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Ringu [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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The story is straightforward: a group of teenagers have died under strange circumstances, seemingly scared to death. A rumour is going around that the deaths have something to do with a cursed videotape: you watch it, then, a week later, you die.
A journalist finds the video and watches it. Determined to get to the root cause, and beginning to believe in the curse, she and her ex-husband find themselves in a race against time to solve the mystery.
For most of the film, you feel that Ring is creepy rather than scary, a well-acted, well-directed mystery story rather than a full-on horror movie. There are no expensive special effects, and the film prefers to hint at its horrors rather than put them on full view.
The finale, though, is something else. Simple, effective, and devastatingly scary; the director know to let the suspense build, and let your imagination do the hard work. It was still scaring me a week after watching it...
Like all the best ghost story tellers, Nakata spends almost the whole time hinting that he's going to scare the pants off you -- any minute now. There are numerous passages of uncanny creepiness, tension and anxiety, yet only one sequence of all-out terror. But that's all he needs; by the time it comes you're so unsettled that the pay-off is truly devastating. Best of all, Nakata goes for the standard 'just-when-you-think it's over' ploy, but in this case it's crucial to the plot rather than arbitrarily tagged on.
I watched the movie several days ago and it's still bothering me. I'm just glad I didn't watch it alone. M R James would have loved 'Ring', and there's no higher praise than that.
The story is simple. There is a "wierd video" that a group of friends watched on holiday. As soon as it finished, the phone rang and a voice told them they had a week to live. One week later and they are all found dead, their faces contorted into looks of abject terror. A young female journalist starts investigating the story and finds the tape. It's certainly wierd. She finishes it, and the phone rings.....
What follows is unlike any other horror movie you'll have seen. This film will scare you, and never shows any blood or gore. The closest you'll get to that is the famous "eye" shot. In a way, it's very much a traditional ghost story in the style of M.R. James, or even H.P. Lovecraft, and leaves you with that sense of creeping horror...
Call me a wimp if you like, but this film DID frighten me. Especially due to the worryingly high number of phone calls I was recieving during watching it.......
If this were a US film it would be laughable. Instead, Ring plays with urban myth in a way that Hollywood has tried but failed to do well. Indeed the plot outline could be from any recent teen chiller. But the approach here is more adult and not for laughs. By extending the threat to loved ones and setting it within one week, the director instills a feeling of mounting dread.
The killer tape itself is all the more unsettling because it seems to make no sense - a series of weird images, and its grainy look makes it seem quite real. The rest of the film as a whole has a washed-out blue look throughout, suitably suggesting mourning and cold. It is lovingly shot, especially the opening titles when the sea drifts in and out of TV static. The acting is good, though as the main review says above the picture quality suffers from white spot syndrome.
Unsettling. In a good way.
HOWEVER... the quality of the print used for this DVD is atrocious. Watching the original VHS copy on a 21" TV, it's fine as the low resolution of tape masks the awful quality.
This DVD on a bog-standard 21" pan'n'scan TV is okay too, but obviously not of the greatest quality.
However I was shocked, when watching this DVD on a 28" Widescreen TV to note 'cigarette burns' and scratches throughout. At the start of the final scene there is a diagonal scratch which covers almost all of the screen!
Add to that the burnt-in (and therefore illegible) white subtitles and you have a terrible version of a modern movie.
The version from the US is much, much better, and hopefully Tartan's upcoming Ring trilogy box will be the same. Hold off buying this for now. I wish I had.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Far-fetched and long-winded, but worth it for the "crawling from the television" scene at the finale.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Ok the ring maybee scary to many but seeimg the ring and ringu they bpth are typical paranormal films which brag on, i will be fair and say ringu is the best one better than its... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
I bought this having been told it was very scary but when I watched it didn't think much to it. wasn't very scary think the re make is much better and more frighteningPublished 3 months ago by marie skinner
Great film. Again another classic. great service all around from this seller.Published 17 months ago by mr luke hall
I bought this item in good faith as a way of keeping my four-year-old nephew and two-year-old niece entertained of an afternoon when they come to stay, as I recall the television... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Mr Sumal