• An analysis of the Ring franchise: Second part: Rasen / Spiral (1998) - Suicide meets science and the supernatural - 8/10

    Rasen / Spiral (1998)

    Spiral is a direct sequel to Japanese cult horror movie Ring and both movies were released simultaneously which underlines the franchise's experimental, fresh and groundbreaking approach right from the start. While Ring has been met with critical acclaim at home and abroad, Spiral has been met with mixed to negative reviews and has almost been completely ignored abroad. As a matter of fact, an alternative sequel titled Ring 2 was hastily shot and released one year later. Spiral was criticized for its unusual scientific approach to the genre, the introduction of completely new characters and the fact that the lead character of the first film and her son die off the screen and have no significant role in this sequel.

    The movie focuses on suicidal pathologist Ando Mitsuo who examines the body of his deceased colleague Takayama Ryuji. He has mysterious visions while examining the body and finds a cryptic note in his colleague's stomach. He starts investigating and soon learns about the cursed tape that his colleague watched a week before his demise. Soon enough, his colleague's ex-wife and son perish in a mysterious automobile accident. Obsessed with the case, Ando Mitsuo contacts the shady boss of the deceased investigative journalist. He also gets in touch with his colleague's former student and secret lover Takano Mai. The two solitary souls soon develop a sexual bond. They are determined to destroy all existing copies of the cursed tape. However, they soon realize that things might be more complicated than they had initially anticipated.

    While Spiral wasn't met with critical acclaim, it's certainly an underestimated entry in the franchise that innovates instead of repeating patterns of its immediate predecessor. The film finds the right balance between new scientific approaches explaining the cursed tape and supernatural elements that conclude the movie on an otherworldly tone. The idea to develop the quiet student Takano Mai into the professor's secret lover and sidekick of the pathologist adds much depth to the story. The protagonist is also quite intriguing and turns out to be a haunted soul who attempts to commit suicide in the very first scene of the film which is quite shocking.

    Spiral has the same gloomy atmosphere and sluggish pace as the predecessor but differs in all other departments. The scientific explanations are baffling, the suicidal protagonist is rather creepy and the supernatural conclusion seems like an antithesis to the grounded introduction. The movie experiments a lot and not all ideas might end up working out. However, Spiral deserves acclaim and attention as it pushes an already experimental horror franchise even further. The movie is filled with stunning details that justify watching it on multiple occasions. It's certainly the most creative, daring and intellectual entry in the franchise. Ignore the surprisingly negative comments and revisit this forgotten gem of the Ring franchise to make up your own mind about this unusual entry.

    « An analysis of the Ring franchise: First part: Ringu / Ring (1998) - Frolic in brine, goblins be thine - 7/10An analysis of the Ring franchise: Third part: Ringu 2 / Ring 2 (1999) - The sequel that saved the franchise - 8/10 »
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