered.




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