Ringu (1998)


Hideo Nakata directs Nanako Matsushima, Hiroyuki Sanada and Rikiya Ōtaka in this horror mystery about a cursed Japanese videotape that gives you one week to live after watching it. 

Nothing in cinema has ever matched the final horror setpiece of Ringu for getting a physical response out of me. As the demonic Sadako finally emerged (and you know how, it is iconic… but I’ll avoid spoilers) I literally tried to escape backwards into my seat. That was at the the ICA in 1999. Nowadays it is the weirdo detective mystery of trying to solve the supernatural impending death within a week that retains its grip rather than the shock imagery. Using a journalist’s resources yet a Lynchian interpretation of illogical dreams, incidence and imagery (his Sheriff department savants and FBI experts are making exactly the same leaps in their deductions on TV now) we slowly unravel the puzzle. Or do we? Who says there are even rules? The heroes survival we witness in a lean, taut and atmospheric 90 minutes are just a few inconclusive rounds of trial and error. The dead who eerily appear to point out solutions are proven early on to be untrustworthy. One tricks little Yoichi into watching it, for fucks sake. Can we trust that in the final (Terminator evoking) shot a cure for Sadako’s hex has really been found?



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