31 Scary Movies: ‘Ringu’

“Ringu” (1998) – “The Ring” (2002) starring Naomi Watts terrified audiences, but it was a remake of the Japanese original.  Whether or not one has seen the American version, director Hideo Nakata’s picture is a must-see.

As the film begins, teenage girls Tomoko (Yuko Takeuchi) and Masami (Hitomi Sato) joke around and gossip about boys while Tomoko’s parents are out watching a baseball game.  It’s late at night, so, of course, trading ghost stories seems completely appropriate, but the two get deadly serious when they realize the premise of a particular tale of terror actually happened to Tomoko.

Apparently, when someone watches a specific video tape – which contains strange black and white images, including scenes of a woman brushing her hair in a mirror, the word “eruption” and a shot of a lonely stone well – the viewer will immediately receive a phone call once the video ends and is promptly killed one week later.

The problem?

Tomoko “coincidentally” watched a weird video one week ago!

A television reporter named Reiko (Nanako Matsushima) and her ex-husband Ryuji (Hiroyuki Sanada) try to solve the mystery with some scant clues left on the tape, but they find themselves on a clouded and confusing journey.  Delving into the supernatural, each step towards the truth becomes more bizarre and unnerving, and Matsushima delivers a balanced and empathetic performance under a vicious environment that plays with Reiko’s vulnerability, but also her reporter’s tenacity.

If that weren’t enough, even Reiko’s little boy, Yoichi (Rikiya Otaka), becomes caught in the gnarled web, so she needs to find answers to deadly questions under very tight deadlines.

How long do they have?

One week.

Image credits: Toho; Trailer credits: Jegis (YouTube)

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