An effectively creepy, fear-inducing (not fear-reducing) film from Japanese director Hideo Nakata, who takes the superstitious curse on chain letters and actually applies it.Only, the shift has been made from letters to videos, and it doesn’t matter if you make copies or not, but once the phone call comes your time is up; the body is left in a ghastly contortion, almost frozen with the mouth gaping open. Like the Japanese often allude to, trouble is provoked via the youth, so one weekend spent at a resort amongst a group of teenagers spawns several weeks of havoc. The opening introduction, wherein the results of the curse are laid out, is methodically planned and executed. There is a strategy utilized that unearths revelation and succeeds with, alternating so as to avoid tedium, goosebumps, scares, jolts and gasps. A chilling, sudoriferous prognostication remains persistent early on (aided by the haunting score), and Nakata is not one to make waste of building tension. However, unlike Scream, its sequels and ilk, Ring doesn’t settle down on the lower road to wreak hell with over-sexed and under-educated teens. Business is dealt with them early on (and returns to them only when necessary), which then leads to the search provided by a young newspaper reporter (and divorced, single mother) to what an answer might be. Ring serves to be a refreshing alternative from the typical schlock of Hollywood slasher flicks, inasmuch as that the means of death needn’t be by “slashing.” On the downside (but not so far down as to bury it), considering that every minute counts because of the anathema, the film lacks any reliable sense of time. In junction with that, from scene to scene there is a lack of smooth segues. From that perspective, it gives off the illusion that the story will last longer than it really does, but the fact that I was hoping it would continue should speak loudly enough.
With Nanako Matsushima, Miki Nakatani, Rikiya Otaka and Hiroyuki Sanada.[Absolutely to be seen.]