#317 -- Ringu (1998)

Director: Hideo Nakata
Rating: 3 / 5

I have a confession to make. Sometimes, I like to pretend I'm cool because I watch foreign movies. But truthfully, sometimes I just don't get them. For the most part, I do really enjoy Asian horror movies, but I can hardly call myself an expert on the subject. Sometimes I just can't get behind them. So, if you catch me saying something like "That's a remake of [insert Asian movie title], you should watch the original," don't pay attention. I'm just talking shit. I actually have no idea what I'm talking about.

That being said, I only slightly enjoyed Ringu. While the story behind it is definitely intriguing and terrifying, the movie itself just failed to give me that special feeling. The story here follows Asakawa, a reporter who finds herself surrounded by the mysterious legend of a killer video tape. She was researching and talking to locals about this tape, when her niece died. She came to believe that her death had something to do with the tape, so she took her research to another level. She ended up in possession of the tape and found herself with only one week to live. Her ex husband helps her in her research, and the search to find a cure for this "curse."

At the basics of it, the remake is the same. It's got the same basic story and follows a woman, her husband (or ex, I can't remember if they went the same way there), and their son. But the remake had several things that this one didn't. For one thing, this one just wasn't scary. There were a few scenes that I assume were meant as jump scares, but they just didn't set in. Even the typical Asian-horror theme -- the creepy, long, black hair -- didn't work very well for me. I think the terror here lies in the "what-if". The idea of this kind of thing happening to you is absolutely terrifying. The idea that you know, without a doubt, that you're going to die in a week...and you're racing the clock to figure out how to prevent that is scary as hell. But watching it on screen just didn't do anything for me. The majority of the time was spent with the characters doing research and travelling back and forth between locations.

There was one interesting concept that I don't remember being present in the remake -- that Sadako and her mother had magical powers, and that is what led to their deaths. Her mother was a psychic, and Sadako was able to kill people simply by wishing it. But other than that, it was generally unremarkable. I've seen Ringu 0, which is a prequel to this one, and I enjoyed it more. It focuses on Sadako's life before she was killed. Even though I can hardly classify it as horror as it's not scary either, it's an extremely sad story that I could get behind simply because of the emotions.

So, here we have something very rare. I actually liked the American version better. I thought it was scarier, it explained the ghostly occurrences better, and it succeeded in getting under my skin. When I first saw it, I was worried that I'd be afraid to watch television anymore. That didn't happen, of course, but you get my point. It left a mark. This one didn't.

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