Happy Thanksgiving!

Yes, it’s Canadian Thanksgiving Day, time to give thanks and enjoy such seasonal treats as dressed poultry, pumpkin pie, fall leaves, and Japanese horror movies. Koji Suzuki’s 1989 novel started a phenomenon, which includes a tv adaptation, a Japanese movie, sequels, a Korean remake, Hollywood’s The Ring (reviewed tomorrow), graphic novels, and a musical. The most influential adaptation is this 1998 film, from Japan.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info:

Director: Hideo Nakata

Writers: Koji Suzuki, Hiroshi Takahashi.

Features:
Nanako Matsushima…Reiko Asakawa
Miki Nakatani…Mai Takano
Hiroyuki Sanada…Ryuji Takayama
Yoichi Numata…Takashi Yamamuru
Masako…Shizuko Yamamuru
Rie Inout…Sadako Yamamuru
Chihiro Shirai…Sadako Yamamuru

Available at Amazon.com and Amazon. ca

Premise:

A sinister videotape circulates. If you watch it, you will die in seven days. A reporter who has watched the tape has a week to track its origins, and learns of a mysterious girl, Sadako Yamamuru.

High Points:

1. Several aspects of the ending work very well, picking up from a pace that lags a bit once we begin to uncover the secrets behind the film’s central mystery. The fully developed backstory- – something lacking in the American remake– means that all of the clues fit disturbingly together, and the ending has chilling implications.

And the eye. The ending has the eye.

2. The excellent use of sound throughout this film. The score can be overwrought, but it isn’t overused, and the director clearly took a keen interest in other sounds.

Low Points:

1. The cheesey “camera freeze” effect on the victims.

2. The Japanese apparently have a higher tolerance for expository dialogue and monologues than we do in the west.

The Scores:

Originality: 4/6 It’s an adaptation from a novel, but it makes some significant changes, and the world knows Sadako Yamamuru (largely) from this incarnation.

Effects: 5/6. The film has only a few real effects, but they work well.

Story: 6/6:

Acting: 5/6:

Production: 6/6

Emotional Response: 5/6

Overall: 5/6.

In total, Ringu receives 36/42.

Additional Comments

So, who is creepier: Japan’s Sadako Yamamuru or America’s Samara Morgan? Tomorrow’s review of The Ring will end with an extended “Additional Comments” that will compare the two films.

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