A few weeks ago I was shopping for some new anime, and while I was looking around I happened to see a copy of Ringu on the shelf. Ringu is the Japanese film that the American film The Ring, was based on. Acctually, Ringu is also known as The Ring, but people seem to refer to it as Ringu now to seperate it from the remake. But, that's not the point.
I found the movie facinating. I spent the next several days looking at the site linked above, which is an exaustive collection of information on the series. The whole thing starts with three books, then there were two Japanese films, released at the same time. Ringu, based on the first book, and Spiral, based on the second book. Spiral bombed, and later a new "sequel" to Ringu was released Ringu 2. This was followed by Ringu 0, a prequel. There's also been a Korean remake, one or two made for TV movies in Japan, a Japanese TV show (supposedly, all the TV projects suck) and a manga (Japanese comics) or two. It's a pretty thorough series.
The US has seen the American remake, the first Japanese film, and the first book. The other two books are supposedly coming, and apparently, the remake is going to lead to a sequel here in the US. The rest of the stuff has to be imported.
The reason that I mention all this, is that I just got a copy of the Australian versions of the "trilogy" (Ringu, 2, and 0). It was coded Region 0, so I was able to watch it on my DVD player. I watched Ringu 2 tonight. I'll probably watch 0 tomorrow.
God I love this series. I need to find the books, and I want to track down the Korean film and Spiral. Ringu screwed with my head a little bit. Nothing major, but it just kept creaping into my thoughts. Listening to the Boredoms is a new experience now. And even the Painkiller box set took on an added element of oppression. These bands just remind me of the film. The ambient stuff from Painkiller just reminds me of the mood of Ringu. And the jump around nature of old Boredoms reminds me of the video.
Ringu 2, was a different animal from Ringu. It tends to have more of a "horror film" feel to it. But, only uses a little bit of the horror vocabulary that most Americans are used to. Don't get me wroung though, the film was great. Just different. And I think the different works. It keeps the viewer on thier toes. It's close enough to the first to pull you in, but then twists things slightly to give you a new angle.
I seem to remember reading on the web site above, how the compiler was dissapointed in the sceintific explanations of the second film, for what was going on. That it seemed to rob some of the supernatural from the first film. May be it was the subtitles (why do people even bother with white subtitles? What's the point, just make yellow the default and be done with it) but I interpreted the doctor's explanation as just his way of seeing things. And I think whether he was right or wroung, is really left up to the audience. Again, the film doesn't give answers to any of the important questions. Just to the ones that it needs to answer for the sake of moving the story forward. The rest you need to figure out. But, may be I'm just used to ignoring the "logical" answer.
In short, if you dig good suspense/horror, see Ringu, if you really like Ringu, it's worth trying to track down Ringu 2. I'll give my thoughts on 0 later. I reccomend trying ebay for the films. Make sure they are Region 0 though, if you live in the US. And more sure it has subtitles.