Ringu The Film Essay Summary


How does the film Ringu make us think about being human?

The movie ‘Ringu’ is about a cursed video. It commences with two teenagers conversing about the cursed video which is believed to have been recorded in Izu. One of the two teenagers (Tomoko) reveals to her companion that exactly a week before, she and her friends had watched a weird video and received a call after that. The story she shared sounded amazingly similar to the one linked to the cursed video. Masami, Tomoko’s friend, realizes that her friend’s fate was sealed. Subsequently, Tomoko dies in horror while her friend witnesses.

A couple of days later a reporter, Asakwa, launches an investigation with relation to the popularity of the cursed video among the teenagers. On the same day, the journalist realizes that her niece, Tomoko, and three of her friends had died on the same night under similar circumstances like the ones illustrated in the cursed video. Furthermore, it comes to her attention that Masami, Tomoko’s friend had gone mad after witnessing the horrors. While investigating on the matter Asakwa stumbles into distorted photos that Tomoko and her deceased friends had taken in a rental cabin in Izu (Tsai, 13).

The aforementioned events lead Asakwa to Izu where she finds a tape in the reception room where the teenagers resided. She proceeds to watch the tape in the cabin the teenager’s resided in. the tape had disturbing contents. No sooner had she finished watching the tape did the phone ring and this is when it dawned to her that the tale of the cursed video was a reality. It is at this moment that she knew she only had a week to live.

A day into her one-week deadline, she enlists the aid of her ex-husband in the investigation. Mr. Takayama confirms that indeed Asakwa was cursed when he takes a distorted photo of her. Takayama proceeds to watch the tape despite his ex-wife’s protest and request a copy of the tape to enable them to conduct a further study on the impending concern. Deep into their study, the party finds an embedded message in the tape which was coded in a local dialect. It is during this interval that Asakawa’s son Yoichi watches the video. The dialect was linked to Oshima Island in Izu thus the party set on a voyage to the island to unravel the mystery behind psychic Shizuko (the woman in the videotape).

Asakawa had only one day left in her deadline when they grasped that it was Shizuko’s daughter, Sadako, who had actually created the cursed video. The party headed back assuming that it is Sadako’s resentful spirit that was taking innocent lives. The party locates the well under cabin B4 and gets a revelation that Sadako was killed by her own biological father and dumped in the well. The duo in a bid to appease the ghost’s spirit empties the well so as to accord her a decent burial. Asakawa locates the corpse and presumes that the curse has been lifted.

The next day while Takayama is at his place of residence, Sadako’s spirit crawls out of his TV set and kill him. This leaves Asakwa baffled, searching for a remedy the way out in order to save her son. While racking her brain in search of a solution, Asakwa realizes that in order to save her son’s life she has to make a copy of the tape and show it to other people. The cursed video was a never-ending cycle and in order for a viewer’s safety to be guaranteed, one had to share the video to other parties.

Currently, we live in a world that is full of monsters. The monsters as employed in this context assume human form; dwell in one’s belief structure; are cultural idols; may be tainted with the image of being surreal. The contemporary monsters reveal a reflective image of the human as an individual. With regard to the statements mentioned above the notion is not that monsters inhabit the world is further expounded to the conclusion that actual individuals can be monsters (McRoy, 20). The notion of monstrosity as revealed in the film ‘Ringu’ assumes different guises in one’s culture.

In the society, monstrosity is depicted as insolence of conventional attitudes or in other instances as acts beyond the confines of what is ethically decent. Acts of monstrosity in the community are met with eyes of suspicion and cautious questions. With regard to the film ‘Ringu’ Professor Ikuma, Sadako’s biological father, committed an act of monstrosity when he killed his daughter and dumped her in a well. The rationale behind the aforementioned notion is that no one under logical reasoning would commit such an act. The act was confined outside the realm of morally acceptable deeds. Dr. Ikuma was a monster even though he assumed the human form. Through the act of killing his daughter and dumping her body in a well, he had defied all moral principles bestowed upon humankind.  The act committed by Dr. Ikuma fluidly adapted the tag ‘monster’ (Martin, 46).

In today’s world, not many people believe in the existence of ghosts and monsters. The only monsters that exist in the present world are humans themselves. When someone hears of a ghost story that might actually be true they tend to get curious and look for it. Mostly because they think that besides human beings and animals ghost cannot be considered part of the human life (Wada-Marciano, 47). When everyone heard of the ghost video that killed anyone that watched it after a week, most people actually went ahead to look for it to see if the myth was actually true.

Asakawa launched a crucial investigation on the mysterious cursed video. She made inquiries about it to Tomoko’s friends and other independent sources. She eventually ended up at a cabin in Izu where she got a fraction of the vital information that she needed.  She found the mysterious unnamed tape which proved to be the actual cursed tape. Placing aside any kind of rationality she went ahead and watched the tape shortly after which she received the mysterious call notifying her that she will die after a week.

Monsters and monstrosity tend to make human beings think about the value of life. When someone actually gets to see a ghost, it is very traumatizing for them. The experience tends to click something in a human being that makes them view life differently and as precious. In the movie Ringu, when the journalist and her husband they would die after watching the video, they did everything possible to avoid death. Through their assumption, that finding the well where Sadako was it would put an end to the curse and actually save their lives.

They went through a hard time emptying the well thinking that this would end the curse. True emptying the well extended their time as they did not die at the expected time but on getting home, the husband was killed by the ghost of Sadako. When the ghost reappeared to Asakwa, it told her how to counter her death and she made as much effort as she could to ensure the video was watched by many. This shows how monstrosity, makes human beings value life (Fraser et al, 5).

Conclusively, the inspiration behind the spirits’ anger offers costly insights into historical and political imaginings of ‘conventional Japanese’ past. At the same time, it shows the steady surfacing of women as single parents and active members in Japan’s workforce. Japanese horror movies do not view technology as a threat but merely offers a medium for more intimidating forces to be manifested in them. In J-horror, television, video, as well as the internet seem to be stability threats to human subjects’ safety.

It might be the discomforting fact that technology seems to change how society interacts and communicates, which causes the Japanese to view technology as a wicked force. In Ringu, the character Sadako character is more mysterious, as Samara’s background, as well as motives, is scrutinized in detail. In spite of all these changes, the terror themes and technology mystery is not lost.


Works Cited

Takahashi, Hiroshi, Shinya Kawai, Taka Ichise, Takenori Sentō, Hideo Nakata, Nanako Matsushima, Miki Nakatani, Hiroyuki Sanada, Yūko Takeuchi, Hitomi Satō, Yōichi Numata, Hiih, Kenji Kawai, Nobuyuki Takahashi, Jun’ichiro Hayashi, and Kōji Suzuki. Ringu. Universal City, CA: DreamWorks Home Entertainment, 2003.

Martin, Daniel. “Japan’s Blair Witch: Restraint, Maturity, and Generic Canons in the British        Critical Reception of Ring.” Cinema Journal 48.3 (2009): 35-51. Project     MUSE. 7 Dec.             2010 <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.

McRoy, Jay. Nightmare Japan: contemporary Japanese horror cinema. New York:            Rodopi, 2008. Print.

Wada-Marciano, M. (2007). “J-HORROR: New Media’s Impact on Contemporary Japanese         Horror Cinema.” Canadian Journal of Film Studies, 16.2, 23-48.  Retrieved           November 21, 2010, from ProQuest Central. (Document ID: 1403819771)

Fraser, Mariam, and Monica Greco. The Body: A Reader. London: Routledge, 2005. Print.

Tsai, Peijen B. Horror Translation: From Nakata Hideo’s Ringu to Gore Verbinski’s the Ring. ,     2008.


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