Ring


Dir: Hideo Nakata
Star: Nanako Matsushima, Hiroyuki Sanada, Rikiya Otaka, Yoichi Numata

Descriptions of this as the Japanese Blair Witch led me to approach with caution, though the comparison owes more to lazy critics than much actual similarity. A journalist (Matsushima) investigating reports of a video tape which causes the viewer to die within a week, finds there may be more to it than urban legend, and uncovers a web of murder going back decades. The story was first a novel, then a TV mini-series, and this film has spawned two sequels and a prequel, not bad for something made for a million dollars. It is pretty low-key, to the point of tedium - the tape itself is certainly creepy to watch the first time, but repeated showings of it, along with what seems like far too many scenes of people reading newspapers, etc, dilute the impact. It's only at the end that one key point is revealed, which actually leaves me anticipating the sequels more than I should, given my luke-warm reaction here. While there's one excellent image, and it's solidly acted, it has just too many holes, such as the heroine's visions which occur only at dramatically-appropriate moments. According to the posters, Mark Kermode said "will scare the living hell out of you"; time to put that spine in for an overhaul, Mark.

D+


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