Video Kills Many People.

"Ring" (1998)

by Jim Flack


Even knowing some of the language, watching a Japanese horror movie without subtitles can be like putting together a jigsaw puzzle in the dark--you are never sure what you have until you turn on the light. This is the case for the new movie "RING."

A female TV reporter begins an investigation into the death of two young women who happen to be family friends. Driven by curiousity as to the cause of death (both girls appeared to have been frightened to death), the reporter traces back the last days of the girl's lives. She discovers that a week prior to their deaths, they watched a strange video that communicates to the viewer that they would die in a week's time. The reporter watches the tape in horror and tries to understand the meaning of the tape's images. With the help of her ex-husband, they discover that the tape has been cursed by the spirit of young woman whose mother was an incredible ESPer. The woman was killed by being pushed down an old well. The husband and wife team race against time (because the husband has seen the tape, as well as their young son) to find the girl's body and somehow break the curse. Finally the reporter finds the girl's body; her time has run out yet she is still alive. The curse is broken. Or is it?

Let's go to the instant replay.

A short time later, the ex-husband is at home when he realizes his TV is on and the cursed video tape is playing. The screen fickers and shows the dead woman crawling out of the well from which she was found, and literally crawls from the TV screen into the man's living room! He dies of fright. The reporter cannot understand his death since she still has the video tape--until she discovers that he made a copy of it. She then takes her own VCR, the original tape and drives to her father's house where her son is. The film ends there.......Does she plan to make more copies of the cursed tape? Like most Japanese horror films, the movie has a downbeat ending...

It should be noted that there are two versions of this story; a 'direct to video' release and this new theatrical film. Both have different characters and participants, but both have the same concept. But it's hard to say which production handles the story better.


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