Quick-Thoughts: Hideo Nakata’s Ringu (1998)

Screened at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema New Mission

This really be the only way you can force mofos to pay attention to video composition. 

Can’t sugar-code it, but I haven’t seen a movie this obnoxiously expositional to a point of constant disengagement in some time. Might as well have featured those d-cut Donnie Darko (2001) chapter card paragraphs before every scene to help delegate the mystery’s tell-the-audience / characters (or via Stephen King’s “the shine” superpower?) unravels. Furthermore, it recedes the needed effect of the drama it’s included in because, for something that often feels so patiently lived-in, its imbalanced reliance on compressed informational protagonist performances to develop a bulk of the stories introduces a real disjointed tonal contradiction throughout.

A significant flaw aside though, I do think Ringu has a ton of greatness in it. Particularly, it creates a phenomenal atmosphere with not only how resourceful and elaborate the confined space settings and shots are, not to mention its methodical progression of time and multiple aesthetics between past / videotape and present, but how the uneasy minimization of scares (all which independently land the mark in their own uniquenesses) contrasts eerily against the mostly gentle nature for which the majority of the film’s scenes embrace, and that SUPERB full-show climax especially sold this unconventional slow-burn execution. Some of the two leads’ “on-the-spot” and ultimately pointless attempts, that were desperately thought to combat this supernatural phenomena by sympathizing with it like a plead for mercy, also embellished the film in an inkling of realism even more. I mean, they don’t exactly teach you hex-solving in school as far as I can remember; better pray and hope for the best!

The infamous cursed video on its own though… yeah… a thing of nightmares

Verdict: B

“Ringu” is now available to stream on Shudder and Tubi TV.

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