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The Ring Virus
The Ring Virus
Actors: Eun-Kyung Shin, Seung-hyeon Lee, Jin-yeong Jeong, Chang-wan Kim, Du-na Bae
Director: Dong-bin Kim
Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror
UR     2004     1hr 35min

In this chilling Korean adaptation of the mega-popular horror hit The Ring, Journalist Sun-Ju is investigating the sudden death of her cousin. She finds a videotape filled with strange images and a chilling message that wh...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Eun-Kyung Shin, Seung-hyeon Lee, Jin-yeong Jeong, Chang-wan Kim, Du-na Bae
Director: Dong-bin Kim
Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror
Studio: Tai Seng
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 08/16/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 35min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
Edition: Import
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Korean
Subtitles: Chinese, English

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Movie Reviews

Stunning Korean adaptation of The Ring
Matthew King | Toronto, Canada | 09/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Upon publication in 1991, Koji Suzuki's novel "Ring" was a fairly well received novel but didn't exactly fly off the shelves instantly. Over the years word spread about this unique tale and finally in 1998 a film adaptation called "Ringu" was made. So successful was Ringu that it spearheaded a phenomenon called "J-Horror" that swept the horror scene in the early 21st century and that sees no sign of slowing down. In 2002, an even more successful American sequel followed which was widely viewed by much of the general movie-going public. The average fan might not be aware that a third and equally excellent version was made, a Korean film called "The Ring Virus".

On one fateful day, 4 people die from mysterious circumstances. Although the 4 died in separate incidents it appears they all knew each other. Journalist Sun-Joo does not believe this to be mere coincidence at all and begins investigating. Her search leads her to uncover a tape that contains a series of bizarre and haunting imagery. At the end of the tape subtitling at the bottom of the screen warns "whoever watches this will die exactly one week from now." With only one week left to live Sun-Joo, along with a neurologist who also watched the tape, delve deep into the mysteries in an attempt to uncover a way to reverse "The Curse".

This slick-looking version of "The Ring" is utterly excellent and criminally underrated. Better than the original and equal to the American remake, it does the best job out of the three at explaining the origins of the curse. It is filled with flashbacks, and lots of subplots involving other previous victims. The two main characters play the roles of full-blown investigators as they spend the next 7 days traveling through lush wilderness and finally onto a remote island in an attempt to reverse their fate. The acting is excellent and the chemistry between the two leads gets better and better as the film progresses. I really did not expect this type of quality, everything from the acting, the locales, the cinematography and scare tactics is very well executed.

"The Ring Virus" is not really an action-packed horror movie the way the American version is. It's closer to a mystery or "noir" film that keeps you guessing right until the very end. There is definitely its share of scares but there's more of a focus on mystery, adventure and the fear of death. We feel deeply for the two leads who keep wondering what death and the afterlife are like, what they could have done better in their lives, as they near their last few days of existence. Many scenes are memorable in this film but most notable is the one with the well. Remember how scary that well looked from a distance in the American version? Well, in this version the two leads actually venture INSIDE of the well to explore what's below. Creeeepy!
So-so Korean version is worth a look
Daniel J. Hamlow | Narita, Japan | 02/07/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)

"The South Korean version of the Ring, titled Ring Virus for US distribution, more or less follows the Japanese original. There are the expected name changes of characters, but there are a few instances where elements of Koji Suzuki's original novel pop up that didn't appear in even Ringu. One of them involves why "Sadako" was killed, another involves her brief career in show business.

Yes, there is a journalist whose niece died from mysterious circumstances. This time, she's Hong Sun-Ju, and she is a single mother, but with a young daughter, Boram. Sun-Ju investigates the death of Sang-Mi and as it turns out, her friends, Kyung-Ah, who paged Sang-Mi before her own demise, and Chang, who was on the phone with Sang-Mi before she died. The coroner's verdict is cardiac arrest, yet Sun-Ju wonders "Why would you grab your own hair during a heart attack?" She gets some help from her colleague Kim, who'd rather go out with her. He does investigate the whereabouts of Park Eun Suh, the Sadako of this version.

Eventually, she traces things to a resort where there is a video in a plain white case, and which she watches. So who does she work with? Her partner is Dr. Choi, a quirky coroner who relies more on gut instinct rather than concrete evidence. He believes Kyung-Ah and her boyfriend died from some supernatural shock rather than some virus from a recent meteor shower. "You're playing a dangerous game, Sun-Ju. It's like nothing you've ever seen," he warns her. His laidback nonchalance gets on Sun-Ju's nerves, especially as when they search for information, he insists she does something, reminding her that she has less time than he does. He's so flippant he tells her "why don't you show the video to lots of people? You'll have plenty of helpers on your hands." Yet he sees this as "a game of life and death" and professes to a certain curiosity. Yet later, when things look hopeless, he says the only thing that scares him is dying before solving what he considers a third-rate riddle. The interesting difference is that there is no previous association between Choi and Sun-Ju as there was between Reiko and Ryuji in Ringu. And the supernatural element is caught on earlier by Choi

The familiar things in Ringu, such as the distorted photographs, ghostly apparition coming out of the TV set, the dialect, investigation into the paranormal, the trip off the mainland, and flashbacks to the past are all there. The cursed video isn't that creepy, but the differentiation between abstract images and those that are more concrete is a dynamic from Suzuki's novel that gets a mention here. Another thing from the novel played out here is that it's the four teenagers who spitefully erased the curse's solution that was on the video after the images, presumably to scare the next people watching it. If their selfish perverseness was the reason, then they definitely deserved to die.

The only other unique thing other than having a young daughter (Boram) is the idea of a hermaphrodite exemplifying feminine beauty and masculine strength in the age where cloning has been introduced. This is from an artist Sun-Ju interviews at the beginning. Later, Choi reintroduces that idea in reference to Eun Suh's medical condition, then ties that in with this: "we only know parts of reality, but we can't know the beginning or the end. That's life."

While not a bad rendition, Ring Virus suffers primarily in its female lead character, Hong Sun-Ju. She's a bit of a cold fish here, not at all personable, and one doesn't care whether she lives or dies. At least the characters of her little daughter and Choi are more fun. And some of the subtitles are introduced out of sync with the dialogue. Other than that, worth a look as a comparative study with the far superior Ringu."
Confusing... But Interested
Anna | USA | 07/31/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)

"Let me get this straight -- MOST people reviewing this are talking about the Japanese version, which they shouldn't. This is the KOREAN REMAKE OF THE ORIGINAL JAPANESE VERSION. Oy.

Anyway, the Korean remake is slightly confusing -- it's almost as if they expected you to have already watched the original Japanese version.

The acting is very stale. Very, very stale. The two main characters are often in conflict with each other, even when they shouldn't be.

Their portrayl of Eun-Suh (Sadako, Samara, in other versions) is rather interesting. Rather than hiding her face completely, she is portrayed as a feminine figure. Hmm. Go figure.

I'd recommend this to fans of the Japanese version only, unless you're in a good mood and want to try something new."
The Urban Legend With A Better Storyline
S. Foster | 07/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you have kept up with the reviews of RINGU, you already know that RINGU is among the best horror movies ever made; so much so that it was already remade in the USA, and I would not be surprised if it would also be remade in a European studio. However, this Korean version stands out in my mind as the best version of RINGU(so far) because of Dr. Choi and Ein Suh's character development.
Starting with Ein Suh, she seems to be the inheritor of an ancient power that presumably came from an ancient meteor shower. Reflections and images are altered; photography and TV play a role to manifest her Medusa-like power to kill with a glance. What especially makes this version work is the irony of how easy it is to "misuse" a VHS tape, which combined with Ein Suh's character, seems likely to intimidate movie collectors who have backup copies of their favorite films.
This differs from the Hollywood version, which tried to shock its American audience by introducing artificial insemination and a gruesome mass-murder of horses to the story. This to me was a cheap stunt to stir controversy among animal rights activists, and thus changing the direction of the original idea.
In THE RING VIRUS version, the film is paced by the psychological insights of the city coroner, Dr. Choi, who is only seven days away from becoming another Hannibal Lecter when he finds out that he also is the victim of this "chain letter curse" with Sun Joo, the reporter. The result is clever dialogue among the two as they face death together, solving not only Ein Suh's murder, but also finding the source of her supernatural powers. This time the well was quite a bit deeper, with an ending that is better than the original.
Be warned, this film is twisted but it is among the best horror movies ever made. The only regret you will have is that if you are American, you would have wanted to see it in 1999 when it first was released, during a time when THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT was scary."