Ring (1998)

Japan, 1997
98m
colour
Dolby, DTS, Japanese
Reviewed at The EOFFTV Review

A Japanese horror film directed by Hideo Nakata. It followed a TV adaptation of Koji Suzuki’s novel, Ring: Jiko ka! Henshi ka! 4-tsu no inochi wo ubau shôjo no onnen (1995), later released on video in re-edited form as Ring: Kanzenban (1995)) and popularised contemporary Japanese cinema horror in the west.

Premise

After her cousin Tomoko and three of her friends all mysteriously die at the same time but in different places, reporter Reiko investigates. She begins to hears rumours of a sinister video recording of a TV broadcast that can kill anyone who watches it exactly one week later. She watches the tape herself and strange thinks start to happen. With the help of her ex-husband, she discovers that the recording on the tape is the psychic projection of Sadako, a young psychic girl murdered many years ago. But time is now running out for Reiko as Sadako prepares to take her revenge from beyond the grave…

Credits

Crew
Directed by: Hideo Nakata
Kadokawa Shoten Publishing Company Ltd, Pony Canyon, Toho Co Ltd, Imagica, Asmik Ace Entertainment, Omega Project , Ace Pictures
Executive Producer: Masato Hara
Producers: Takashige Ichise, Shinya Kawai, Takenori Sento
Screenplay: Hiroshi Takahashi
Novel: Suzuki Kôji
Director of Photography: Junichirô Hayashi
Editor: Nobuyuki Takahashi
Music: Kenji Kawai
Special Make-up Co-ordinator: Takuya Wada
Special Effects: Hajime Matsumoto
Visual Effects Supervisor: Hajime Matsumoto
Production Designer: Iwao Saito

Cast
Nanako Matsushima (Reiko Asakawa)
Miki Nakatani (Mai Takano)
Hiroyuki Sanada (Ryuji Takayama)
Yuko Takeuchi (Tomoko Oishi)
Hitomi Sato (Masami Kurahashi)
Yoichi Numata (Takashi Yamamura)
Yutaka Matsushige (Yoshino)
Katsumi Muramatsu (Koichi Asakawa)
Rikiya Otaka (Yoichi Asakawa)
Masako (Shizuko Yamamura)
Daisuke Ban (Doctor Heihachiro Ikuma)
Kiyoshi Risho (Omiya the cameraman)
Yurei Yanagi (Okazaki)
Yôko Ôshima (Reiko’s aunt)
Kiriko Shimizu (Ryomi Oishi)
Orie Izuno (Sadako Yamamura)
Hiroyuki Watanabe (Hayatsu)
Miwako Kaji (Kazue Yamamura)
Yoko Kima, Asami Nagata, Yukiko Shimodaira (junior high schoolgirls)
Keiko Yoshida, Yoshiko Matsumaru, Yoho Naose (senior high schoolgirls)

Alternative Titles

Ringu
The Ring – alternative English language title

Sequels
Rasen (1998)
Ringu 2 (1998)
Ringu: Saishusho (1999)
Sadako 3D (2012)
Sadako 3D 2 (2013)
Sadako vs Kayako (2016)

Prequel
Ringu 0: Baasudei (2000)

Remake of
Ring: Jiko ka! Henshi ka! 4-tsu no inochi wo ubau shôjo no onnen (1995)

Remakes
Ring (1999)
The Ring (2002)

See also
Rings (2005)
The Ring Two (2005)
Rings (2016)

Press

2000
The Times 17 August 2000 Section 2 p.18
There are no clunks in the night. There are pieces of old video that play across the mind’s eye like fuzzy grey memories, or mouldy newsreel. Exactly who they belong to, or why they are there, could drive you crazy. Everything, tantalisingly, is in the realm of suggestion or imagination. But what makes these films so special is that they are rooted in the real […] What truly terrify are the threads of possibility. However ludicrous the story may sound, the havoc it plays with your senses is almost magical. I haven’t shivered this much since watching The Exorcist. – from a review by James Christopher

Film Review no.597 (September 2000) p.32
An absolutely terrific breath of fresh scare […] With its intelligent script, nerve-wracking gradual pace, oppressive atmosphere and stunning twists, Ring takes an early grip and delivers more than its fair share of shocks and uneasy surprises […] Ring is horror of a highly sophisticated nature that even the most discerning audience will embrace. The stark tension created when Sadako slowly crawls out of a television screen playing her angst-ridden video memories is a landmark moment in definitive contemporary horror and should be required viewing for anyone who truly cares about the genre. Miss this and you’ll regret it. – from an illustrated review by Alan Jones

The Times 31 July 2000 Section 2 p.23
Makes The X Files look positively puny – from a note by James Christopher

Sight & Sound vol.10 no.9 (September 2000) pp.48-49
[A] riveting amalgam of modern urban myth and ancient Eastern legend, a Japanese answer to The Blair Witch Project which sets a ghoulish leer of delight on the face of its ever widening audience […] Even after the UK releases of both Blair Witch and The Last Broadcast, Ring remains compelling viewing, a stark treat which looks back to the austere black and white rituals of Kaneto Shindo’s unsettling samurai film Onibaba, and sideways to the teen-slasher terrors of such films as Scream. – from an illustrated review by Mark Kermode

References

Periodicals

  • Asian Cult Cinema no.27 (2000) pp.4-13 – illustrated article (by Daniel Grissom and Yuko Mihara Weisser)
  • Asian Film Library Bulletin 36 (30 September 2000) – note
  • Avant-Scene du Cinéma no.511 (April 2002) pp.128-133 – article (Vents nippons by Stéphane Derdérian)
  • Cinemad no.3 (2000) p.18 – review (by Theron Patterson)
  • Empire no.135 (September 2000) p.59 – illustrated review
  • Fangoria no.193 (June 2000) pp.18-21 – illustrated article, interview with Hideo Nakata (Ring in the new fear by Donato Totaro)
  • Film Comment vol.38 no.1 (January/February 2002) pp.35-46 – illustrated article (High and low: Japanese cinema now: a user’s guide by Chuck Stevens et al)
  • Film Review no.597 (September 2000) p.32 – illustrated review (by Alan Jones)
  • Film Review no.604 (April 2001) p.85 – illustrated video review (by Grant Kempster)
  • Film Review Special no.34 2001 Yearbook p.102 – illustrated review (by Alan Jones)
  • Flicks September 2000 p.46 – illustrated review (by Lucy Barrick)
  • Premiere no.290 (May 2001) p.74 (France) – illustrated interview with Hideo Nakata (Pionnier malgré lui by G.D.); review (by Gérard Delorme)
  • Screen International no.1235 (19 November 1999) p.6 – article (Fine Line chooses Ring by Mark Schilling and Mike Goodridge)
  • Sight & Sound vol.10 no.8 (August 2000) pp.16-18 – illustrated article
  • Sight & Sound vol.10 no.9 (September 2000) pp.48-49 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review (by Mark Kermode)
  • Sight & Sound vol.10 no.12 (December 2000) p.64 – note
  • Sight & Sound vol.11 no.5 (May 2001) p.65 – DVD review
  • Starburst no.273 (May 2001) p.70 – illustrated video review (by Ian Atkins)
  • Variety 2 August 1999 p.34 – credits, synopsis, review (by anonymous)

Newspapers

  • The Independent 18 August 2008 Review p.11 – illustrated review (New take on the video nasty by Kevin Jackson)
  • The Times 31 July 2000 Section 2 p.23 – note (by James Christopher)
  • The Times 17 August 2000 Section 2 p.18 – review (by James Christopher)

Books

  • 500 Essential Cult Movies: The Ultimate Guide by Jennifer Eiss with J.P. Rutter and Steve White p.223 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review
  • The Encyclopedia of Japanese Horror Films by Salvador Murguia (ed.) pp.265-267 – credits, review (by Frank Jacob)
  • English Gothic: A Century of Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.293, 300, 309, 342
  • Euro Gothic: Classics of Continental Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.182, 402
  • Horror Films of the 1990s by John Kenneth Muir pp.577-578
  • Terror Tracks: Music, Sound and Horror Cinema by Philip Hayward (ed) pp.249, 250, 258, 260, 261, 262, 263, 264

Other sources

  • 54th Edinburgh Film Festival Catalogue 13-27 August 2000 p.131 – illustrated credits, synopsis
  • BFI Southbank Guide December 2022 pp.23; 28 – illustrated listings