Why The Ring is better than Ringu
Let’s face it; most remakes are terrible. From the pointless (Gus Van Sant’s Psycho) to the mediocre (Zack Snyder’s passable Dawn of the Dead) to the downright atrocious (Rob Zombie’s Halloween), horror remakes are only very occasionally any good. Sure, you sometimes get a classic, like David Cronenberg’s 1986 update of The Fly, but most of the time we’re left with dreck like Let Me In…
However, one modern remake, in my opinion, stood out as being superior to its original. The original was a 1998 supernatural thriller from Japan which boasted solid thrills and a phenomenal ending. The remake came in 2002, and was one of the most nerve shredding, disturbing mainstream horrors of the decade. I talk of course, of Gore Verbinski’s The Ring, the English language remake of Kideo Nakata’s J-Horror, Ringu.
It’s important to say that both films are great. It is no disrespect to say I prefer The Ring, as Ringu still has many enjoyable features. The leading actress, Nanako Matsushima, gives an emotional performance as the reporter who views a strange videotape that vows to kill her in seven days. The plot was a true original and is still influential today, and gives way to great scenes as Matsushima searches for a way to save both herself and, later, her son, who accidentally views the tape.
Furthermore, the ending really is one of the greatest of all times. I won’t spoil it, but let’s just say this; nobody is safe. I understand completely why people would disagree about Ringu coming second; there is nothing wrong with Ringu, it’s an excellent, influential film. The only problem is, just about everything I like in Ringu, I prefer in The Ring.
The leading actress is one of the most underrated of her generation: Naomi Watts. After a startling break in the mainstream with David Lynch’s masterpiece Mulholland Drive, Watts went on to star in such huge films as Peter Jackson’s King Kong remake, and the more recent tsunami drama The Impossible. It is often said, much to my chagrin, that acting in horror is of a quality significantly less than most other genres, but The Ring is a prime example of that being plain wrong; Watts gives a terrific performance for which she won a Saturn Award. Also, in hushed tones (to avoid offending die hard J-horror fans) I have to say; I found The Ring far scarier than its Japanese counterpart.
Ringu gets bogged down in a psychic subplot that goes nowhere and ruins most of the reality of the film, whereas The Ring is nonstop thrills from start to end. In fact, The Ring can be listed off as a highlight reel of spectacular moments: The opening scene, a brilliant take on the postmodern chills of the Scream series; the videotape itself, which is vastly more disturbing than the tape of Ringu, which seems positively friendly in comparision; the sudden flashback to her niece’s grossly distorted corpse. The list goes on and on. Really, the only disappointment is the ending. Again, I’m doing my absolute best not to spoil any of it, but all I’ll say is this; in Ringu, a real actress is used. In The Ring, it’s CGI. I know which one is scarier.
So there you have it, my reasons for why I believe The Ring is a superior film to the original, Ringu. The acting is slightly better, the scares are more significant, and the plot itself is less silly. If you have seen both films, please feel free to comment and give your opinions on which is the better film. Thanks for reading!
By Harry Ford