An analysis of the Ring franchise: First part: Ringu / Ring (1998) - Frolic in brine, goblins be thine - 7/10
Ring is the first movie of the famous Japanese horror film franchise based upon Nakata Hideo's cult novel of the same title from the early nineties. The movie was released simultaneously with its direct sequel Spiral. The former movie was met with critical acclaim at home and abroad and led to the creation of a series of influential Japanese horror movies such as The Grudge, Pulse and Dark Water during the next few years.
This movie is different from its more violent, fast and explicit Western counterparts of the nineties. Ringu has a slow and at times even dragging pace. It attempts to tell a detailed story with intriguing characters instead of focusing on bloodshed and visual effects. The movie relies on its sinister atmosphere and avoids predictable jump scares. Only the final thirty minutes quicken up the pace and conclude in the franchise's most memorable scene.
The film deals with a cursed videotape that kills whoever watches it within a week. After the tragic death of her niece, investigative reporter Asakawa Reiko wants to get more information about the mysterious short film. She finds the tape in a remote cabin where her niece and her friends had stayed for a weekend. Intrigued by the gloomy urban legend, Reiko watches the tape herself and soon feels cursed, isolated and nervous. She asks her intellectual ex-husband Takayama Ryuji for help. Things become more tense when their son unsuspectingly also watches the cursed tape. The professor and the reporter must travel to the island of Izu Oshima where parts of the tape seem to have been recorded. They discover that a psychic who committed suicide and her mysteriously vanished daughter seem to be related to the tape but their family members react with open hostility towards the investigations. As time is running out for the mother, father and son, they have to solve the origin of the curse to save their lives.
If you expect Ring to be scary, intense and brutal, you should avoid watching it. This is a highly atmospheric, character-driven and slow-paced horror movie. Its target audience are people who are interested in Japanese culture and prefer a more intellectual approach to drama, horror and mystery genres. Ring is certainly an unusual approach for Western audiences and can be considered an acquired tense. Despite a few lengths, Ring is however creative, detailed and profound enough to keep you watching until the very end. Thanks to its uniqueness, this film ultimately deserves its excellent reputation as pioneer movie that brought Japanese horror cinema to international acclaim.« Eagles du Cap-Breton contre Olympiques de Gatineau, le 15 février 2020An analysis of the Ring franchise: Second part: Rasen / Spiral (1998) - Suicide meets science and the supernatural - 8/10 »