Monday, March 8, 2010

Quintology IV: Ringu 0 (Birthday)

Any internet critic worth his salt has touched upon at least one of the Ringu films.  Since I'm a complete and total crazy person, I am going to cover all of them- plus the Korean version as well!  To begin the series, we actually start with the least, in terms of release dates.  The last 'Ringu' book is a series of short stories about the origin of the girl in the video.  It just so happens that one of them is called 'Birthday.'  So, naturally, when the filmmakers decide to make a prequel, they adapt one story from the book, they called the entire thing Ringu 0: Birthday.  Thanks, guys- this is not confusing enough on its own!  I mean, I have to deal with a series that has two first sequels,- Rasen and Ringu 2- a zero prequel, a Korean remake, two American remakes (with its own only-on-DVD middle sequel), two different television series, two different video games and a manga series!  So, this whole thing sets up the events that everyone is going to copy?  Okay, let's just dive right into...
The film begins a bit of talk about a lady actress who died and left a child behind.  Rather than actually focus on this part, we jump ahead to the girl as a teenager.  Does this mean that someone can still make a prequel to this prequel?  We can't have a -1 film can we?  We're not the Ichi the Killer series!  Anyhow, the young woman has joined the cast of some sort of play and...are you making this like Eko Eko Azarak III?  I swear, I will turn this review around if you keep this up!  Sadly, I lack the ability to follow up on my threats, so let's just keep going.  Our heroine is an understudy in the play and apparently is viewed with an air of distrust by many of the women.  I suppose this is not helped by both the director fawning over her (incidentally, she's 17 here) and the lead actress dying on set.  Her mouth is left agape, which is sight to get used to.  The movie skips over any sort of investigation or autopsy results (a good omission when you see Rasen) & just keeps going.  A young, handsome man that works on the sound board falls for her, which angers the women even more.  If you want any craziness, this is not the movie to least not until later.
Things escalate over time as our heroine becomes the star of the play and some of the people start to look into her.  They also notice a weird sound effect that comes through the high frequencies when she is on-stage.  The show must go-on, however, and the play nears its performance date.  Trouble comes one night when the director throws himself at our heroine and she must be aided by the young man.  Something tries to bring its psychic powers to bear, but the director ends up being killed in a scuffle with the young man.  The duo has to hide the body, but this only works for a few hours.  As the show begins, our male lead is lured away from the sound board and one of the women plays an audio tape from our heroine's sessions with her psychologist.  Things turn bad, culminating in our heroine being cornered in the back offices of the building by the actors.  They attack her with a slew of props/blunt objects until she is unconscious and decide to toss her into the ocean.  Let's go visit her house!
While the others prepare to kill the young woman, the guy shows up and sets her free.  All of the things that have been forced upon her cause the lady to snap & make her alternate personality come to bear.  Oh and the guy gets caught in the cross-fire because he doesn't leave, in spite of her 6,000 warnings.  What follows is what you were promised with this movie and only comes in the last 25 minutes.  They run around the woods, the girl walks around with her hair in front of her face and they die screaming.  Do we get to see most of this?  No.  The girl's stepfather (get used to him showing up in different forms) finds two of the women with bullet holes in their heads and attacks the girl.  He knocks her around and chases her with an axe towards the well.  He tosses her in and she...wakes up in a bed with the man from before.  Was that whole thing just a dream?  No, she actually wakes up a moment later in the well and the imminent darkness.  Hey, wait to steal an ending, The Descent!
This movie is really not that good, but it has promise.  The whole idea of explaining the root of the evil tape is a genuinely-interesting one.  However, the execution is extremely-flawed.  The movie has almost no horror elements to it and the pace drags like a stone.  On top of that, it flies in the face of the logic that was established in the series- both the books and the films.  Basically, the girl is not evil, but has some sort of alternate personality that is.  After three films establishing the girl as nothing short of the embodiment of evil, she turns out to be crazy.  Let's ignore the fact that the movie attempts to hit all of the notes from Carrie and every other film that followed it.  In many of the user reviews on Netflix, the defenders of this film say that it is best if not viewed as a horror film, but, instead, as a drama.  Um, this is the movie that is supposed to explain a horror series- that logic just doesn't fly.  Just stick with the original films, guys.
Up next, the original Japanese film is up on the chopping block.  Will you dare to watch the review...or read it?  Sorry, I had a theme going there.  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. You nailed it, more CARRIE than RINGU, it isnt terrible but man is it a tired retread. Ive seen it twice somehow, I blame DVD