A horror legend that spawned many a sequel and remake. Ringu is the original Japanese horror in the Ring series.
A film based on a novel based on Folklore, it is easy to see why Hideo Nakata’s film became so popular worldwide and why even to this day it and its whole family of films still inspire fear to any who watch it.
I think horror is always at its best when it takes the ordinary and makes it scary. The simple fact is that for most of Ringu the threat doesn’t come from a stalking figure but from a “curse” passed on through videotapes.
And I can tell you now back at the end part of the 90s I had many a story of picking up a VHS tape putting it on and having no idea what it was that I was watching. To pick up a quite innocent looking thing and to watch such a strange concoction of images then on said tape just to have a timer of a week on your life is something that scared me no end when I was younger.
And it really works without needed to have a ever physical presence terrorizing the main cast.
In fact most of the film we follow the main characters Reiko Asakawa (Nanako Matsushima) and Ryuji Takayama (Hiroyuki Sanada) trying to unravel a mystery surrounding Sadako Yamamura, the daughter of a psychic (Shizuko Yamamura), the girl who psionically created the tape and therein the curse.
Reiko thinks that to find Sadako and put her vengeful spirit to rest she’ll end the curse which haunts her, Ryuji and her son Yoichi.
The great thing about it though is that this isn’t just a vengeful spirit and there isn’t going to be a happy ever after, Sadako kills indiscriminately and the only way to survive is to pass the tape on in a ever more deadly circle.
As I said before it works for me because there is nothing “special” about the threat. We don’t have someone creeping in the shadows. A lot of the horror comes from the images, from what you see in the film. It is very bleak, it feels like there is no hope, Sadako herself is one of the creepiest looking “villains” that you could come up with because she quite simply is just a person who looks scary because we know she needs to be scary.
It works because there doesn’t need to be anything else to it.
There is just something that much more scary when you don’t see the face of your tormentor at every corner.
Who survives this film you’ll have to watch to find out but if you are a fan of the horror genre you will appreciate this film from start to end.