Before there was the horror sensation that was The Ring, there was the classic Japanese horror film Ringu. January 31, 2018 marks the 20 year anniversary of this incredible piece of horror history that opened the door in the United States to many other great Asian films and remakes to follow. Today, we will take a fond look at this original, and still the best.
Based on the amazing book Ring by Koji Suzuki, the film opens up with the unexplained deaths of several teenagers who died with looks of agony on their faces. One of these kids is the niece of reporter Reiko Asakawa, and she begins to investigate the deaths.
She discovers that some of her niece’s friends also died the same night and that all of them had taken a trip to a cabin resort. There she finds a mysterious videotape with a curse seemingly attached to it. According to the rumors, you will die seven days after you view the videotape. She watches the tape, the phone rings, and her seven days begins.
Her desperation to find answers intensifies after her son watches the tape, so she joins forces with her psychic ex husband to find answers. The tape itself is a nightmarish jump cut of images including a girl named Sadako. She is the daughter of a famous psychic involved in a mysterious and horrific incident at a theater where several people died. Sadako is a child filled with both sorrow and tremendous rage. Lifting her curse will not be easy.
The cinematography in the film is bleak and stark, focusing on what is not seen rather than blood and gore. The genius of Ringu is how it builds up the atmosphere, making the final reveal at the end that is much more terrifying. This film truly shows what practical effects, sound and score can accomplish. Even 20 years later, Ringu remains a classic horror film that stands the test of time.