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Ringu (Ring) (1998)

Ringu (Ring)


Average Rating: 7.6/10
Reviews Counted: 36
Fresh: 35
Rotten: 1

Critics Consensus: Ringu combines supernatural elements with anxieties about modern technology in a truly frightening and unnerving way.

Average Rating: 8.6/10
Reviews Counted: 6
Fresh: 6
Rotten: 0

Critics Consensus: Ringu combines supernatural elements with anxieties about modern technology in a truly frightening and unnerving way.


Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 45,803


Movie Info

In this psychological horror story from Japan, a legend circulates among teenagers that if one watches a certain video at a certain time of the night, the telephone will ring right afterward, and one week later, you will die. When Masami (Hitomi Sato) tells her friend Imako this story, she scoffs -- but a week later, Imako dies. Imako's aunt, a television journalist named Reiko (Nanako Matsushima), hears that not long before she died, Imako was watching a strange video with her friends -- all of … More

Drama , Horror
Directed By:
Written By:
Hiroshi Takahashi
Mar 4, 2003


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Critic Reviews for Ringu (Ring)

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (35) | Rotten (1) | DVD (7)

If you don't mind, I'm off to the corner of my office to curl into a fetal position and rock slowly.

Full Review… | October 14, 2014
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Ringu has a minimalist intensity that can stop the heart with a simple flash-cut or a well-timed fillip in the musical score.

Full Review… | October 10, 2012
AV Club
Top Critic

As good as The Ring is, it can't top the original for sheer, shivering terror.

Full Review… | October 10, 2012
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

The finale, too, still feels as twisted, bizarre and down-right nightmarish as it did all those years ago.

Full Review… | October 30, 2008
Time Out
Top Critic

Classically shot, with effective use of stereo sound effects, the movie is almost entirely free of visual horror and the usual Eastern ghost cliches, managing to suspend auds' disbelief in the hokey story through pure atmosphere.

Full Review… | October 7, 2008
Top Critic

Eschewing blood for a sinuous tone of Videodromic dread, Ring forces fear into every cut as a psychic telejournalist counts down the hours till a fatal visitation, while making a gung ho attempt to save her brood.

Full Review… | September 25, 2007
Village Voice
Top Critic

Ring put the willies up me, big time.

Full Review… | October 14, 2014
This is London

A sure, stealthy shocker which certainly primes you for the sequel.

Full Review… | October 10, 2012
Total Film

Director Hideo Nakata manages to strike a genuinely alarming balance between the cultural depths of Japanese folklore and the surface sheen of latter-day teen culture.

Full Review… | June 18, 2012
Sight and Sound

While the story is engrossing, and the acting top-notch, Hideo Nakata's direction is the primary reason to watch.

Full Review… | May 26, 2011
Cinema Crazed

David Cronenberg could perhaps compete with Nakata but unfortunately only lesser mortals have attempted to replicate the feeling that Reiko has plunged into something with which even her psychic powers can't compete.

Full Review… | October 31, 2008
This is London

Ring has indescribably disturbing moments that frightened me out of my wits. But like many of the Japanese horrors that followed, it sometimes has an elliptic and confusing storytelling style that can make plot-progression muddy.

Full Review… | October 31, 2008

The original retains its power to chill, although in the age of the DVD and the download, the idea of a haunted video cassette seems positively archaic.

Full Review… | October 30, 2008
Times [UK]

Subtly expressive faces and spooky interiors are the order of the day in this original, powerful treat.

Full Review… | October 7, 2008

Director Hideo Nakata's film is a minor masterpiece -- a low-budget horror gem.

Full Review… | July 12, 2008

A landmark in horror cinema, Japan's Ring is arguably the most chilling pieces of popular supernatural cinema of the 90s.

Full Review… | September 25, 2007

Bog standard horror offering with a distinct lack of action or plot.

Full Review… | September 25, 2007
Empire Magazine

A blockbuster in Japan, this restrained horror film crosses urban legend conventions with Asian ghost story traditions, and the results are truly spooky.

Full Review… | September 25, 2007
TV Guide's Movie Guide

It hit something primal in me, turning me into a quivering ball of nerves; my 'fight or flight' switch was turned to flight and then broken off.

Full Review… | May 2, 2006
Goatdog's Movies

It's hard to fairly judge a film like RINGU when you've seen the remake first. Many of the effective horror elements are dampened through familiarity, [yet] are worthwhile.

Full Review… | April 1, 2003

Audience Reviews for Ringu (Ring)



It's saying something that most people would find peculiar, but I found Ringu to be very problematic and consequently inferior to Gore Verbinksi's American remake "The Ring". One of the difficulties with inspirations and remakes is you have to consider which film is superior, but sometimes it's just a matter of which film you saw first and strangely enough I couldn't decide if it was the fact that I saw 2002's The Ring before Ringu that altered the experience or whether it's down to the fact the film simply isn't as eery or atmospheric. I think the idea of Ringu is absolutely genius and inspired The Ring to go further with the premise but I felt it was more compassionate and less isolating than Verbinski's film, and it hasn't aged very well either. The remake also added some shocks to the story, Ringu has dissapointingly near to none, and I found this version ashamedly dull. I'd definetely be lying if I said that there's nothing redemptive in it whatsoever, the acting is decent, as is the script and direction, I didn't think the lighting worked very well, but if you haven't seen the 2002 version then you will probably enjoy Ringu more than I did. That said, i'd recommend it to those who haven't seen the remake as I would recommend the remake to those who haven't seen the original. It's a strange horror movie going experience when you get the weird sensation of deja vu, because the remake looked to me like it duplicated this almost entirely frame to frame. The Ring (2002) is one of the scariest films i've ever seen, maybe that's why this one didn't live up to my own personal expectations.

Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Interesting blend of Victorian-esque old timey creep with some modern twists as a reporter and her college professor ex scour the Japanese countryside for clues to an urban myth that just couldn't be true, it couldn't be, that'd be ridiculous, wouldn't it? Though not the scarey advertised, it'll do, all right, it'll do.

Apeneck Fletcher

Super Reviewer

This started it all the modern day Asian-American horror films, that definitely deserves alot of credit. The cinematography is well done, but personally the movie didn't really scare me.

Eric Alvarez
Eric Alvarez

Super Reviewer

This Asian horror film is quite possibly one of the best horror films of the last twenty years. Ringu spawned the rush of American remakes of Asian horror films. Seeing this original film, the film was truly effective at building the horror because of its effective atmosphere. Ringu is a phenomenal achievement in the horror genre. Ringu is a tense, atmospheric ride that delivers genuine fright. That's something that is missing from most horror films nowadays. Ringu has the ability to frighten you and keep you on the edge of your seat from the start of the film to the end credits. This is a spine tingling horror film that brings back elements of a truly scary horror film. After the release of this film, American film studios were keen on starting the wave of countless remakes. None of these remakes would be as effective as their Asian counterparts because they would rely more on cheap jump scares than actual atmosphere. Ringu is superior to its remake for that reason, this film relies on a tense, dark and haunting atmosphere to steadily build up the horror, and that's one of the key ingredients for a successful horror film. Ringu is a terrific horror film, and is still one of the best horror films to come out of Japan. This film is a modern classic of the horror medium and the terror it brings on screen is proof of that. This film takes no prisoners in delivering genuine horrifying scares. A must see for every die hard horror fan.

Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

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