Yesterday we talked about J-Horror hit Ju-On: The Grudge, today we are going to look at another Japanese film that had the American remake treatment. Today’s Favorite Flick is the one that set off America’s obsession with the Japanese horror genre. I’m talking, of course, about Ringu, the precurser to America’s The Ring.
Ringu (Ring) was originally released in Japan in 1998. The movie was directed by Hideo Nakata and was a big screen adaptation of a novel written by Koji Suzuki which tells the Japanese folk talk Bancho Sarayashiki. The movie starred Nanako Matsushima, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Rikiya Otaka as members of a family that have been cursed by a mysterious video tape.
Reiko is a new reporter who is working on a feature about the sudden death of her niece, and her friends, who had died exactly one week after watching the videotape. During her investigation she finds the tape, watches it, and brings the curse upon herself.
Reiko and her ex-husband Ryuji search for information aboout the mysterious tape and they learn that the woman that appears on the video is a dead psychic named Shizuko. Further investigation reveals that Shizuko’s daughter Sadako, who was killed 30 years earlier, is the angry force that created the curse. Reiko must work to decipher the tape in order to save her life, and the life of her son.
Like Ju-on, Ringu’s horror is very slow paced and psychological. The story is slightly different from the American version because the “father” character plays a much bigger role, and the little boy’s role is smaller. If you are into a “slow burn” rather than a multitude of special effects driven scares, Ringu will be a movie that you enjoy from start to finish.
Ringu has been remade in both the United States (The Ring) and in Korea (The Ring Virus) and has spawned several sequels both in its home country, and abroad. The Ring is the highest grossing horror movie in Japan, and has been voted the most frightening flick in that country as well. The movie single handedly revived the horror genre in Japan, and cleared the path for all of the other J-Horror flicks that we enjoy today.