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Ringu Collection Blu-ray Review

Ringu

“Ringu” is all you need from the Ringu Collection.

Given that today is Halloween, it seems only fitting to review a horror film box set. The box set? The “Ringu Collection” which contains the 3 films from the Japanese Ringu franchise.

Back in the late 90s through the 2000s, the J-Horror craze was sweeping the globe. It really all started with one film back in 1998 with “Ringu” (AKA “The Ring”). You know the movie. It’s the age old story of a cursed videotape that kills anyone who watches it in 7 days unless they duplicate it. More specifically, the ghost of the creepy long haired girl in the well (Sadako) does the killing. The story of the original film follows a reporter/mother (Reiko) who investigates the cursed tape and the deaths surrounding it. Of course, she soon becomes embroiled in the horror of it all.

While you can make a legitimate case that the 2002 remake is a better and scarier film, there’s no denying the cultural impact that “Ringu” had. Director Hideo Nakata created a highly influential horror movie that spawned a new wave and genre of horror cinema. Not only was it almost prophetic in terms of technology spreading (and this was when videotape was a thing), but it’s a masterclass in slow burn horror that shows just not enough but leaves much of it up to the viewers imagination. Granted, as horror has evolved the movie has lost some of its luster 21 years later, but it’s still an effective part of horror history nonetheless.

“Ringu 2” is a sequel that continues on from the first film. Some characters from the original appear, new ones are focused on, the tape spreads, a character develops Sadako like powers, and there’s convoluted plotlines about psychic energy, telepathy, and numerous ghosts. It’s a very different movie from that of the original, but not in a good way. It’s easy to see why this one split audiences because it’s really quite a mess. Basically, it’s a sequel that fails to live up to the original in every way.

“Ringu 0” (AKA “Ringu 0: Birthday”) is the third entry in the franchise. This prequel is set before “Ringu” and focuses on a teen Sadako who joins a drama club. Without giving away too much, her origins and abilities are explored more here. For some, that may be an exciting prospect, but, to me, it ruins the mysticism of what made Sadako so creepy to begin with. Add in a clear “Carrie” wannabe esque vibe and it’s clear that the more Sadako is explored, the less interesting she is.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? The 4K restoration of “Ringu” dazzles while the sequels get quality upgrades. Simply put, this is easily the best they have looked.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA and 2.0 PCM. How do they sound? The 2.0 tracks are satisfactory but the 5.1 ones are more effective.

Extras:
* The most notable extra here is an entire feature film called “Spiral.” This was originally the first sequel to “Ringu” before “Ringu 2.” Strangely, “Spiral” had its own sequels later with “Sadako 3D” and “Sadako 3D 2” so technically there are 2 Japanese Ring franchises, the Sadako and “Ju-On” crossover “Sadako Vs. Kayako,” a South Korean film called “The Ring Virus” and the 3 American film. It’s all very confusing.
* A booklet featuring credits, essays by writers Violet Lucca, Kat Ellinger, and Kieran Fisher, critics Aleandra Heller-Nicholas and Jasper Sharp
* A UK trailer and image gallery for “Ringu” and 2 “Ringu/Spiral double bill trailers.
* The full Sadako video.
* “Circumnavigating Ring”- A new video essay by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas about the ring franchise.
* “A Vicious Circle”- An interview with Kat Ellinger about director Hideo Nakata and the Ring film series.
* “The Ring Legacy”- A 28 featurette that explores the legacy of the Ring series and interviewees individual memories of seeing the films from the first time.
* A quality commentary on “Ringu” by author and film historian David Kalat.
* UK traile for “Ringu 2,” Ring/Spiral double bill trailer, and Ring 2/Shikoku double bill trailer.
* “The Psychology Of Fear”- An interview with Ring author Koji Suzuki.
* Theatrical trailer for “Ringu O” and Ring 0/Isola double bill trailer.
* 7 minutes of deleted scenes from “Ringu 0.”
* Archival 21 minute behind-the-scenes “Ringu 0” featurette
* “Spooks, Sighs and Videotape”- A new video essay by film critic Jasper Sharp about J-Horror.
* An oinformative scripted commentary on “Ringu 0” by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas.

October 31, 2019 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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