The best descriptive word for Japanese horror would be, “engaging”. I was instilled with fear and tension but also intrigue and fascination with the entirety that was the original Japanese horror, “Ringu”. Such a captivating film however so deterrent from the blood, gore and exaggerated effects we find in many horror films.
Keep in mind before watching Ringu, I had already seen the American adaptation, “The Ring” so I knew the story line and the ending. Despite this I still found myself lost in its shock value. So much is left to the imagination in Japanese horror especially with the death of our victims and who the suspected villain is therefore enabling the viewer to draw up the most horrific and nauseating conclusion to what the film is attempting to communicate.
Sure enough, our fears our confirmed with the final act of punishment presenting a television screening a long dark haired girl climbing out of a grey, gloomy well which eventuates to her slowly climbing out the television (my greatest fear right there). This break between the fourth wall is placing the audience in an extremely vulnerable and exposing position as the only thing that protects us from the villain on our screen is the screen itself. Ringu breaks down this barrier and creates a whole new element of fear which we will all experience after viewing.
Before the film began I had to decide whether this was an experience I wanted with the light on or off. My friend insisted we have it off otherwise its cheating. If I was on my own, it would’ve been off. I watched the film with two of my friends and something that was so interesting was their use of social media throughout it. Whenever a scene came on that had even the slightest scare factor, they immediately took their iPhone’s and began scrolling through their Facebook or Instagram feeds. It was as if the traditional mean of hiding behind our pillow or couch had been replaced with our phones. New media has even taken control of our lounge room practices.
Ringu’s direction, editing and special effects create an experience filled with moments of nausea, harsh fear and unsuspecting screams. J-horror is a field of study that will definitely be investigated further, in the light of course.