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Year: 1998 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: It is expected that this film is fully subtitled. 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Ringu

Asakawa Reiko (Matsushima) is a reporter investigating the urban legend of a videotape, that if watched brings death seven days later. The story becomes more sinister when a gang of 5 local teenagers mysteriously die at exactly the same time, one of whom was Asakawa's niece Tomoko (Takeuchi). Reiko tracks the gang's previous movements to a small wooden holiday cabin where they had all spent a night one week ago. On investigating the cabin she finds a strange videotape, which she watches, and then the phone rings…

These days it is impossible to write a review of Ringu without also mentioning the 2002 American remake The Ring. A lot of people say that The Ring is nowhere near as good as Ringu, but chances are when they make that claim they sound like snobbish art film ponces. Please don't be put off though, this version really is the best, let the fact that Ringu is still the highest grossing horror film ever in Japan speak for itself.

For those that have not seen either version, this is a superbly scary psychological horror that keeps you in suspense right the way through, and is ultimately nothing short of chilling. The plot and execution of this film are superb; Ringu is a real classic that will haunt you for long after a week after you see it. If you have seen the American remake then you should still see this one, it is more subtle yet scarier. The moment (you know the one) is far beteer in this version by its lack of CGI giving it a painfully realistic feel. Also, the plot evolves more coherently and there is less detail. Look out for the scratching sounds at the beginning of this version, and also note that Reiko's ex husband Ryuji Takayama (Sanadais) is psychic, which is how he seems to know what is going on all the time.

If you like horrors then this film cannot be praised enough, it's simply s**t scary. Besides, if you are a Westerner this is a great opportunity to see something other than the American films we are so often spoon-fed with.

Nick Grills

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Screenings of this film:

2000/2001 Spring Term (35mm)
2008/2009 Spring Term (35mm)