January 31, 1998 0 By Fans
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A mysterious video kills whomever views it, unless that viewer can solve its mystery.

Release Year: 1998

Rating: 7.3/10 (27,940 voted)

Hideo Nakata

Stars: Nanako Matsushima, Miki Nakatani, Yûko Takeuchi

Reiko Asakawa is researching into a 'Cursed Video' interviewing teenagers about it. When her niece Tomoko dies of 'sudden heart failure' with an unnaturally horrified expression on her face, Reiko investigates. Shes finds out that some of Tomoko's friends, who had been on a holiday with Tomoko the week before, had died on exactly the same night at the exact same time in the exact same way. Reiko goes to the cabin where the teens had stayed and finds an 'unlabled' video tape. Reiko watched the tape to discover to her horror it is in fact the 'cursed videotape'. Ex Husband Ryuji helps Reiko solve the mystery, Reiko makes him a copy for further investigation. Things become more tense when their son Yoichi watches the tape saying Tomoko had told him too. Their discovery takes them to a volcanic island where they discover that the video has a connection to a Physic who died 30 years ago, and her child Sadako…

Writers: Hiroshi Takahashi, Kôji Suzuki


Nanako Matsushima

Reiko Asakawa

Miki Nakatani

Mai Takano

Yûko Takeuchi

Tomoko Ôishi

Hitomi Satô


Yôichi Numata

Takashi Yamamura

Yutaka Matsushige


Katsumi Muramatsu

Kôichi Asakawa

Rikiya Ôtaka

Yôichi Asakawa


Shizuko Yamamura

Daisuke Ban

Heihachirô Ikuma

Hiroshi Sakuma

Komiya Kameraman

(as Kanehiro Ri)

Yûrei Yanagi

AD Okazaki

Yôko Ohshima

Reiko no Oba

Kiriko Shimizu

Yoshimi Ôishi

Makoto Kakeda


"One curse, one cure, one week to find it"

Release Date: 31 January 1998

Box Office Details

Budget: $1,200,000


Gross: SGD 1,706,363
(13 October 1999)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?


The highest grossing horror film in Japanese history.


At the beginning of the movie, the TV in Tomoko's room is on. However, in the next scene when Tomoko has a close up, it's off. Neither Masami or Tomoko had switched it off.


Reiko Asakawa:
Four people died from watching this videotape!

Ryuji Takayama:
Then go to the shrine and get exorcized!

User Review

"Sadako? You did this?"

Rating: 10/10

In 2002, Dreamworks released a movie on American theaters called THE RING,
by Gore Verbenski. It expanded to great lengths around the world. People
claimed they had never been so scared while watching a movie in their
life. Critics had mixed opinions of it, most for the better. But while the
entire world was screaming to THE RING, others decided to reach out for
original version that Dreamworks decided to "hide" while THE RING was in
it's theatrical run. The 1998 Japanese phenomenon RINGU (a.k.a RING.)

Based on a 1991 novel by Koji Suzuki (claimed as the Japanese Stephen
RINGU tells the story of reporter Asakawa Reiko (Nanako Matsushima), a
middle-class Japanese single mother. Her latest story is the investigation
of a mysterious urban legend that circulates around high schools about a
tape that kills whoever watches it seven days later. She learns that five
teenagers recently died from a heart attack at the exact same time, and
they were all friends who spent a vacation on a cabin resort exactly one
week before. It becomes up close and personal when she finds out one of
was her recently deceased cousin Tomoko (Yuku Takeuchi.)

Reiko eventually tracks down and watches the mysterious tape, and in one
the movie's many chilling moments, receives a strange phone call
that the urban legend is true, an element that reminded me of the 1992's
similar CANDYMAN. She finds help from her ex-husband Ryiuji (Hirouyuki
Sanada), a psychic with paranormal powers (an element obviously removed
the US version). Both Reiko and Ryiuji examine the tape carefully and
realize it was shot in a nearby volcanic island. With only a few days
they travel to the island where the dark, disturbing truth remains hidden,
waiting to be discovered.

Taking liberties from the infilmable novel, director Hideo Nakata (DARK
WATER, CHAOS) and screenwriter Hiroshi Takahashi (DON'T LOOK UP) were able
to create what is perhaps one of the most impressive horror films of
memory, challenged maybe only by the less-subliminal AUDITION. Nakata's
direction already explains what makes RINGU so unique: The absence of
limited photography, simple camera movements, and no cheap jump scares.
fear in RINGU comes from skin-deep slow burn. If you are looking for
watch the American remake instead. Which brings us to the infamous RINGU
THE RING internet battle: A pointless one.

The 2002 remake had more technological resources and a stronger desire to
freak out the audience. Director Gore Verbenski decided not to copy the
original and went for a less subliminal more artsy Dario Argento dreamy
approach with a Nine Inch Nails vibe and a David Fischer love for rain.
While THE RING improved on the upcoming flaws of the original, it had
problems of it's own. Not wanting to change the subject, let me tell you
Japanese version is the one to see. The problem is that most people who
watch the recent remake will hate RINGU, and vice-versa.

Unlike THE RING, RINGU avoids CGI shocks and cheap jump scares like a
plague. You won't find any suspenseful moments, chases, or any physical
struggles between the cast here. While the remake scared you with fast
zooms, weird camera tricks, and inhuman freaky bursts of weird noises,
scares you with it's lack of… sadism. A good example are the videotapes.
The videotape seen in THE RING is a Nine Inch Nails video, in a good way,
with very weird supernatural images and weird gross-out quick glimpses.
original's videotape is shorter and maybe even weirder. It shows you
different but equally impressive images that belong to a David Lynch
nightmare while a "scratching" noise is heard on the background. A noise
that was unfortunately omitted in the remake. The Japanese tape can be
either laughable or scary depending on the mentality of whoever watches

But what makes RINGU the phenomenon that it is today is the character
of Yamura Sadako, who turns out to be pulling the strings. Not wanting to
spoil the plot, I will just say that never since Hanniball Lacter has a
character with such little screen time terrorized the audience as good.
American doppelganger Samara was badly used in the remake. While what made
Sadako scary was that she was pure evil, the remake's screenwriter Ehren
Kruger tried to turn her into a Batman-like repressed character that you
supposed to feel sorry for. This terribly reduces the impact of "the
Which leads me to "the scene" itself. If you ask anyone who watched either
version what "the scene" is, they will probably know. Let me tell you that
"the scene" is done much better in this version. I will go as far as
"the scene" is hands down one of the scariest moments in cinematographic
history, very close to the shower scene and the climax of DON'T LOOK NOW.
The remake tried to hard with it's own "scene", adding CGI effects, quick
cuts, and many other gross-out elements that the original didn't need.

But RINGU is not without it's flaws. Either the fact that I am not Asian,
maybe that I am not familiar with psychics, but the whole Ryiuji character
left me wishing for more. Maybe the subtitle translation didn't make it
clear enough, but I couldn't connect to that way he always had an answer
everything. Not that Sanada's performance is lacking. He steals the scene
and carries out most of the movie. Remember Bruce Lee in GREEN HORNET?
not, but that is Ryiuji here. And Matsushima is equally good, although she
is given less to do than her American counterpart Naomi Watts. I will give
credit to the US remake by eliminating the psychic subplot. I won't
the fact that Ryuji's American counterpart is a pointless and boring
sidekick which is what ironically gives Watts her chance to

RINGU is still a superior horrifying experience that you will not easily
forget. Forget the sequels (RING 2), forget the spin-offs (RASEN), the
rip-offs (FEARDOTCOM), or remakes (RING VIRUS and THE RING). It all rounds
up to here. Be sure to watch Nakata's equally good DARK WATER, which is
already getting a remake on early works. Oh, the humanity…

*phone rings*