Day 19 of 31
Director: Hideo Nakata
Starring. Nanako Matsushima Hiroyuki Sanada Rikiya Ōtaka Yoichi Numata. Japan. 1h 35m
Oh this movie started some shit back in the day, literally it had started so many cults and urban legends and gave the west the now uber iconic Sadako that we honestly can’t escape from Does this mean we are literally cursed by Sadako? The movie came onto my radar years ago but so long after it’s release, I often thought back and wished that I had a copy on VHS just to keep the mysticism alive, Emma film is Fairley heavily submerged in mysticism, the basis of the original book was on Japanese folk tale Banchō Sarayashiki. I’m long before the play which has sent us into raging his cereal the ringer have managed to capture the dark imagination of Japanese youth, stories about haunted video tapes accepting other media became more than just a playground chatter.
In this deeply disturbing psychological horror, which creeps from the screen and into the mind, everything revolves around the legend of a cursed video tape, a legend that circulates among some teenagers. After watching the film at a certain time of night the telephone will ring right after and one week later you will die.
Beginning with Masami (Sato) who tells her friend Imako the story, she watches the film anyway and one week later is dead, When Imako’s aunt starts to investigate the story for her TV show, Reiko (Matsushima); a respectable journalist, tracks down the tape and watches the bizarre film, then the phone rings… The next morning Reiko is more desperate to decipher the mystery of the tape and is convinced that she only has 7 days to live, employing the help of her mathematical expert ex Ryuji (Sanada) they embark on a treacherous journey to uncover a dark secret and battle the unknown.
The ageless fear of the Ring lives on and on, there are some incredibly atmospheric spectral scenes within the movie including the deal clenching ending scene with the TV set that had sparked off a plethora of spin offs, remakes and firmly stamped the long dark haired dead girl archetype into the horror character catalogue for all time.
Preying on our curious nature and engaging modern technology this is a perfect combination of re writing a modern haunted object film, often curses were dealt out by witches or placed on items in the tombs of egyptian kings but who could ever be afraid of a VHS? And after this film hit the screens in Japan the craze went bezerk, even reviews of the film were considered to also initiate the curse, and for me this is half of the magic of the movie, I really adore when a film can cause some kind of social mania. The rest of the magic comes from this dark ambience that is created throughout the film and the actual cursed video footage itself, it reminds me of the Begotten by E. Elias Merhige, with clips of bizarre situations, it’s all very unnerving and esoteric.
Overall the film is eternally creepy and is bound to get under the skin in some way, the acting is marvelous and it’s hard to think of it as being a b-movie but indeed it was created on significantly low budget but it has a lot of character with it’s minimalist intensity.
Certainly one of the granddaddies that will always be recognised in the history of horror and deserves to be recognised and watched by all who are interested in horror, as the magical blend of ghost story and modern technology is blended seamlessly with creepy cinematography, brilliant acting and a story that never stops giving up scare after scare.
R – Shutter (2004), Blair Witch (1999), Noroi the Curse (2005), Videodrome(1983), Dark Water (2002)
L- A-Z of Japanese Horror,
Vs – Ringu Vs Ju On