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have you watched yet? have you watched yet?
have you watched yet? have you watched yet?
"P l a y  i n  t h e  b r i n e,   G o b l i n s  w i l l   b e  t h i n e"
Ring was reviewed by Mark Vallen - August, 2000
RING (Ringu) is a traditional style Japanese Ghost story updated for the digital age... but it's also one of the smartest Gothic Horror stories ever committed to film! Made by Hideo Nakata in 1999, a subtitled version of the film premiered in Los Angeles during the Egyptian Theatre's Horror and Science Fiction Film Festival of August 2000. We here at the BLACK MOON were amongst the handful of movie buffs lucky enough to enjoy the showing of this remarkable cinematic experiment in terror. RING has the feel of an ancient Ghost story told by old Japanese Fishermen. It could have been a story from Lafcadio Hearn's 1903 book based on Japanese tales of the supernatural
(KWAIDAN, or "Weird Tales").

RING is an intrinsically Japanese yarn so chilling that even the most jaded Westerner cannot watch it without their blood running cold and their hair standing on end! The brilliance of RING is the way in which the film embraces the aesthetics of Japan's traditional Ghost story while presenting it's tale in a thoroughly modern context. The movie succeeds in making computers, televisions, and video tapes seem unearthly and threatening. In the film, modernity offers no refuge from the vengeful spirits of the netherworld.

Sadako was... different
The frightful saga centers on Reiko Asakawa, a Female reporter investigating rumors of a video tape that brings about the death of all who view it within seven days. Being a journalist, Reiko-san cannot help the impulse to view the mysterious video once she acquires it. At first the tape's disjointed imagery seems bizarre and nonsensical... so Reiko-san enlists the help of her ex-Husband Ryuji Takayama (who also views the tape). Together they try to solve the video's riddle, but it's true meaning slowly becomes apparent to them... it is a curse from beyond the grave and they are doomed for having watched it! They have only seven days left to live.

Ryuji-san manages to translate part of the nightmare tape's audio... a rant spoken in an obscure dialect that proclaims; "... play in the brine and Goblins will be thine." It is a major clue that sends Reiko-san and Ryuji-san off to confront the resident evil behind the cursed tape. Their investigation succeeds in discovering the root cause behind the haunted video tape, but this hardly lessens their plight. The traumatized couple soon finds their predicament only growing worse. In the final terrifying moments of the film, the supernatural and material worlds collide with more intensity than Western film goers have seen in decades. Not since Robert Wise's original THE HAUNTING (1963), has a Ghost story actually managed to unnerve me so completely.
first you watch...

RING, which is based on a set of best-selling books by Suzuki Koji, has been a tremendous box office hit all across Asia. It has spawned two sequel films in Japan ("RING 2" and "RING 0"), and even a two volume manga set drawn by artist Inagaki Misao. The images illustrating this review come from Misao's marvelously spooky manga.

RING is a fairly low budget film, but it doesn't suffer in the least for this due to its superior story telling. There are no grandiose special affects or other contrivances to distract from the eerie tale that is at the film's core. RING is the movie that THE BLAIR WITCH project should have been... lavish in detail and complexity, sophisticated in it's meshing of the metaphysical with the modern, and thoroughly chilling in its entirety. I cannot recommend this macabre masterpiece highly enough! It is truly a pinnacle film of it's genre.
... then you die.

Since we first saw the film in 2000, moviegoers will be well aware that an Hollywood remake of the film, also called "The Ring" and starring Naomi Watts, has since been made, with a sequel, "The Ring Two", following soon after. While we will decline to comment on the remakes here, most film critics will agree that the original version of a film is always the best. The good news is, that the popularity of the Hollywood version inspired Universal to release the original film in subtitled DVD format! Now you can see for yourself the film that started all the commotion... click on the Amazon link at the top of this page to judge for yourself!

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