Ring Virus

  • 1999
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Horror

A Korean remake of RING (1998) that duplicates the Japanese film almost scene for scene, with a couple of baroque twists. Journalist Sun-joo (Shin Eun-kyung), whom we first see doing a story about a gender-bending gallery show, gets wind of a story when her teenaged niece, Sang-mi, dies under unusual circumstances. Sang-mi and her boyfriend, are found dead...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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A Korean remake of RING (1998) that duplicates the Japanese film almost scene for scene, with a couple of baroque twists. Journalist Sun-joo (Shin Eun-kyung), whom we first see doing a story about a gender-bending gallery show, gets wind of a story when her teenaged niece, Sang-mi, dies under unusual circumstances. Sang-mi and her boyfriend, are found dead of shock. Two of their friends, with whom they recently visited a resort, die under similar circumstances. Sun-joo theorizes that their deaths may be the result of a virus that's somehow connected to a recent meteor shower, but soon finds clues pointing in a different direction: a photo of the four young friends, their faces all mysteriously blurred, and a cryptic message on one of their beepers, which reads "We shouldn't have watched it." "It" turns out to be a videotape, which Sung-joo finds at the resort. It opens with the warning, "Watch till the end, or else death will swallow you," which doesn't deter Sun-joo A grainy, B&W collage of disturbing images, including an old woman muttering something about "pregnancy," "water," and "attracting demons," it concludes with the message, "Whoever watches this will die a week from now. If you want to live..." To Sun-joo's dismay, the end of the tape has been erased. Worse, she carelessly leaves the tape where her little daughter, Boram, finds it, and the child watches it too. Afraid that both she and Boram are doomed, Sun-joo consults Dr. Choi (Jung Jin-young), a specialist in the paranormal, and delves into the tape's past. She uncovers the story of Jung-sook Park and her daughter, Eun-suh (Bae Doo-na). Residents of a remote fishing village, both women were considered witches, and Jung-sook committed suicide by jumping into the sea. Eun-suh apparently lost her supernatural powers, moved to the city and worked in a nightclub, then vanished completely. She also had a brother, Kyung-pi Oh; their warped relationship holds the key to the mystery of Eun-suh's fate. Though less effective than Hideo Nakata's phenomenal horror picture (even the haunted tape is less creepy), this film still delivers several good shocks, and adds a creepy sexual angle (taken directly from the source novel on which the Japanese film was based) that makes it just that tiny bit sleazier. For serious fans of RING, this film has considerable compare-and-contrast appeal. Newcomers would do better to see the original, a masterpiece of modern horror. (In Korean, with subtitles.)

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  • Released: 1999
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: A Korean remake of RING (1998) that duplicates the Japanese film almost scene for scene, with a couple of baroque twists. Journalist Sun-joo (Shin Eun-kyung), whom we first see doing a story about a gender-bending gallery show, gets wind of a story when he… (more)

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