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There is an urban legend that says that somewhere out there there is
a video that kills you within 7 days after watching it. Nosey reporter
Reiko (Nanako Matsushima),
who had a death in her family linked to that video, wants to get to the
bottom of it all, & soon finds the video, watches it, receives a
phonecall immediately afterwards stating "You saw it" (part of
the same urban legend), & suddenly knows she is doomed, with only 7
more days to live. Out of despair, she calls her ex-husbband Ryuji
(Hiroyuki Sanada), who watches the video, too, before they try to find
clues to end the video's deadly curse - though they have nothing to go
on but the video itself, &, to make matters worse, Yoichi (Rikiya
Otaka), their son soon watches the video, too. Still they soon come
across the story of Shizuko (Masako), a mystic woman on remote island
Oshima who did predict volcanic eruptions 40 years ago & was soon
abused as a media attraction by a professor & one day jumped into a
volcano. As it turns out, she had a daughter, Sadako, though, who had
much greater mystic (or as we would say today, ESP) powers than her
& could kill by thought alone. She was thrown into a well though by
her father & left there to die - but her fury was manifested on the
cursed videotape. With time running out & Reiko's death only hours
away, she & Ryuji race to said well & try to set Sadako's spirit
free after 40 years. In the nick of time, they find the poor girl's
corpse, & Reiko doesn't die after all, seemingly Sadako's spirit was
laid to rest ...
The next day though, Ryuji dies the very same way all
other victims of the cursed video died. Could Reiko just have been saved
because she copied & passed on the video ?
One of the
very few great horror movies of the 1990's, Ringu - already the
2nd adaptation of Koji Suzuki's not so great novel - works precisely because of its
relative lack of special effects or fancy but meaningless camerawork,
instead relying on a deliberately slow pace, atmospheric direction and the ability to tell a complete
story despite leaving many a question unanswered.
It did spawn 3
sequels (Rasen/Spiral, Ringu 2 & Ringu 0)
plus a tv series as well as a Korean remake (Ring Virus), none of
it equalling this movie's quality, though. Then, in 2002 the airheads of
DreamWorks in America thought it a good idea to do an American remake
with WASP-actors as to not overtax the viewers with Asians in a good
movie. Don't watch that one, though !!!