Saturday, May 29, 2010

Ringu - 4/5

Ringu is more popular today thanks to its American remake The Ring in 2002 which was a huge box office success. I will admit I saw The Ring first when it first came out but sadly I waited years to finally watch the original Japanese film that inspired it. Ringu, made 4 years earlier, was a huge success in Japan and also paved the dark highway of what we know as "J-Horror" and the likes of Ju-On, One Missed Call, etc. Still with all the films it inspired Ringu is still considered one of the best the popular subgenre in Japan has to offer. After finally getting around to watching it, despite seeing many films it inspired first, I can easily see why it is still so popular.

Thanks to the American remake most people will already know the storyline. The plot has a reporter investigate the deaths of 4 teenagers that seemed to die in a state of shock and have frozen expressions of terror on their face. Our reporter in her research discovers that after they stayed in a cabin, they discovered and all watched a video tape, received a phone call, and died exactly seven days later. She goes to the motel they stayed at, discovers the tape, and watches it herself only to be brought into the curse. With the help of her ex-husband, she has to race against the clock to save her life by deciphering the cryptic message the video tape offers.

The best aspect of this film is that it's is a good, old fashioned ghost story that keeps the audience engrossed due to a desperate sense of dread. People who only think horror is a brutal killing ever 10 minutes are going to find this boring but fans that like their horror good and creepy this will be a real treat. The film also essentially bloodless which is a real shock compared to most modern horror cinema. Most horror today seems to replace suspense and scares with brutal violence and gore. Don't get me wrong as I like many gory films but just simple gore and violence doesn't make a film scary (Rob Zombie, I'm looking at you!). I found the creepy atmosphere, and corpses with their frozen terror expressions, and the appearance of Sadako (the films antagonist) with her hair covered face (except for that one drifting eye) much more scary than anything with blood or gore could offer.

The film however is not perfect as it does have a few disjointed plot issues with some plot elements never resolved, especially surrounding the character of Sadako. Were these plot elements left unresolved on purpose for a possible sequel? Who knows but I wanted to know more. Also where did the tape come from? One character at one point mentions that "it wasn't made by people" or something along those lines. I found that as a weak explanation and a little more back-story on the tape itself would have been much more appreciated. The occurrences that happened to Sadako happened in the early 60's so why would her "spirit" want to make a cursed video tape. I highly doubt video tapes were popular in the 60's because...I don't know...they weren't invented yet? Also why would the curse kill the viewer exactly seven days later? There's a few too many issues left with no answers.

Despite some plot issues, I still found the film engrossing and extremely creepy. It seems the Japanese are the only people left that are able to truly make creepy ghost stories any more as American films are just throwing the suspense and scares out the window for violence and gore. Fans of good old fashioned ghost stories are highly recommend to hunt this import down. Ringu was so popular that it was followed by three sequels, three sequels that I will soon be happily visiting.

Written By Eric Reifschneider

No comments:

Post a Comment