Thursday, March 11, 2010

Quintology IV: The Ring Virus

We're back again with another version of the 'Ringu' story, this time from the land of Korea.  This film was made in 1999 and is mostly a remake of the film Ringu.  However, there are many notable differences- good and bad- to be seen here.  For starters, the film claims to be a closer version of the book than the movie was.  That's actually true, but does come with some caveats for the viewer.  Certain things about the novel are kind of odd and their inclusion here feels just the same.  It doesn't help that so much of the film is iconic to international viewers, which makes the disparities quite notable.  At the same time, with so many similar scenes (often carry-overs from the book, mind you), there is also a sense of sameness.  Confused?  That's the general idea.  Let's hit Play and watch...
Like my review of Ringu, I'm mostly just going to note details that stand out.  I'll save the full review for what's coming next...
* All of the names have been changed to Korean ones.  This includes the reporter (Sun-Joo Hong) and the famous girl (Park Eun-Suh).
* The male lead is not the ex-husband of the reporter, nor is he psychic- although he does believe in the stuff.  He's actually an anonymous doctor who she meets when he does the first autopsy.
* The cursed tape actually has a message on the front of it- 'Those who don't stay until the end shall be lost'- and on the end of it (it basically explains the curse).  It also has a message explaining how to stop the curse, but that part is taped over.
* The reporter has a son, not a daughter.  Why they changed that is beyond me?  Then again, all of the films make the lead from the book into a chick, so...
* A good portion of the film is dedicated to decoding the video, including breaking it down into the real and surreal imagery.  While interesting, it also makes little sense.  The gist of it: some of the tape is the girl's point-of-view before death.
* Here's the big one: Sadako/Park is actually an hermaphrodite!  This is from the book, but only shows up in this film.  Furthermore, she was not killed due to the danger she possessed, but by a guy who raped her...only to find her extra parts.
 * Of course, our poor male lead dies from the tape.  Bummer dude.
The film is good, but has a weird mix of 'been-there' and new material.  Nothing much is put out there that has not been seen before (in the film made a year prior).  At the same time, the films do share the same source material, so that is understandable.  Like the film Ringu, it is much more about the idea of the evil tape and the mystery than any scares.  The ending scenes are nearly identical, although they don't explain the idea of the tape copying so bluntly.  The fact that they brought in the idea of the evil girl being an hermaphrodite may throw off a lot of people, especially those only familiar with the famous film.  Hell, I bet a lot of casual viewers have no idea that there is even a book, let alone sequels!  This actually causes a lot of confusion with the films that are going to come next.  This is an interesting look at aspects of the story that were left out by the Japanese film, but doesn't do a lot to distinguish itself.  For fans of obscure horror, give this one a look though.
Next up, we cover the original sequel to Ringu.  No, not the one that you all like...the other one.  Stay tuned...


  1. Just when I thought you couldnt find anything more obscure, you come back with this one and TOTALLY redeem yourself! (Spoken as Harry from D&D)

  2. If you think that's the most obscure remake of a Japanese horror film out there, just you wait...