The Ring Virus

Dir: Kim Dong-bin
Starring: Shin Eun-Kyung, Bae Doo-na, Jeong Jin-young, Lee Seung-hyeon

In case the Hollywood version wasn't enough, check out this Korean/Japanese co-production, based partly on the Japanese film, and partly on the novel that inspired it. I'm not going to comment on the variations between versions, because having seen the American movie twice since the original, I can no longer say with confidence what came from where. I'd need to go back and watch the first one again - between rewatching Ringu 2 this week, and daughter Emily's fondness for showing The Ring to her friends, I feel I've spent my fair share of recent time in the company of disturbed, psychic children. Any more might send me looking for a dark well of my own in which to lurk. So sue me. :-)

The law of diminished returns operates here: scenes, such as the finale, which creep you out first time round, now only pack a mild tingle. However, the film is helped notably by Jeong's performance as Doctor Choi, who assists journalist heroine Sun-Ju and lends a nice down-to-earth air to proceedings. Shin, playing Sun-Ju, also does a decent job in a crucial role. What doesn't work so well is the plotting - their investigation is incredibly badly explained, leaping between points A, B and R without anywhere near enough clarification as to how it's getting there. However, having seen two versions of the same story beforehand probably means this hurts the film less than it otherwise might. When it brings something new to the cinematic party, such as the sequence detailing how the well became inhabited, it is undeniably effective, but in the end probably doesn't diverge sufficiently to justify its existence.


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