Japanese film poster
|Directed by||Hideo Nakata|
|Produced by||Taka Ichise|
|Written by||Hiroshi Takahashi
by Koji Suzuki
|Music by||Kenji Kawai|
|Editing by||Nobuyuki Takahashi|
|Distributed by||Toho Company Ltd.|
|Running time||95 minutes|
|Box office||¥1,000,000,000 ($13,005,000)|
Ring (リング Ringu ) is a 1998 Japanese horror film by Hideo Nakata, adapted from the novel Ring by Kōji Suzuki, which in turn draws on the Japanese folk tale Banchō Sarayashiki. The film stars Nanako Matsushima, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Rikiya Ōtaka as members of a divorced family. The film was later remade in the US as The Ring (2002).
Two teenagers, Masami (Hitomi Satō) and Tomoko (Yūko Takeuchi), talk about a videotape recorded by a boy in Izu, which is fabled to bear a curse that kills the viewer seven days after watching. Tomoko then reveals that a week ago, she and three of her friends watched a weird tape and received a call after watching it. Unnervingly similar to the storied videotape, Masami realizes that Tomoko was fated to die. After some unsettling moments, Tomoko is killed by an unseen force with Masami having the horror of watching.
Some days later, Reiko Asakawa (Nanako Matsushima), a reporter investigating the popularity of the video curse among teenagers, discovers that her niece, Tomoko and her three other friends mysteriously died at the same time on the same night with their faces twisted in a rictus of fear. She also discovers that Masami, the girl who was with Tomoko when she died, became insane and is now in a mental hospital. After stumbling upon Tomoko's photos from the past week, Reiko finds out that the four teenagers stayed in a rental cabin in Izu. Eventually, she flips to a photo of the teens with their faces blurred and distorted.
Later, Reiko goes to Izu and finds an unlabeled tape in the reception room of the rental cottage where the teenagers stayed. Watching the tape inside Cabin B4, Reiko sees a series of seemingly unrelated disturbing images. As soon as the tape is over, Reiko sees a reflection in the television, and as she turns to see nobody behind her she receives a phone call, a realization of the tell-tale videotape curse. She now assumes that she has a week to live.
On the first day, Reiko enlists the help of her ex-husband, Ryūji Takayama (Hiroyuki Sanada). They take a picture of Reiko and find her face blurred in the photograph, further confirming that Reiko really is cursed. Ryūji then watches the tape, against Reiko's objections. A day later, Reiko creates a copy for Ryūji for them to study. They find a hidden message embedded within the tape saying that "frolic in brine, goblins be thine". The message is in a form of dialect from Izu Ōshima Island. That night, Reiko catches her young son Yoichi watching the videotape; he claims that Tomoko had told him to do it. Reiko and Ryūji sail for Ōshima and discover the history of the great psychic Shizuko Yamamura, who was accused of faking supernatural powers; Yamamura committed suicide because of this.
With only a day left, Reiko and Ryūji discover that the videotape was made psionically by Shizuko's lost daughter, Sadako Yamamura, whose supernatural powers surpassed even those of her mother. The two go back to Izu with the assumption that Sadako is dead and it was her vengeful spirit (Onryō) that killed the teenagers. The duo then uncover a well under Cabin B4 and realize, through a vision, that Sadako's father killed her and threw her into the well. They try to empty the well and find Sadako's body in an attempt to appease her spirit. Minutes before her seven days are up, Reiko finally finds Sadako's corpse at the bottom. When nothing happens to Reiko, they believe that the curse is broken.
All seems fine until the next day when Ryūji is at his home and his TV switches on by itself, showing the image of a well. He stares in horror as the ghost of Sadako crawls out of the well and out of Ryūji's TV set and frightens him into a state of shock, therefore killing him via cardiac arrest. Before dying, he manages to dial Reiko's number; she hears his last minutes over the phone and realizes the videotape's curse remains unbroken. Desperate to find a cure to save her son, Reiko realized that what she had done—and that Ryūji had not—saved her: copying the tape and showing it to someone else. With a VCR and Ryūji's copy of the tape, Reiko travels to see her son in an attempt to save him, realizing that this is a never-ending cycle: The tape must always be copied and passed on to ensure the survival of the viewers.
- Nanako Matsushima as Reiko Asakawa
- Hiroyuki Sanada as Ryūji Takayama
- Rikiya Ōtaka as Yōichi Asakawa
- Miki Nakatani as Mai Takano
- Yūko Takeuchi as Tomoko Ōishi
- Hitomi Satō as Masami Kurahashi
- Yōichi Numata as Takashi Yamamura
- Yutaka Matsushige as Yoshino
- Katsumi Muramatsu as Kōichi Asakawa
- Masako as Shizuko Yamamura
- Rie Inō as Sadako Yamamura
Screenwriter Hiroshi Takahashi and director Hideo Nakata collaborated to work on the script after reading Suzuki's novel and watching Ringu: Jiko ka! Henshi ka! 4-tsu no inochi wo ubau shôjo no onnen (Ring: Accident?! Or Unnatural Death?! The Young Girl Whose Hatred Steals Four Lives), Fuji Television Network's 1995 made-for-TV film, directed by Chisui Takigawa. However, the TV version was re-edited and released on VHS under a new title, Ringu: Kanzenban (Ring: The Complete Edition). Nakata did not state which TV version he and Takahashi watched.
In their film script, Takashi and Nakata amended the protagonist's gender (from male to female), name (from Kazuyuki Asakawa to Reiko Asakawa), marital status (from married to divorced) and child's gender and name (from daughter Yoko to son Yoichi).
With the budget of 1.2 million USD, the entire production took nine months and one week. According to director Nakata, the script and pre-production process took three or four months, shooting five weeks and post-production four months.
The special effects on the cursed videotape and some parts in the films was shot on a 35 mm film which was passed on in a laboratory in which a computer added a 'grainy' effect. One part of the film in which extended visual effects were used is the part in which the ghost of Sadako Yamamura climbs out of the television. First, they shot the Kabuki Theater actress Rie Ino'o walking backwards in a jerky, exaggerated motion. They then played the film in reverse to portray an unnatural-looking walk for Sadako.
Upon release in Japan, Ring became the highest grossing film in the country.
Critics praised the film for creating a spooky atmosphere. Michael Thomson of BBC Films rated it four out of five stars, saying: "Its story is constructed around a beautifully simple idea, that those who watch an extremely unnerving, grainy video (and receive a phone call immediately afterwards), will die exactly one week later, always with a severely twisted, freaked-out expression on their faces." Christopher Null of filmcritic.com said, "Ring is very atmospheric and often creepy, especially in its last half hour, but it's hardly chilling enough to keep you up at night."
Sequels and remakes
There are two sequels shot in Japan: Rasen (also from 1998, aka Spiral) and Ring 2 (from 1999, and which was not based on Suzuki's works), as well as a prequel, Ring 0: Birthday (2000). There was also a Korean remake (called Ring in Korea and The Ring Virus abroad). A video game, known as The Ring: Terror's Realm in the U.S., was also released in 2000 for the Dreamcast.
In 2002, an American adaptation was created, The Ring, which gained a sequel, The Ring Two. The first film follows the original closely although plot elements are altered or added in and Sadako Yamamura is reformed into Samara Morgan. The international success of the Japanese films launched a revival of horror filmmaking in Japan that resulted in such pictures as Kiyoshi Kurosawa's 2001 film Pulse (known as Circuit (回路 Kairo ) in Japan), Takashi Shimizu's The Grudge (呪怨 Juon ) (2000), Hideo Nakata's Dark Water (仄暗い水の底から Honogurai mizu no soko kara , literally From the Depths of Dark Water), also based on a short story by Suzuki), and Higuchinsky's Uzumaki (2000, aka Vortex, based on the Junji Itō horror manga of the same name).
Sadako 3D, based on Kōji Suzuki's 2012 follow-up novel S, was released on May 12, 2012. In March 2013, it was announced that second sequel, titled Sadako 3D2, would be released nationwide August 30, 2013.
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- 最も怖いジャパニーズホラー映画ランキングTOP10！ ニュース-ORICON STYLE
- http://www.theringworld.com/anolis.php Well, of course, the first thing I did was read the book, following which I and [scriptwriter] Takahashi Hiroshi spent about six months thinking about the screenplay. I also watched the TV version.
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- Snowblood Apple's Ring Cycle article - an overview of all Ring films.