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Ringu

To get it all straight: the 2002 American film The Ring is a remake of the 1998 Japanese horror film Ringu — which was adapted from the novel "The Ring" by Koji Suzuki. Ringu was hugely successful in Japan, spawning a couple of equally successful sequels and garnering a reputation as a mind-numbingly terrifying piece of horror cinema. However, while Ringu is, indeed, a very creepy and unsettling film, it's unlikely to turn your hair white and leave you sleepless. The plot of both Ringu and The Ring are identical: Two high school girls discuss an urban legend about a mysterious tape that causes viewers to die exactly one week after they watch it. One of the girls admits that she saw the tape seven days previous — soon she's toast, and her friend is in the loony bin. Reiko Asakawa (Matsushima Nanako), the girl's aunt, is a journalist who just happens to be investigating the very same urban legend, and now she's also seeking the reason for her niece's death. After she watches the tape herself, she discovers that the curse is indeed real — and after her ex-husband, Ryuji (Hiroyuki Sanada) and young son Yoichi (Rikiya Otaka) also watch the video, she becomes even more determined to find out what's behind the cursed tape so she can save herself and her child. Neither overly violent nor blatantly scary, Ringu is a ripping good mystery, efficiently told and deliciously disturbing. Compared to its American remake, it's a leaner, simpler film, with a much darker, even more unexpected ending — one element of Ringu that was omitted from The Ring is the gift of ESP that's shared by Ryugi and Asakawa, which not only allows them to "see" the past events that led to their curse, but also offers an unsettling parallel in their own life together. DreamWorks has released Ringu in conjunction with their DVD release of The Ring, offering a pristine anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) from an all-new high definition digital master with a very good Japanese audio track in Dolby Digital 5.1 — subtitles are available in English, French, and Spanish. Includes trailers for Catch Me If You Can, The Ring, 8 Mile, and Empire. Keep-case.
—Dawn Taylor



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