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Ringu (1998, Nanako Matsushima, Miki Nakatani)

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Japanese director Hideo Nakata’s second film after the well received Ghost Actress became a massive home hit on word-of-mouth and, after festival showings around the world, quickly became a cult crossover favourite with audiences and critics alike who found his low-key eerie offering a welcome antidote to the Hollywood slash ‘n’ screamers – such was its success that the sequel, Ring 2 was turned around in a year yet without suffering from the rushed feel of so many other follow-ups.

The film’s opening scenes quickly set the story – among young students a strange, short video is being passed around. After watching it, the viewer receives an anonymous phonecall informing them they will die in exactly one week and, if proof were needed, there have already been some suspicious deaths. TV journalist Reiko (NANAKO MATSUSHIMA) hears of the story and begins investigating. Obtaining a copy of the VHS, she sits and watches it and, as it ends, the phone rings…

Terrified, she enlists the help of her ex-husband Ryuji (MAI TAKANO) and they begin a race against time to decipher the origin and meaning of the images and the story. As the truth begins to emerge, they travel to the island of Oshima, where, decades ago, a seer, Shizuko Yamamura, foretold of a volcanic eruption. Her powers were investigated by an eminent professor, Dr Ikuma, but when he and she were denounced as frauds, they, and her daughter Sadako disappeared. Now, as the clock counts down, Reiko and Ryuji have just days to unravel the mystery, helped by his own psychic insights. As the final hour approaches, they lay the ghost in the machine, revealed to be the shade of Sadako, to rest. But there is part of the legend of the video they have forgotten and, while one of them is safe, the other, alone, finds a nightmare on the television becoming all too-horrible reality…

production details
Japan | 96 minutes | 1998

Director: Hideo Nakata
Script: Hiroshi Takahashi, Kôji Suzuki

cast
Nanako Matsushima as Reiko Asakawa
Miki Nakatani as Mai Takano
Hiroyuki Sanada as Ryuji Takayama
Yuko Takeuchi as Tomoko Oishi
Hitomi Satô as Masami Kurahashi
Yôichi Numata as Takashi Yamamura
Yutaka Matsushige as Yoshino
Katsumi Muramatsu as Koichi Asakawa
Rikiya Ôtaka as Yoichi Asakawa