A grainy, enigmatic videotape has the power to kill people seven days after they watch it. This brilliant premise fueled the 2002 Hollywood hit THE RING, but before that it conquered Japan in RINGU, Hideo Nakata’s quietly unsettling study in terror. Fans of the U.S. version will find a less elaborate storyline and more primal fear in the original; the basic plot, however, still has a worried reporter (Nanako Matsushima) tracking down the meaning of the video—and, having watched it herself, she has only a week to work. The film’s calm, economical style actually adds to the creeping sense of dread throughout, and the hair-curling set-pieces stand out in contrast. Like an old photograph of something evil, RINGU has the strange-but-familiar power to unnerve. Guaranteed, its effect will linger for at least seven days. Longer… if you’re lucky.
Japan, 1998, In Japanese with English subtitles, 96 min, Unrated, Directed by Hideo Nakata
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- Tue, 10-28