Thursday, March 11, 2010

Quintology IV: Rasen

We now get to the most controversial aspect of this week: Rasen.  For those of you who actually have lives, here is the story of this movie.  Long ago (1998), a Japanese company put out two films simultaneously: Ringu and Rasen.  Both were based on popular books in a series (the first two) & actually served as one complete film.  There was only one problem: people hated Rasen!  While Ringu was a massive hit, this movie was the exact opposite.  In fact, reaction was so bad that a second Ringu 2 film was made.  This is nearly on par with Joe D'amato titling his 4th Ator film Ator 3: The Hobgoblin after he was pissed off when someone else made Ator 3 (aka The Iron Warrior).  The difference here: it's official!  Unlike Joe's hissy fit, this titling is 100% real and accepted.  What's the big issue with this movie?  Find out in my review of...
The film begins with a woman being talked to about a crime scene: that of the teacher from Ringu.  Right away, we have a continuity issue as the man's body is lacking the tell-tale 'gaping mouth' effect.  Um, did you guys not consult each other?  Anyhow, a doctor is given the unenviable task of doing an autopsy on the dead man.  It's not something he wants to do, you see, because the man was his best friend in Med School.  The man has a little bit of a freak out & the opened-corpse starts talking to him.  Of course, it was all in his imagination...or was it?  Yeah, it was.  The man finds a strange note hidden in the throat of his dead friend which gives him two clues: 'Present' and 'Anniversary.'  What do they mean?'s complicated.  Instead of answering that, let me get to the second reason that people hate this movie: explanation.  Remember how the deaths were so bizarre and mysterious in Ringu?  Well, there's no mystery here.  Watching the tape causes a tumor to grow in one of your arteries and causes you to have a heart attack.  Does explaining weird things in horror films ever end well?  No.
Things keep going and the movie continues to find new ways to annoy it's audience.  Reason #3 pops up quickly as the man hears a story about a car accident involving the reporter from Ringu.  As it turns out, she was driving to her father's house to show him the tape & thus pass on the curse.  Sadly, it was too late and the kid died, causing her to swerve off the road and crash.  Why does this ruin the movie?  All of this happens off-camera and is explained to us by a policeman.  Um, bull shit, movie!  Could you just not get her to appear in your film, so you just said 'screw you- we'll do it without you!'  A bit later, the man meets up the lady reporter's friend and is given the deadly tape.  In a bit of a depression, the man interprets the word 'present' as an excuse to watch it and realizes that he screwed himself.  He tries to start a relationship with the girlfriend of his dead friend as well, but things are still bubbling under the surface.  The reporter's friend shows signs of being sick for a while and finally dies at his own house.  What killed him?  He never watched the tape...
Unfortunately, as the movie explains itself more, it only gets more ridiculous.  Basically, the journal that our heroine from the last movie kept is now a conduit for a now-evolved form of the Ring Virus.  I guess smashing the tape was all for naught, huh?  Our hero and the widowed woman have a long talk about life and death, which, of course, leads to them having sex.  However, as he learns later, that his screw would be her last.  Infected with a form of the Ring Virus himself, the man passes on the spirit of the evil young woman to the woman.  What kind of STD is that?!?  The evil woman kills the good one and takes over her body.  Oh and it gets worse.  The girl/demon-thing makes a proposition to our hero: take the remaining DNA of the dead teacher and clone him.  In return, she will allow him to bring back his son (by the way, his son is dead) back using the same technology.  If he does this, he will get everything he wants, but the world will be doomed to suffer the Ring Virus when the reporter's journal gets published as a book.  Man, that's a tough choice!  What will he decide?  Will it be happiness or...oh, he just said 'yes.'  I guess we're all doomed, but he has his son.  The End.
Yeah, it's easy to see why this movie is not that popular.  The whole idea is simple: let's explain everything about the film that made it mysterious.  Hmm...I can't see why this would possibly be a bad idea!  The story is ridiculous, taking weird turns and cheats at every turn.  In fairness, this is a fairly close adaptation of the second book (Spiral), while Ringu is a pretty close adaptation of the first one (Ring).  I guess I can't fault them for trying to stick to the material.  From what I've read about the books, the whole theme is about the evolution of the Ring Virus and this leads to the end of civilization.  I think it says a lot about the viewing public that they completely rejected this part of the story, but chose to embrace the first part.  This led to the bizarre idea of making Ringu 2...2 a year later.  I wonder if that will involve cloning evil spirits that transmit like ghostly STDs?  I'm going to guess 'no.'
Up next, Ringu 2 attempts to salvage this mess with some proper closure.  Will it be good?  Will it remind me of Exorcist 2?  Stay tuned...


  1. I caught the ghost HIVs once, but I got over it. Conceptually, I liked the ideas displayed in this one, but it just isnt Horror. At all.

  2. One thing I forgot to mention in the review that stands out...

    At the end, our 'hero' talks to the cloned version of the teacher and basically asks for understanding on what he did (the whole 'killing the world' thing). The teacher rebukes him...but goes off and dooms the world. What? How could you possibly say that?

    So yeah, this movie is neither horror, nor is it logical.

  3. Worst movie i ever saw. I was angry i ever saw it!

    And uh wasn't the mom on her way to get the son?

    Everything that Ringu was great at this one failed on.

  4. Well, it must feel to good to know that you share the same opinion as most of Japan.

    Secondly, she had the kid with her. She was taking the kid and the tape to her dad's house to transfer the curse. This actually happens in 'Ringu 2,' but with different results.