Mandi Apple, 2002.

Directed by Dong-bin Kim, 1999, 108 min. starring Seung-hyeon Lee (I), Eun-Kyung Shin, Jin-young Jeong, Chang-wan Kim and Du-na Bae.

Ring Virus (also known as Ring) was released just a year after the release of Nakata's Ring in Japan, a hastily-made remake for the Korean market. Oddly, the storyline is closer to the original Suzuki Kôji novel, but other than that, the film is a poor companion to the tense, creepy Nakata original, and yet it is only differing from the Japanese version in one major aspect which forms a central part of the plot, but that's a spoiler so I'm not going to post it ;-)


The story is pretty faithful to both the book and the original Japanese film (sometimes too faithful, replicating shots and even camera angles at times). A reporter, this time called Sun-Joo (played by Eun-Kyung Shin, who also appeared in Uzumaki as a reporter!), hears that her cousin Sang-mi has died in mysterious circumstances, along with three of her friends.

She becomes curious and seeks help from a doctor called Choi (Jin-young Jeong) who made a mystical pronouncement at the scene of one of the deaths about "supernatural forces" having been at work. And this is where the film starts to get a bit confused, so bear with me. Somehow she knows about the cursed videotape (it's not an urban legend as in the Japanese version), partly by reading a weird pager message sent to the late Sang-mi by her boyfriend who died along with her.

From there, the story follows the Japanese version pretty well, with Sun-Joo watching the cursed video at the resort, and then having to find out who and what is behind the video. Of course, with Choi's "help" (he's not very helpful at all) she soon discovers the tragic story of Eun-Suh (played by Du-na Bae), a young psychic with amazing powers, who has disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

However, Eun-Suh is not Sadako, and it really shows. Frankly, she's about as scary as cold rice pudding. She is, however, a mystical character with a strange secret which you'll have to find out for yourself!

The acting in this film is horrendous (perhaps the only horrific thing about it!), almost completely devoid of any emotion, even when characters die off - in the scene where Sun-Joo is talking to her aunt about the death of her cousin Sang-Mi on the phone, she simply says "Cousin Sang-mi is in a better place now," in the most wooden way imaginable. And lack of chemistry between Sun-Joo and Choi - in fact, they seem to actively dislike and work against each other - doesn't help. Jin-young Jeong plays the mad doctor in a thoroughly obnoxious way, which also detracts from the emotionality of the final scenes.

There's no fear, no tension projected by any of the actors, even the ones under Eun-Suh's death sentence, which kills off any possible atmosphere - if they don't care, we're unlikely to care either.

With bright colours and lighting, a confused (and confusing) convoluted plot, dull locations and lack of atmosphere, this film is really only of any worth to hardcore fans of the Japanese series - mainly because it assumes you have already seen the Nakata original. Hence, the story is confused and foreshortened - there are no explanations as to what is happening - so if you haven't seen the Nakata film, you won't be able to follow the plot of this film. Even the last scene is insipid, ineffective and uninspired.

Dong-bin Kim has said in an interview that he wanted to take the horror element that Nakata focused on away from the story entirely and replace it with something more mysterious instead. The problem is, the entire film is a total mystery, and one which probably isn't worth solving. However, there is one nice scene, a recall sequence where Eun-Suh meets her doom among the white sheets of a sanitorium, which shows how much better the film could have been if the director had managed to achieve his aims.

Snowblood Apple Rating for this film:
Entertainment value: 2/10
Sex: 1/10
Violence: 0/10
Confusion Rating: ?????????/10
Scare Factor: -2/10
Mysterious Pronouncements: 11/10
***Approach with caution***

Ring Virus Wallpaper

You can download this wallpaper here: [800x600] [1024x768]

You can download this wallpaper here: [800x600] [1024x768]
Wallpaper credit: Alex Apple, 2002

Snowblood Apple Filmographies:
Dong-bin Kim
Eun-Kyung Shin
Jin-young Jeong
Du-na Bae

The absolute very best site dedicated to Ring and all its sequels, prequels, stage productions and TV spinoffs is of course Ringworld where you can find out everything there is to know about this wonderful series. There are more links featured on the intro page.


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