Sadako returns in this prequel to the infamous Ring cycle.

Those who are familiar with Hideo Nakata's Japanese horror films will not be disappointed with the third and final instalment. While O may lack the mystery that had viewers at the edge of their seats in Ring, the prequel still has some very scary and bizarre moments.

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For the uninitiated, Ring followed a terrible curse, whereby anyone who watched a special videotape would receive a phone call, telling them that they will die in a week. Ring 2 continued in the same vein and kept unravelling the mystery of Sadako, the girl in the videotape and why she was so bitter. This film, however, attempts to answer the unanswered questions and goes back to the time leading up to the first death.

Ring 0 finds Sadako in therapy after her traumatic childhood, as well as involved in a local drama group that is on the verge of its opening night. Suddenly, the female lead dies mysteriously and Sadako takes her place. Slowly people begin to suspect that she has something to do with this and, later, the demise of the director. Yet it is difficult to be sure whether she was responsible, as she is haunted by visions of the dead and of things to come.

Norio Tsuruta, a new director at the helm, retains the elements that made Ring 0's predecessors so popular, from the piercing music to the eerily scary deaths, and brings with him a fresh faced Yuki Nakama, as Sadako, who manages to look innocent, as a young girl scarred by the death of her mother, as well as deeply disturbed.

Without giving away too much, the ending is relatively surprising. It's chilling to the bone to discover that Sadako is haunted by something more sinister than could ever have been imagined. So much so that it requires the time-honoured tradition of placing your hands over your face and peeking at the screen between your fingers. Definitely the mark of good horror.

Reviewed on: 22 Feb 2002
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Prequel to the infamous Ring cycle.
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Adele Hartley *

Director: Norio Tsuruta

Writer: Koji Suzuki

Starring: Yuki Nakama, Kumiko Aso, Daisuke Ban, Chinami Furuya, Mashami Hashimoto, Kazue Kadokae

Year: 2000

Runtime: 99 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Japan


EIFF 2000

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