RING (1998) Reviews and overview

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To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Arrow Films’ restoration of Hideo Nakata’s Ring (1998) is being released in cinemas across the UK from March 1st. Check here for showings.

The film will be available on Digital, DVD, Blu-ray, Limited Edition Steelbook, and a special Limited Edition Collection featuring Ring, Ring 2, Ring 0 and Spiral on March 18th.

Limited Edition Collection Extras:

Limited edition packaging featuring original and newly commissioned artwork
Limited edition 60-page booklet containing new writing by Violet Lucca, Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, Jasper Sharp, Kieran Fisher and Kat Ellinger
“Spiral” – George Iida’s 1998 sequel to “Ring”
New audio commentary by film historian David Kalat.
New audio commentary on “Ring 0” by author and critic Alexandra Heller-Nicholas
“Ring Legacy” – interviews from critics and filmmakers on their memories and the enduring legacy of “Ring”
“Circumnavigating Ring” – video essay by author and critic Alexandra Heller-Nicholas on the evolution of the film series
“Spooks, Sighs and Videotape” – video essay by critic Jasper Sharp on the J-horror phenomenon
“The Psychology of Fear” – newly edited archival interview with author Koji Suzuki
Archival Behind-the-Scenes featurette on “Ring 0”
“Ring 0” deleted scenes
Sadako’s Video
Theatrical trailers

Blu-ray / Steelbook / DVD Extras:

New audio commentary by film historian David Kalat
“Ring Legacy” – interviews from critics and filmmakers on their memories and the enduring legacy of the Ring series.
Sadako’s Video
Theatrical trailers
Limited Edition SteelBook packaging featuring newly commissioned artwork by Matt Griffin (SteelBook-only).
Booklet containing new writing by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas (SteelBook-only)

Meanwhile, here is the lowdown on Ring:

Ring – original title: リング or Ringu – is a 1998 Japanese supernatural horror feature film by Hideo Nakata, adapted from the novel Ring by Kōji Suzuki, which in turn draws on the Japanese folk tale Banchō Sarayashiki. The movie stars Nanako Matsushima, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Rikiya Ōtaka.

It was remade in the US by Gore Verbinski as The Ring (2002).

Plot:

Investigating the inexplicable, near-simultaneous deaths of her young niece and three teenage friends, reporter Asakawa (Nanako Matsushima) learns of a story about a supernaturally cursed videotape circulating among school kids.

As soon as anyone has watched the tape, allegedly recorded by mistake from a dead TV channel, the telephone rings and the viewer has exactly a week to live. Those doomed are invisibly marked, but their images are distorted if photographed. Inevitably, Asakawa gets hold of the tape and watches it…


Reviews:

“What strikes the deepest chord in Ring is the film’s imagery, which lingers long after the confused narrative has faded away. Ring presents no explicit deaths at all, and not a drop of blood, but relies instead on simple yet effective sequences achieved with minimal effects…James Marriott, Horror Films, Virgin Books, 2004

“You can feel the goosebumps during Sadako’s manifestation through the cathode ray tube. Given the sheer artificiality of the film’s central concept, not to mention the odd hole in the convoluted and occasionally  lackadaisical plotting, it’s all down to Nakata’s subtle handling of such impressive set pieces that the film works as well as it does.” Jasper Sharp, Midnight Eye

“The cast does an excellent job of gradually building hysteria without resorting to running or  screaming; in particular, Sanada Hiroyuki is quietly effective as Reiko’s ex-husband […] The people behind the camera also perform outstanding jobs, with the subtly manipulative cinematography, jolting editing, and spooky ambient music score gradually building tension to the breaking point.” Nathaniel Thompson, Mondo Digital

“The 1998 film from director Hideo Nakata broke box-office records in Japan. It’s not so much the gore that interests Nakata as the reporter (Nanako Matsushima) digs into the case, it’s the subtle dread that keeps you up at night in a cold, clammy sweat.” Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“The drip, drip, drip of dread of Hideo Nakata’s film will turn your stomach to ice – it’s not for nothing that Ring is the highest grossing horror in Japanese film history.” Cath Clarke, Time Out

Cast and characters:

Nanako Matsushima … Reiko Asakawa
Miki Nakatani … Mai Takano
Yûko Takeuchi … Tomoko Ôishi
Hitomi Satô … Masami
Yôichi Numata … Takashi Yamamura
Yutaka Matsushige … Yoshino
Katsumi Muramatsu … Kôichi Asakawa
Rikiya Ôtaka … Yôichi Asakawa
Masako … Shizuko Yamamura
Daisuke Ban … Heihachirô Ikuma
Hiroshi Sakuma … Komiya Kameraman (as Kanehiro Ri)
Yûrei Yanagi … AD Okazaki
Yôko Ohshima … Reiko no Oba
Kiriko Shimizu … Yoshimi Ôishi
Makoto Kakeda … Kanrinin

Technical credits:

96 minutes
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1
Audio: Dolby SR

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