The release of Ringu - Anthology of Terror is a pretty shrewd marketing move. Even though the four discs are bare bones in content (no special features at all), the set is bound to be a must-have for completists who've gon... more »e ga-ga over the Asian horror craze -- not to mention anybody else looking for a terrific entrÚe to the genre. In case you're unaware, Ringu was the Japanese phenomenon that spawned the Hollywood thrillers, The Ring and The Ring Two. The Japanese hit also led the way for a slew of other Japanese and Korean movies that gave global prominence to a unique style emphasizing psycho chills over blood, guts, and the overt scare tactics that have pretty much defined Western horror movies in the modern era. The four entries in the Ringu cycle are a little uneven, but legitimate DVD library mainstays for anyone with even a passing interest in classics of horror. Ringu -- The granddaddy of Asian horror, or J-horror, was based on a bestselling novel by Koji Suzuki (as are all the movies in this set) and directed by Hideo Nakata, both of whom have become icons of the genre. Unlike the Americanized version, Ringu is perhaps more nerve wracking for the psychological tension it develops in the mystery of a cursed videotape, Sadako, the tormented girl dead for 30 years at the bottom of a well, and a little boy and his mother who must unravel the secret before the curse catches up with them. The details of life in modern Japan become all the more sinister as routine is upended by unfathomable madness. Rasen -- This weakest entry in the set is a direct sequel to "Ringu," and tries to weave a plot thread about a virus that infects any person who watches the cursed video. Though it adheres to some of the genre standards, the thrills are few and far between. Even for a story where a high level of suspension of disbelief is required, the plot line of a doctor trying to solve a mystery that clearly has no scientific basis just feels wrong. There are also precious few innovations of style in what comes off as little more than a perfunctory exercise. Ringu 2 -- Back in style, form, and disturbing content, this more apt sequel again finds director Hideo Nakata at the reigns (as he was for the much different take of Hollywood's The Ring Two). The story follows the young research assistant of Ryuji, one of Sadako's victims from the first film, as she becomes involved in the mystery of the tape. Ringu 2 intriguingly expands on the themes of the original film while resurrecting some of its characters and introducing new terrors. It also expands the stylistic limits of how horror movies can be all the more effective for stressing subtlety, intelligence, and uniqueness of vision. Ringu ě -- Perhaps the most absorbing of the four, this prequel to the Ringu saga takes place 30 years in the past. It reveals the origin of Sadako's miserable journey to becoming a hateful spirit seething with wrath, rotting at the bottom of an old well waiting to reap vengeance on those who cast their gaze in the wrong direction. Full of inventive visual flair, there are some seriously creepy moments and ingenious sequences in the story of an acting troupe whose members mysteriously vanish or go insane. Sadako may or may not be behind it all, but the bloody finale makes clear that she'll have her revenge, whether she is to blame or not. --Ted Fry« less
"A minor movie trend is remaking Japanese horror movies, especially ones that originated from horror writer Koji Suzuki. The first of those films was "The Ring," the terrifying Naomi Watts remake, but the original films are an even more fulfilling experience, since they show the whole story.
"The Ringu Anthology of Terror," despite that really cheesy name, includes the four Japanese films that concern the malevolent Sadako and the haunted videotape. Expect a lot of bizarre twists and turns, truly horrific experiences, and two sequels to the same movie.
In "Ringu," Reiko Asakawa (Nanako Matsushima) has just found out that her young niece has mysteriously died in terror... and so have three of her friends, at the same time. The only link is a videotape, which urban legend says will kill you seven days after you watch it. And Reiko has seen it. Now she and her ex-husband Ryuji (Hiroyuki Sanada) must unravel the mystery of the videotape -- and the malignant ghost who haunts it.
"Rasen" is a nearly-faithful follow-up, based on Suzuki's novel "Spiral." Doctor Mitsuo is mourning the loss of his only child, and things don't get better when his old pal Ryuji (Hiroyuki Sanada) turns up dead, a victim of Sadako's videotape. But the strange virus in the tape has taken an unexpected turn -- and soon Mitsuo discovers that Sadako is determined to be reborn...
Audiences weren't too thrilled with the scientific slant of "Rasen," which sort of depleted the horror. And so the film company had "Ringu 2" made, which completely ignored "Rasen" altogether, and is based solely on the "Ringu" film. Confused yet? It's not as good as the original, but is better than average as a sequel.
In "Ringu 2," Mai Takano (Miki Nakatani) wants to know what happened to her boyfriend Ryuji (Hiroyuki Sanada yet again), and the doctors are baffled by the strange facts -- it turns out that somehow Sadako stayed "alive" for thirty years in the well. Elsewhere, Reiko (Nanako Matsushima) has escaped death, but now fears that her son is beginning to show signs of Sadako's power.
"Ring O" offers a look at the backstory of the malignant Sadako Yamamura. Once this young girl (Yukie Nakama) was a shy, sweet-natured young actress, haunted by frightening visions. But then other actors start dying. The secrets of Sadako's past, and the "dark" alter ego who has been kept locked away, combine into a frightening ghoul...
There has probably never been a horror series quite like the "Ringu" movies -- two disconnected sequels, one prequel, one original movie. What's more, it's a slow-burning kind of horror, which is based more on visceral human fears than on cheap jumps. If you thought Watts' "The Ring" was good, just wait until you see the whole story.
"Ringu" and "Ring O" are probably the best and most horrifying of the series. "Rasen" suffers from too many explanations of the ring virus and Sadako's presence, while "Ringu 2" just suffers from a mild case of sequelitis. However, all of these films are worth seeing; even at their worst, they are still creepy and wonderfully strange.
Most of the acting is quite good; Sanada and Matsushima both do excellent jobs, though Nakatani seems completely baffled and wooden in "Rasen." She's better in "Ringu 2." But the biggest props have to go to Nakama, who gives a magnificent performance as Sadako, both as a shy, misunderstood young girl, and a malevolent ghoul on a killing spree.
Anyone who saw and loved "The Ring" will probably be hiding under their beds with the "Ringu" series, with its spine-chilling mixture of science, horror and Japanese supernatural beliefs. Well worth getting."
I would have to say this is a fascinating series
FBRobertson | SC United States | 01/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For years I've watched American horror movies. From a teen to an adult, I've probably seen it all...from stalker to slasher, from aliens in outer space to boogeymen in closets. So. With that in mind. I've become tiresome with American horror films. It seems the new wave in horror films are nothing more than fake snuff films, i.e., Hostel, Saw 1 and 2, Wolf Creek. As someone who has a undergrad degree in world history, I've read enough about torture from Romans to the Nazis. I really dont want to sit in a theater or watch at home for 90 some minutes film that has no real plot, just victims to torture (basically American films today are upping the anti on the age old Jasonish vs. teens films). I realize the films are not real, but, torture like that does happen in the world, and I dont want to watch torture just for torture sake. I want a bit of mystery, a bit of horror, a bit of dreamlike phantasmagoria. That is why I have fallen in love with Asian horror movies like the Ringu series. The Ringu series, along with other Asian horror films like Audition (which yes has torture in it, but it is woven into the greater plot, not the full focus of the plot like Hostel), are captivating in how well the stories are constructed. You aren't sure what is going on, but slowly, surely, you find yourself drowning in the murky uncertainty of the lines between reality and dreams, as with the haunting and stalking of Sadako. These films are intelligent, they are scary, and they have a great deal of imagination involved in full focus. I highly suggest these films if you are tired of the remakes, the torture, the painfully dullminded American horror movies that are being pumped out in theaters today."
Ringu Vs. The Ring 6 Round bout. DVD features for the ant
Mike Liddell | Massachusetts | 03/31/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sometimes explaining that something is unexplainable can explain a lot, let me explain.
BASIC PLOT: Director Hideo Nakata's Ringu follows a beautiful reporter Reiko Asakawa as she investigates a videotape that kills you a week after you watch it, after her niece Tomoko's death is linked to the tape. After tracking down the tape at a cabin her niece and some friends stayed at, all of which have since died, she brings it to her ex husband Ryuji played by Hiroyuki Sanada (The Last Samurai, Sunshine) to help her explain things. As the story unfolds we learn that Reiko, Ryuji, and their son Yoichi all have the power to see things, powers not as strong or evil as the mother and daughter on that tape however.
ROUND 1. The Explanation - RINGU What I meant by my first line was that in Ringu they mention the strange girl on the tape not being from this world and they do not go into great detail of why she does the evil she does or how. The girl on the video is left more of a mystery to us which I found more effective.
ROUND 2 The Tape- RINGU There is also no attempt in Ringu to go into some weird explanation of how the tape came to be. In Ringu it's just there it's evil and some evil can't be explained. Also in Ringu the tape is kept simpler aka less confusing, there is no ladder or dead horses or this big long back story attempting to explain every frame which adds about 30mins to The Ring which both confuses and takes away from the mystery.
ROUND 3 The Scary Kid- RINGU The reporter's child in Ringu is just a kid, he has the power to see things like his parents but he is less gimmicky and doesn't attempt to get laughs.
ROUND 4 The Scares- RINGU The scares in the Ring were geared to make you jump, some of them with cheap loudness or scary faces, which Ringu does as well but in a more subtle way. The Ring starts strong and probably has more attempts at "scary parts" as far as quantity but Ringu's are more effective and build up to the climax. Ringu's scares are geared to stick with you, I can imagine seeing this if you are young and how many sleepless nights it would give you. We can basically all relate to growing up and hearing urban legends. Ghosts, curses, the paranormal and certainly the unexplained are all real. Using videotape, telephones, and televisions to scare us in the places we live really hits home and is relatable. Keeping the little girl a mystery makes her all the more scary at the end.
ROUND 5 The Climax -RINGU Overall I thought The Ring started strong and then got weaker as the film progressed. Ringu on the other hand started solid, rested for a moment, and then got stronger to the end climax. As for the ending climax and the television, in The Ring the girl is all digitized and snowy, not very effective. In Ringu the girl is a girl, very creepy, crawling out of the tv set without fake looking special effects, and the glimpse you get at her disfigured face that you never fully see is terrifying. The ending of The Ring came off corny where The ending of Ringu cements it as a great horror film.
KO! Ringu Wins!
Even though I gave high praise to RINGU in comparison I still feel The Ring has solid scares and started strong as they were following the original movie closely but then it just got confusing attempting to explain everything. All and all not bad but Ringu is great.
THE ANTHOLOGY DVD RINGU RAISEN - Sequel to the Ring RINGU 2- Back cover says it reveals more truths to the haunted girl on the deadly tape and she attempts to possess a young boy, and begin a new cycle of terror. RINGU 0 - Takes place 30 yrs before the events of RINGU, provides the shocking background story of how the girl on the video became a deadly spirit.
No special features RINGU sells for 12.99 and I think the less we know about that girl the scarier it is, I don't think Hannibal Rising added much depth the Lecter but who knows."
Finally the whole Anthology in One Box
Nichole R | United States | 11/01/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First of all I'm glad that Dreamworks has finally released the whole series in the states. Although I think it's an insault to this original that Ringu wasn't released here until there was a Hollywood remake. The original Japanese film is far supperior. The Story: (spoilers ahead)
Ringu - Reiko, a journalist, is investigating the death of her niece. Apparently she and several of her friends watched a video tape that is supposedly cursed. The niece and friends all died the same night. Reiko watches the tape for herself, and recieves an erie phonecall. She askes her ex-husband Ryuji to help in the investigation. He also views the tape. Together the two will uncover the mystery of Sadako Yamamura, the vengeful spirit, who brings death to all who watch her tape.
Ringu 2 - Ryuji's girlfriend Mai is looking into his death, and the disappearance of Reiko. She seems to know something of the cursed tape. When she finds Reiko and her son yoichi, Mai discovers Yoichi has psychic powers. Sometime after Reiko is hit by a car, and killed. Mai takes Yoichi, and visits Sadako's old home. It is discovered early in the film that Sadako had actually been alive for 30 years in the well. Will mai be able to stop Sadako?
Ringu 0 - This is the backstory of Sadako Yamamura. Years after her mother commits suicide, Sadako attends an acting troop in college. She hopes this will be good for her. She can make things happen when angry, and sometimes she has disturbing visions. She meets Toyama who seems to take a liking to her. Sadako gets the lead role in the play after the original lead mysteriously dies. Others in the troop begin to distrust her. After a Carrie-like scene during the play, they beat Sadako to death. however, she is not dead yet. Sadako comes back for revenge against those who were cruel to her. Of course at the end Sadako's father throws her into the well, where she is left to die. Thus the horror begins.
Rassen - The forgotten sequel. Not as good as the original by a longshot. I must say I wasn't too impressed with this film. The idea of Sadako coming out of the TV to have sex with some guy makes no sense. There is also little in the way of horror.
In short the Ringu series delivers where the remake does not. Sadako is eriely creepy, with her twitching, and fingernails making claw-like sounds on the floor. The director uses subtle lighting, and shadow to create mood. If you enjoy Asian horror, then give this series a try."
The Whole Anthology is worth getting!
Renfield | Edmonton, Canada | 08/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I ADORE THE RING AND RINGU SERIES! I saw every Ringu (including RASEN) and so i am going to review the series:
RINGU: a GREAT movie. It is totally better than the American version and it totally made more sense. Some people think "The Ring" is better but I disagree. But everyone's entitled to their own opinions!
RASEN: WHAT IS WITH ALL THE NEGATIVE REVIEWS???? I liked it! It's good, just it could've had LESS SEX.
RINGU 2: Good, not as great as the 1st. Only problem: MAI TAKANO: She really annoyed me (especially at trying to mother Yoichi) but it is still great. And Why is the average rating 2.5 stars on the Ringu 2 page?
RINGU 0: BIRTHDAY: THE BEST RINGU IN THE SERIES!!!!!! I was kinda crying throughout the movie. It was sad, yet scary, and beautiful! One thing: Can't I get this and RASEN on it's own??? That way, I won't have to buy the whole set.
THIS IS ONE HELLUVA GREAT AND TWISTED MOVIE SERIES! GET THE BOX SET! I am going to buy RING 2, And Ringu 2 (dreamworks DVD) and this (Tartan DVD) all on the same day!"