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Investigating the inexplicable, near-simultaneous deaths of her young niece and three teenage friends, reporter Asakawa (Nanako Matsushima) learns of a story about a supernaturally cursed video-tape circulating among school kids. As soon as anyone has watched the tape, allegedly recorded by mistake from a dead TV channel, the telephone rings and the viewer has exactly a week to live. Those doomed are invisibly marked, but their images are distorted if photographed. Inevitably, Asakawa gets hold of the tape and watches it. The enigmatic collage of images include a coy woman combing her hair in a mirror, an old newspaper headline about a volcanic eruption, a hooded figure ranting, people crawling and a rural well. When the phone rings (a memorably exaggerated effect), Asakawa is convinced that the curse is active and calls in her scientist ex-husband Ryuji (Hiroyuki Sanada) to help. He watches a copy of the video a day after Asakawa is exposed and willingly submits himself to the curse. Even more urgency is added to their quest when their young son is unwittingly duped, apparently by the mystery woman from the tape, into watching the video too, joining the queue for a supernatural death.
On the DVD: For a film made in the digital era, the letterboxed (16:9) print is in mediocre state, with a noticeable amount of scratching, though the Dolby Digital soundtrack is superb, making this a film that's as scary to listen to as it is to watch (the squeamish might find themselves covering their ears rather than their eyes in some scenes). Otherwise, there are trailers for the first two Ring films and Audition, 10 stills, filmographies for the principals, a review by Mark Kermode, blurb-like extracts from other reviews and the ominous option of playing Sadako's video after a solemn disavowal of responsibility from the distributors! --Kim Newman
Language: Japanese Dolby Digital
Video Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen