Dir: Hideo Nakata, 1998
Why can’t Hollywood make films like the Eastern world can?
Based on the novel by Koji Suzuki, Ring (or Ringu, as it’s also known) is a proper horror film.
It’s creepy and unnerving without an ounce of blood being spilt.
There’s no spectacular deaths at the hands of a masked murderer or with the aid of weapons and utensils that happen to be laying around.
It’s all done with a simple look of an uncovered eye.
Reid is a journalist reporting on the mysterious deaths of some teenagers staying at a cabin.
Looking through some photographs taken of the group, Review notices that all the faces on the photos are blurred.
Investigating further, the reporter stays at the lodge where the group spent their last night.
Reiko happens upon a VHS in the lobby of the lodge and plays it through.
The video shows surreal imagery, ending with a figure beginning to emerge from a well.
Once the video finishes, the phone rings and informs Reiko that she will die in seven days.
The only way to remove the curse is to show the video to another person, where the curse then passes on to the recipient.
After her son finds the tape and watches it, Reiko and her ex-husbsnd travel across Japan to find the answer to the curse and put a stop to it once and for all.
It’s common practice for a book to be changed in places in the transition to film adaptation.
For the film to be made, it went through a filter to remove some of the more controversial elements and changes what the curse is.
In Suzuki’s original, there is a secondary character who is a rapist and has no qualms or remorse about it. His friends don’t seem to care, either.
Wisely, the production completely eliminates this character and shifts the focus squarely on to the two leads.
The book is less supernatural and offers a more scientific reason for the curse whereas Nakata’s version leaves you in no doubt that it’s the manifestation of Sadako’s spirit that appears on the tape.
The film is better than the book.
Ring is compulsive viewing for anybody who wishes to attempt to try making a horror film.
It ticks the box that films in the genre seldom do and that is to be scary.
This has given birth to so many poor imitations that directors are still trying to emulate it today and rarely succeeding.
It goes to show how much Hollywood rely on money rather than talent. There is no CG involved and very little special effects. The horror comes purely from the performances and physical capabilities to move in an eerie fashion.
It’s filmmaking at its most basic and primitive level and blows The Conjuring and Sinister or Insidious totally out of the water.
Ring defenestrates the notion of contemporary horror and strips the whole genre right back to what matters.
Forget the American remake and watch this.
You won’t be disappointed.