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Overall Rating

Awesome: 36.76%
Worth A Look50%
Average: 7.35%
Pretty Bad: 1.47%
Total Crap: 4.41%

4 reviews, 44 user ratings

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by MP Bartley

"Be careful with this one Hollywood..."
4 stars

...cos it's damn scary and it sure as hell doesn't need a ham-fisted remake. Whether the remake is a botched job is another review however, as we're just looking at the Japanese original here.

You know the kind of horror movies that make you view everyday occurences or items in a new, suspicious light? How 'The Shining' made anyone who later had to walk down a long hotel corridor by themselves just that little bit more nervous? How 'The Blair Witch Project' made camping their least ideal choice of holiday for unsuspecting cinemagoers?

You can add 'Ring' to that list. Because it makes the hiss and white static of a tv screen un-naturally threatening in a way that even 'Poltergeist' couldn't manage.

Reiku is a young journalist who has suffered a death in the family. Her young niece has been found dead, her face contorted in fear, cause of death unknown. What's more disturbing is that it's not a one off. A spate of similiar deaths has been afflicting the local teenagers. The one thing they all have in common is that they have all partaked in an urban legend. Specificially, a videotape of mysterious images has been doing the rounds. Anyone who watches it then receives a phone call telling them that they'll die in a weeks time. And die they do. Leaving Reiku and sceptical ex-husband Ryuji to investigate the origin of the tape.

If Gore Verbinski's remake can capture just half of the atmospherics, then it'll be twice as scary as your average stalk and slash. 'Ring' has a uniquely creepy and haunting feel that'll make you leave the lights on at night. Throughout the film, there's a feeling of impending dread that works its way under the skin. This means when the more expected 'jumps' they're so much more effective because the films worked to give them a context and resonance, and not just as a cheap shock.

It also doesn't play out like a slaughterhouse. The onscreen death count is low, but this doesn't diminish the horror, if anything it increases it as the deaths come as more of a shock.

And that's to not even mention one truly great physically-cower-and-gnaw-your-knuckles-moment. Don't let anyone tell you what it is or where any of the scares come from. It's unfair and the best way to watch 'Ring' is to go into it blind. Like a lot of the great horrors, the terror's in the small details such as the half glimpsed images on the tape, or the briefly seen corpses of the teenagers.

No, it's not perfect. The acting's perfunctory and far from outstanding, while some of the revelations and explanations require a huge leap of logic that undoes some of the great work that's already gone on. And it ends on one of those slyly ambigious endings that will leave some frustated.

But the crisp and confident direction coupled to a pace that while far from breathless is never slow, means 'Ring' gives a case of the creeps that will stay with you long after you stop the video and turn the tv off. And then unplug it from the wall. And then move it outside, just in case.

It's debatable where 'Ring' gets its power from. Is it a uniquely Japanese horror or will this urban legend translate anywhere? Time will tell but no matter what the remake turns out like, there'll always be the original. Go on, lend the tape to a friend. See what happens...

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 11/01/02 05:52:25
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User Comments

4/08/16 David Hollingsworth A truly terrifying film that gets under your skin and stays there. 5 stars
10/27/08 blarginbadigalnohif the scariest movie of all time 5 stars
9/29/07 Bitchflaps Both versions of the Grudge are awful, as is the remake of this gem. 4 stars
2/06/07 David Pollastrini better than The Ring 5 stars
9/05/06 Bitchflaps The laughably poor remake will not alter this film's status as a cult favourite. 4 stars
8/16/06 anthonyuk far superior to the remake, excellent 5 stars
3/28/06 Idon'tneedtotellyoumyname Yeah right. Who could be scared by this? It's practically "The Grudge" or Ju-On. 1 stars
3/16/06 He11zz Scarry till drop 4 stars
9/27/05 . a must-see 5 stars
8/25/05 Eden It's not the god's gift of horror films like film geeks would have u believe 3 stars
6/01/05 Indrid Cold Naturally, film geeks hate the Hollywood version, but it blows away the Japanese version. 3 stars
4/12/05 t-1000 scary as heck 5 stars
3/26/05 ELI see the remake first, so then you'll realize how stupid + unscary this crap is. 1 stars
1/13/05 SAKURAZUKAMORI Much, much, MUCH better then the remake. 5 stars
11/16/04 Dunce Arty horror film w/great visuals & far superior to the crappy American remake or sequel. 5 stars
11/04/04 Tierra Holmes It's not that good 2 stars
8/10/04 kyotomatt my sister, not knowing Japanese, watched this movie and STILL was scared 5 stars
6/07/04 horror_blood BTW, the evil tape is almost completely different from the USA one. 4 stars
6/07/04 horror_blood Good movie, kinda boring, but don't expect it to be THAT MUCH better than the USA one. 4 stars
5/09/04 krishnakbs try sleeping after watching the movie -- its impossible.. 5 stars
5/02/04 pankaj kumbhar donot give background of movie. 1 stars
3/09/04 Charles Tatum Actually, good, but not as good as the remake 4 stars
2/23/04 Naturezrevenge Didn't scare me as much as the remake, but nonetheless, a good, round horror. Ringu2 better 4 stars
1/04/04 Mark Decent horror. 4 stars
1/01/04 Ingo Decent horror/drama - watch when alone... 4 stars
8/13/03 Jonel Only horror movie to ever leave a lasting impression long after watching the film! 5 stars
7/21/03 shish i scare easily but this bored the crap out of me. great idea though for a story 3 stars
6/14/03 Earl Dittman, Wireless Magazine Gore Verbinski's remake is full of cheese. This one is the best! 5 stars
4/27/03 Jenna The American remake is five times better. Don't waste your time with this. It's just ok. 3 stars
4/08/03 Dead Ringers FX rules! This is a fun and original movie. Better than original. And more expensive. 4 stars
4/01/03 Kyle Depends on which you've seen first. 4 stars
3/16/03 .Choadushouse. It's genius, but doesnt compare after seeing the American remake. Both truly horrifying! 4 stars
3/10/03 Film Dude I guess I went in with too high of expectations... 4 stars
3/10/03 Drehia Scared the hell out of me and I don't scare easy 5 stars
2/20/03 Dave Scary as Hell, but doesn't withstand repeated watchings. 4 stars
1/23/03 jack turdbret cool movie 4 stars
12/24/02 TheBomb69 slow to develop but the ending made it worthwhile 4 stars
12/21/02 palaboy101 A truly creepy movie. The American remake captures most of it's suspense, if not all. 5 stars
12/18/02 Chiendog Spielberg bought domestic rights so Dreamworks studios could remake it! What an asshole! 5 stars
10/31/02 Christos Nice Acting 5 stars
10/28/02 Joseph James I unplugged my TV for three days after seeing this, True horror. 5 stars
10/16/02 Amanda Great 5 stars
8/01/02 Kallisti_93 As good as Exorcist, and what Blair Witch wanted to be. Best horror is YEARS. 5 stars
7/21/02 sdjfsdkjf average but turned around completely in the last 5 minutes into scary stuff. Bastards. 3 stars
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