Ring Ø:The Birthday January 14, 2013Posted by oldboy in : Horror, DVD/Video/T.V., Ring, Asian Cinema, Book to Film, J-Horror , add a comment
‘Ring 0′ リング0 バースデイ is in many ways the most unlike Ring film in the series. It hits scare points of ‘Ring’ and ‘Ring 2′ but it’s less terror and more tragedy. Here Sadako isn’t yet the monster we know from the previous films. Here she is a super sweet, cute girl that has a smile that could evaporate the ocean. Where was i… yes, the monster aspect is there somewhere but Ring 0 plays Sadako as more like Frankenstein’s Creature from the first Universal Frankenstein movie in 1931. Seeing the good Sadako being beaten to death by an angry acting troupe is like watching Frankenstein’s creation trapped in the Windmill being burnt down by an angry Mob who see him as nothing more than a monster.
It’s this innocent, misunderstood Sadako that makes this different to anything we’ve seen before. Even in the books she’s not this nice and has a seductive personality along with a few other “things” that make her very different to the Sadako here. Screenwriter Hiroshi Takahashi does a good job of creating a new back story for Sadako that ties in with the supernatural side of Sadako he created with Ring and Ring 2. Yet he also incorporates the story ‘LemonHeart’ from Suzuki Koji’s novel ‘The Birthday’. Norio Tsuruta does an excellent job of putting it all together onscreen and it’s quite a visual feast of a film that is haunting in a dramatic way. Interesting to note that Norio Tsuruta was suggested by Hiroshi Takahashi as a possible director for Ring.
Why we have two Sadako’s isn’t really explained in the film. We do see some documents in professor Ikuma’s Home relating to it but nothing more is said. It seems to be some kind of Mitosis. The actual explanation is given in a prequel Manga released around the same time as the movie called “The curse of Yamamura Sadako”. In it, little Sadako’s stress over her mothers insanity causes her to split in two, one normal Sadako and one that looks like her father…
Nakama Yukie gives a fantastic performance as Sadako. Butter would not melt in her mouth, folks. Today she can often be seen on varity shows, dramas and TV commericals (sometimes wearing that White Sadako dress)
The best way to enjoy the film is to go into it fresh without any preconceived expectations of getting the same “it’s behind you” feeling that ‘Ring‘ and ‘Ring 2′ gave you. By the end of the film you are definitely on the side of Sadako and ready to be one of her shamblers.
Favorite Quote: “If I could be reborn, even though it violates the will of God himself, I would want to be at your side, with you. If it were all a dream when I awoke, if only you were there.
But the light of morning shows me as I really am.
Still, I want to say..
I love you. ” - Sadako Yamamura
Ring 2 January 6, 2013Posted by oldboy in : Horror, DVD/Video/T.V., Ring, Asian Cinema, J-Horror , add a comment
When I first watched ‘Ring 2′. 10 years ago… I really liked it. It wasn’t as good as ‘Ring’ but I thought it to be a very worthy successor to it and in many ways it was. It was the successful alternate sequel that ‘Rasen’ wasn’t. It kept the tone of the first film and expanded on it with some shit your pants scary scenes but suffers from dragged out scenes and filled with technobable that would make a Star Trek writer proud.
I’ve watched the film quite a few times but over the years I have also read the Novels the films were based on which have expanded the Ring World in my mind. Now, all these years later I start to see some glaring flaws with ‘Ring 2′. The impression I’m left with at the end is that it had a lot of scenes with people standing around looking stupid and then Mai (our heroine) faints. Really. The film consists largely of scenes like this. I was counting the seconds of characters standing there with dumb looks on their faces until the moment that Mai Takano played by Mai Nakatani faints. It seems like a mistake to replace heroine Reiko Asakawa played by Nanako Matsushima from the first film after her strong performance. In general Mai is not only physically weaker but a character with little background, all we really know about her is that she “worked” with Ryuji; Reiko’s ex husband and father of her Son Yoichi who seems to have been possessed by Sadako in some way.
It also starts to veer away dramatically from the source material. This was in part because of Rasen and how unsuccessful that was. Ring 2 has a new story separate from the spawn of Author Suzuki Koji’s original idea. Now characters seem to have developed Psychic powers. Powers that include telepathy, astral projection, some Akira type killing powers and communication with the dead. Yes, our character’s have become almost superhuman in some aspects and their powers are increasing fast over this sequel’s 92 minutes.
I like that the film attempts to keep some continuity of the financial failure sequel Rasen. It seems here too that Mai is on her period in this film too which might excuse her fainting every 5 f’ing seconds.
To avoid further confusion on which sequel is which and what is actually based on the book check out below.
Another thing that ‘Ring 2′ expands on is Sadako’s origins. Clearly Ring and Ring 2 have taken the Supernatural horror path and made her the Daughter of the Sea, we might even say daughter of ‘The Devil’ since the Sea is considered the Underworld in some religions. Sadako is Japan’s answer to Damien.
Sadako’s Uncle informs Mai that Hot Mom Shizuko gave birth to Sadako and then told her Brother that she had given Sadako to the sea, however the next day Shizuko returns with baby Sadako in her arms. This story is recounted in what appears to be a cave of Sai-no-Kawara (Children’s Limbo) at the moment that Mai questions whether Sadako is born from the sea there is a strong wind as if to answer her question.
‘Ring 2′ doesn’t end as dramatically as ‘Ring’, the scarier scenes take place earlier in the film with encounters of Sadako’s Mother Shizuko and a recently deceased (at the hands of Sadako) Schoolgirl Kane providing tense horror moments.
‘Ring 2′ also features dumb males once again in a J-Horror film. I had previously discussed this in my review of ‘Kairo’. Yes, all the men in this movie are complete idiots with 1st Prize going to reporter/cameraman Okazaki who lets a hot girl who is attracted to him die to save his own ass. In the end the girl Kanae returns to haunt him and some people have even suggested that any future sequels might have continued with Kanae as the ghost Villainess.
I watched this version of ‘Ring 2′ on the remastered DVD Tartan Box set released a few years back. The subtitles are good and make the plot far clearer than the original subtitles of the previous Tartan. Strangely though it brings back the Translation of “Frolic in the brine, Goblins be thine” line that was changed in the first film.
Favorite Quote: “That Boy isn’t Yoichi anymore.” - Granpa Asakawa
Sadako 3D June 22, 2012Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, Ring, Asian Cinema, Book to Film, J-Horror , 12 comments
I heart Sadako big time so being me I was very excited to see Sadako 3D. The 3D platform just seems perfectly suited to that famous TV scene at the end of Ring. Unfortunately this part might be the only reason to recommend Sadako 3D. It uses the 3D effect for cheap thrills as things jump out at the screen at you. It’s a film that is made better by 3D, but that doesn’t mean it’s any good.
The story centers around Akane a High School Teacher whose student dies after watching a viral internet video that kills whomever watches it. The only one who has the power to stop this Sadako is Akane whom possesses some kind of psychic powers. Unfortunately Akane is exactly what Sadako is searching for as she tries to return to the living world.
The film no longer bothers with the slow burning psychological horror of it’s predecessors and remakes and goes straight for the “BOO!” type of scares that make you jump but in no way scare you. Any asshole can jump out from behind something and do that to you. This sequel (if I can even call it that) is a cheap ploy to use 3D and it’s pretty obvious that more thought went into the promotion of this film than the making of it.
The film, while a little scary in parts got more laughs than screams, due to the pretty silly plot and idiotic characters. Why are all the police officers in these Ring movies complete idiots?
I went to the Midnight showing of ‘Sadako 3D’ and the atmosphere was electric in anticipation. But scenes in the film that were played for dramatic effect caused the audience to laugh more than anything else. For example when the main character Akane’s screaming causing CGI glass to shatter and fly out of the screen in slow motion. Another was a police officer under the control of Sadako so much so that he grew Sadako like hair down over his face. Which probably got the biggest laugh since the audience didn’t realize the character was actually serious and not joking. Weird. Near the end of the film the main character Akane is suddenly some kind of Kendo expert who runs away from the Sadakos chasing her yet is able to easily take them out in the most ridiculous, laughable manner possible with sticks and poles lying around.
The most memorable aspect of lead Heroin Akane played by Satomi Ishihara is that she looked pretty and I couldn’t stop thinking what nice lips she had. That might show how bad the film was when my main concern was how kissable her lips were anytime she was onscreen. Anyway, what’s the deal with her boyfriend Takanori? Is this the same Takanori from Rasen? (the clone) Why does he live together with Akane as her boyfriend yet they treat each other more as brother and sister. Or either this is a relationship of convenience and they’re both secretly gay. It screams cheap TV drama relationship and the makers of this must think the viewing audience would be too young to understand anything beyond platonic. Yeah, platonic and living together. Give me a break.
Sadako. Why oh why did they have to mess with Sadako so much. We get 3 different versions of Sadako. The Sadako we all know and love that comes out of a screen to kill you. Then we got these weird Sadakos from the Well that look like a cross between Samara at the end of The Ring TwO and the Xenomorph from Alien. These so called Spidakos are nothing but monsters providing some gore and more cheap/hilariously embarrassing thrills. The third type of Sadako is some frickin kid with a bang hair style (the in style obviously…) that attacks with her hair. So Sadako has also become something of a hair type monster in this too. Ghostly hair attacking you was cool 10 years ago ala the Korean Horror ‘The Phone’, today it’s just cliche. Give me something new or stick with what’s already established.
So what the hell is this? Possibly a reboot since no character has any prior knowledge of Sadako and there is no mention of her actions in any of the previous films. The Well is not located in Hakone at a holiday resort Inn but instead at some abandoned building, could be a hospital, or a school but it’s never clear. It is Sadako’s well though because it has a chip missing from it. One of the characters mentions that everything in this world is artificial meaning that it’s very possible we are inside “the Loop Project”, meaning we’re getting pretty deep into the whole Ring mythos here. There is a Ring novel called ‘Loop’ in which it is discovered that the world of Sadako Yamamura, the Ring World, is an artificially created computer program. Think ‘The Matrix’. ‘Sadako 3D’ is based on ‘S’ the most recent Ring Novel by Suzuki Koji which is set in this computer generated Ring world. However, from what I’ve read it doesn’t follow the story of the novel much. So why even mention this is an artificial world? Most cinema goers with knowledge of only the movies will have no idea what the hell that line means and the line is thrown out there twice with no real explanation or follow up making it rather pointless except to remind viewers that it’s not real.
Unfortunately the movie is real though…
It seems the chance to revive this series has been crushed by Sadako 3D. It’s of the quality of a made for TV movie of the week that is embarrassing to watch. It is most likely the final nail in the Well cover for Sads and anything that was once remotely creative and ingenuitive about this franchise is now dead thanks to this film. The future now rests with the American remake sequel ‘The Ring 3D’. Lets hope that fairs better, but with the focus being on the 3D once more I somehow doubt it. Then again nothing, NOT-THING could be worse than what they attempted here.
Favorite Quote: “Everything in this world is artifical.” - some creepy woman
The Ring Virus June 20, 2012Posted by oldboy in : Horror, DVD/Video/T.V., Ring, Asian Cinema, Book to Film, J-Horror , add a comment
A more interesting attempt at a remake of Ring that combines elements of the original Japanese movie and the novel it was based on with some incest thrown in for good measure!
The film starts off “well” with a young girl doing some stretching on her bed. But after she dies in the first 5 minutes the rest of the film gets less interesting (except for the incest thing). The problem is that it’s just without any momentum and starts to drag it’s feet from early on.
I didn’t really feel these characters actually thought they were going to die within seven days. They handle their investigation pretty calmly only smashing a glass vase in a moment of anger. There is little onscreen chemistry. The male character Choi Yeol, based on Ryuji is closer to the novels and is pretty much a prick who sees the whole thing as a game. I felt the character lacked sympathy and didn’t have anything to lose which made him pointless. Closer to the novel is good, but the novel’s character is so much more of a prick that he is an interesting one. This guy in the film is just a jerk asking a woman when was the last time she got laid. Less intelligent and more morbid.
The Sadako character Eun-Suh is a bit of a babe. However it’s not advised to spy on her in the shower because this character is closer to the Novel version of Sadako, the reason being that she is a hermaphrodite, meaning she has male and female genitalia.The beginning of the film alludes to this with the discussion of Zeus cutting people in half making them male and female when they had once been both. Eun-Suh represents perfection as Choi Yeol puts it near the end of the film and this plot point is a crucial key to the origin of the Virus.
The only thing that is unique to this story is the incest where Eun-Suh’s half brother attacks her and throws her down the Well. Unfortunately this new twist isn’t really explored and I question the necessity of making her killer her half brother.
The problem with ‘The Ring Virus’ (링 바이러스) is that it’s not sure what it wants to be, straight out horror or science fiction mystery. By not being one or the other it just gets lost within the story and becomes something routine thanks to the added acting skills of the cast. There’s not much going for it. There’s nothing that stands out and takes a punch at the audience as ‘Ring’ did. There is only replication of the simplest form and done in a less frighting way.
Favorite Quote: “Just as light and darkness existed as one before the big bang, man and woman probably co-existed as one. A perfect combination of strength and beauty. But she was the target of ridicule in her life.” - Choi Yeol
The Ring June 18, 2012Posted by oldboy in : Horror, DVD/Video/T.V., Ring, J-Horror , 2 comments
Before you die, you see the Ring. Quite literally in this American remake where they whack you over the head with the image of the title. An image of a Ring, because been subtle would be just silly when you need to explain everything clearly.
I question the necessity of ‘The Ring’. Except to rip off the original and make more money than it. Of course we continue to see examples like this today with close remakes of ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’, ‘The Grudge’, ‘Dark Water’ etc etc.
The reason seems to be partly because English speaking Audiences are less conditioned to watch foreign language films where they have to read the subtitles to know what’s going on. I realize not everyone is in the same boat and statistics are a bit blurred on this when the foreign distributors of the original film don’t show it in enough cinemas for people to watch and instead have it remade to get the ka-ching!
‘The Ring’ isn’t a bad movie. It just sucks out all the atmosphere and tension the original had and sticks in CGI effects and movie make up to make the horror more “real”, because having everything look normal would be unrealistic. Yes, I’m being facetious….
It just ticks me off that the Director Gore Verbinski of ‘The Pirate of the Caribbean’ movies would be so damn lazy and play it safe by copying the original Japanese film almost ‘Ring’ scene for scene. (Call it Ringu and i’ll send Sadako after ya). He even takes some scenes from Hideo Nakata’s other film ‘Dark Water’ using elements of that as part of Samara’s machinations.
The kid in this, Aiden is too much of a rip on the kid in the ‘Sixth Sense’. Rather than just being like, you know, a normal boy, he is a creepy little kid with knowledge of Samara and her ways. I can see this working better for an adult character but the film is already about a creepy little girl who kills people with her video tape. We don’t need a creepy boy also.
What I really like about this movie is the score by Hans Zimmer, the majority of the theme revolves around a little song Samara sings near the end. It’s a chilling piece that sticks with you longer than the visuals.
The Ring TwO
Didn’t do as well as the original but I always find that sequels to the first Ring movies are difficult. In the original you have that 7 day countdown giving momentum followed by that twist ending that scares you pant less. That’s a hard act to follow unless you’re gonna be really creative.
In the Ring TwO Samara seems to be out in full force having been released from the Well by Rachel in the previous movie. Samara’s attention turns to Rachel’s son Aiden as she slowly starts to possess him.
They brought in Hideo Nakata to do the remake. Pretty smart move I thought. He is the one who made ‘Ring’ scary and letting him lose with an American budget was fun. He does go a little too CGI for my tastes and there are parts of the film that drag in places. But I still find it to be quite scary in places and it is at the very least, original.
It is somewhat confusing as to when Aiden is under Samara’s possession and when exactly he was taken over by her. The film seems to be more of a series of scenes developed first with the story tying them together after.
I found Samara to be more frightening in this film. Firstly she is bigger in some scenes and also has the Sadako screeching sound effect which reminds me of the originals in a scary way. In ‘The Ring TwO’ she is played by Kelly Stables. In ‘Ring’ she was played by Daveigh Chase and only her image is used in some scenes here where her face is CGIed in which didn’t look great. While Samara in Ring TwO is full on Well Mode I rather liked Chase’s portrayal of Samara pre-Well, you sense there’s an unnatural power and she’s not all that sweet to begin with.
Samara’s origin seems to be related to the Sea too like that in the Japanese sequel ‘Ring 2′. She is the daughter of the sea/underworld like a female version of ‘The Omen’.
Interesting to note that Suzuki Koji wanted to script ‘The Ring 3′ which would include elements of ‘Spiral’ in the story making it more scientific as Suzuki himself has said he never considered the Ring story to be Horror.
Favorite Quote: “I’m not your fucking Mommy!!!” - Rachel
Ring June 15, 2012Posted by oldboy in : DVD/Video/T.V., Ring, Asian Cinema, Book to Film, J-Horror, Best Ever , add a comment
Upon it’s release in Japan in the summer of 1998 ‘Ring’ became an instant success, it was followed by two sequels with alternate stories, a prequel and was remade as ‘The Ring’ in the US and ‘The Ring Virus’ in Korea.
In ‘Ring’ (リング) female reporter Asakawa Reiko discovers that her niece and friends have mysteriously died after watching a video tape they found in a log cabin in Hakone. After setting out to investigate she too becomes caught up in events, becoming cursed herself and with a 7 day deadline she has to resolve it’s mystery in the hope of breaking it.
‘Ring’ takes a familiar curse idea: the chain letter. Unless you send the letter on to other people you’ll have bad luck. The video tape is the ultimate chain letter, killing those that don’t copy and send it on after 7 days. The execution of the curse in the film ‘Ring’ is sheer genius. Using the Television as the device through which those cursed are killed by. Every home has a TV set and usually in more than one room. It’s an inescapable reality and once you’ve watched the film ‘Ring’ yourself you can never look at a TV in the same way again. Surely you won’t turn your back on it at least because in your mind you too wonder if you have been cursed after watching the film. Who didn’t secretly count down the 7 days after watching ‘Ring’ and breath a sigh of relief when they passed them without event? I’ve heard stories of people who placed table cloths over their Television sets after watching the movie so as to protect themselves.
The movie is based on the equally excellent Novel “Ring” by Koji Suzuki. The movie follows the Book’s plot very closely except for the change of the main character Asakawa to a female lead, as is the norm with most J-Horror movies. The overall Tone of the film is changed too. You can still feel a “presence” in the background of both the Movie and Novel however the movie introduces a supernatural aspect to the curse where as the Books take a more scientific/realistic approach grounding the Virus (curse in the movie) to the real world. The supernatural quality works unsurprisingly well for the movie and the imagery dreamt up by it’s Director Hideo Nakata is, as I said above, genius.
When they made Ring they also made at the same time a film called ‘Rasen’ (English title ‘Spiral’), also based on the sequel Novel of the same name. The problem with Rasen is that it loses all the tension, all the psychological horror of it’s predecessor, replaces it with gore and becomes a straight forward mystery from then on. In ‘Rasen’ we are introduced to a new character Mitsuo Ando a former friend of Ryuji Takayama. Upon doing an autopsy of his friend he is brought into the events surrounding the cursed tape, with Ryuji’s ex wife and son missing and later found dead it is up to Ando to discover why they died.
That problem with ‘Rasen’/'Spiral’ seems to be a lack of communication. One director decided to be creative, the other did a more straight forward adaptation of the novel. They decided to go their own ways. The tone and atmosphere of each movie is completely different. ‘Ring’ is Horror, ‘Rasen’ at best a mystery and Horror lite. In ‘Ring’ we have the chain letter curse, in ‘Rasen’ it’s the self replicating Virus. ‘Rasen’ also relies on the gore aspect a little bit too much, for example Ryuji’s autopsy at the beginning which was unnecessarily graphic. ‘Ring’ was all about not showing things and letting the audience use it’s imagination. ‘Rasen’ leaves little to the imagination. It isn’t a bad film. But up against it’s predecessor it’s hopeless, it’s not the sequel people would expect after going into see Ring. In ‘Ring’ Sadako is a queer walking pus eyed monster, in Rasen she’s a sexy, hot, perverted ghost who licks your face. Now I’m not complaining about hot Ghost chicks that lick faces, but sexy ain’t scary. However, credit can be given to the fact that the characterization of Sadako matches the novel more so as that of a seducing temptress. When both films were released in Japanese cinemas Audiences went to see ‘Ring’ but skipped ‘Rasen’ which lead to an alternate sequel ‘Ring 2′ being released a year later, the movie would tie in closer with the first film.
The first time I watched ‘Ring’ was on UK channel Film Four in 2001. The most recent viewing of the film was on the Tartan DVD box set which has updated the subtitles. While it’s a nice transfer and all the subtitles are a bit too perfect a translation and leave a lot of the “flavour” of the original out. Take this line for example
“Frolic in brine, goblins be thine.”
Which is now
“If you keep doing SHOUMON, BOUKON will come.”
What the Fudge?! How could they mess that up. They screwed a great line.
Ring is what started the J-Horror wave, it changed the Horror film industry and introduced a new element into it that remains until this day. It’s why I see the film as being so significant. It also scared the hell out of me like no other film did and planted Sadako in my mind forever leaving me psychologically scarred. Yay!
Favorite Quote: “This kind of thing… it doesn’t start by one person telling a story. It’s more like everyone’s fear just takes on a life of its own.” - Ryuji Takayama
The Cabin in the Woods May 4, 2012Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, Horror, J-Horror , add a comment
While at the cinema one night to watch a movie the trailer for this came on. It looked terrible. Another teenage horror movie. It looked so bad I couldn’t even be bothered to look at the screen. “Oh &$%* off” I whispered as I waited for it to end. I wouldn’t waste my life on this trash.
Then I start hearing reviews that it might not be so bad after all and that there are some nice twists in the film that anyone who enjoys Horror movies would like. Horror is not my favorite Genre, in particular American Teenage Horror. So I went to see it with an open mind and from the opening scenes I was enjoying it. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s not that scary and thankfully it’s not a parody. What it does is give it’s own explanation for all those Horror movies we’ve seen before and pays a homage to them. If you like Old School Horror Movies then this might be for you. In fact I had an urge to watch some ‘Halloween’ and ‘Friday the 13th’ movies after seeing this.
Some people in the cinema seemed baffled at all that was going on and didn’t quite get it, but for myself it was one of those movies that put a smile on my face and I really laughed when at one stage they talk about what’s happening in Japan and show that Japan is having it’s own horror problems. I love J-Horror so that was a scene I totally loved. I wouldn’t mind seeing a Prequel doing a story from Japan’s side.
Favorite Quote: “Am I on speakerphone?” - Mordecai
Kairo (Pulse) June 17, 2011Posted by oldboy in : Asian Cinema, J-Horror , add a comment
Kairo is a film which for me is impressive visually and atmospherically. It’s a film that scares you by showing less and making you feel more. It’s of the same caliber as films like “Ring” or “Ju-on” for the fear it can bring about within you. But story-wise it’s dull and tedious. I didn’t know what the heck the film was about nor what the characters were talking about. Their little discussions about life, death and where the ghosts came from made little sense. Example: “the afterlife is full with ghosts so they must be falling out of it”. Right. That’s just a theory on behalf of a character. But really, where are they coming from? Was it that computer at the university that had that screen saver with the little lights that wouldn’t touch each other? No, not that. The ghosts came from an Internet site streaming videos of them online. Cool but, where did that start? What’s the source? In “Ring” we had that explanation in Sadako. We had her motives and reasoning. Most Japanese ghost stories are like that, the ghost wants revenge, there is a point to it. Rather than ghosts just being as*holes for the sake of it.
No, none of these things are ever really explored in any detail, the reasoning behind why people sellotape doors shut is not explained. How people can become ghosts isn’t explained. What the significance of them becoming black ash and how it’s easy to be affected/infected by that is all just, well, a mystery.
Where as “Ring” was a mystery that built to a fascinating conclusion Kairo does nothing but try to scare you. It’s throws things at you but doesn’t tell you where it came from, it’s nonsensical and disappointing.
On the plus side the movie does feature ‘Koyuki’ who seems to be hot for one of the nerdiest most stupid characters in the film. I’ve noticed this trend in J-Horror movies, the attractive girl goes for the dumbest guy who in reality couldn’t get a girlfriend to save his life.