ONE CURSE, ONE CURE, ONE WEEK TO FIND IT.
Reporter Reiko Asakawa (Nanako Matsushima) gets her hands on a videotape that allegedly spells a certain death for anyone who watches it. The movie that terrified Japan also made director Hideo Nakata known to the world. The theme of helping the dead finally get some rest is not exactly novel, but an effective concept. The dangerous, eerie sequence that the reporter happens to see is well constructed; the spirit of the horrible little girl who appears on the tape is an important part of the creepy proceedings. Well-paced, without visual effects that go overboard; the well sequence is memorable and the surprise ending rather ingenious.
1998-Japan. 95 min. Color. Produced by Shinya Kawai, Takashige Ichise, Takenori Sento. Directed by Hideo Nakata. Screenplay: Hiroshi Takahashi. Novel: Koji Suzuki. Cinematography: Junichiro Hayashi. Cast: Nanako Matsushima (Reiko Asakawa), Miki Nakatani (Mai Takano), Hiroyuki Sanada (Ryuji Takayama), Yuko Takeuchi, Hitomi Sato, Yoichi Numata.
Trivia: Followed by a sequel, Ringu 2 (1999), and a prequel; it was also released simultaneously as another take on the story, Rasen, and also remade in South Korea in 1999 and the U.S. in 2002 (as The Ring). The franchise took a slightly different direction with Sadako 3D (2012).
Last word: “When I made the first one it was at a time when every kid in Japan, or almost all of them, were getting VCRs and television sets in their own rooms, not just in their houses. One person has their own TV sets and VCRs and that’s the most common item for them. And then there came the movie which is about a killer video and watching a tape which can kill. And that sounds pretty absurd but at the same time if it really happened in our life it would be really chilling. If the television screen would be the threshold to hell it would be really scary and because it is so common it is kind of realistically scary if you know what I mean. And I think that is the key element in why it became so successful I think.” (Nakata, Made in Atlantis)