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Ringu 2
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.85:1 Widescreen
  • Japanese PCM Stereo
  • Japanese DTS-HD 5.1 Surround
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • Bonus feature: Spiral, George Iida's 1998 sequel to Ringu
  • The Psychology of Fear, a newly edited archival interview with author Koji Suzuki
  • Theatrical trailers

Ringu 2

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Hideo Nakata
1999 | 97 Minutes

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $99.95 | Series: Arrow Video
MVD Visual

Release Date: October 29, 2019
Review Date: October 29, 2019

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SYNOPSIS

In 1998, director Hideo Nakata (Dark Water) unleashed a chilling tale of technological terror on unsuspecting audiences, which redefined the horror genre, launched the J-horror boom in the West and introduced a generation of moviegoers to a creepy, dark-haired girl called Sadako. The film's success spawned a slew of remakes, reimaginations and imitators, but none could quite boast the power of Nakata's original masterpiece, which melded traditional Japanese folklore with contemporary anxieties about the spread of technology. A group of teenage friends are found dead, their bodies grotesquely contorted, their faces twisted in terror. Reiko (Nanako Matsushima, When Marnie Was There), a journalist and the aunt of one of the victims, sets out to investigate the shocking phenomenon, and in the process uncovers a creepy urban legend about a supposedly cursed videotape, the contents of which causes anyone who views it to die within a week - unless they can persuade someone else to watch it, and, in so doing, pass on the curse... Arrow Video is proud to present Ringu, the film that started it all, restored from the original negative in glorious high definition and supplemented by a wealth of archival and newly created bonus materials.


PICTURE

Available exclusively as of now in Arrow Videoís box set Ringu Collection, Hideo Nakataís Ringu 2 is presented on a dual-layer disc in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with a 1080p/24hz high-definition encode. Whereas Ringu received a new 4K restoration from Arrow, Ringu 2 makes use of a pre-existing master supplied by Kadakowa Pictures. While itís nowhere near the level of quality Ringuís digital presentation offers there is still a lot to pleased with here, and itís thankfully nothing like what we got for Dark Water and Pulse.

Having said that itís clear this is still an older, dated master. Grain is there but itís not as sharp or as cleanly rendered Ringuís offering. It can have a more digital, noisy look, but itís mild (though the grain gets a bit harsher during some high-contrast black-and-white sequences). Blacks are also a little muddy so darker scenes can come off a bit flat and crushed. Damage is also a bit of a surprise, with a number of specs of dirt scattered about.

Despite the minor nuisances the image ends up still being pleasing thanks to the fact the image is sharp and highly detailed, most of the time anyways. There are a handful of softer shots but overall the image is very sharp, the finer details even popping, allowing for some strong textures and decent depth. Itís nothing special when all is said and done, but itís still pleasing enough.

7/10

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AUDIO

Like the previous film in the set Ringu 2 offers two lossless audio tracks: a 2.0 stereo surround PCM track and a 5.1 DTS-HD MA surround presentation. Theyíre both effective and offer an eerie enough experience, coming off crisp and sharp with no notable noise or distortion. Both tracks mix music and effects efficiently through the sound field, but the 5.1 track is, unsurprisingly, more effective in this regard, likewise its use of the lower frequency.

7/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Of the films in the set Ringu 2 kind of gets the shaft, though it does include one substantial extra: the alternate sequel to Ringu, Spiral, directed by Joji Iida.

The film was made simultaneously with Nakataís Ring, and the two were released together as a double-bill. Unfortunately for Spiral Nakataís film had an enormous impact, heavily influencing not only horror films in Japan, but also throughout the rest of the world, meaning Iidaís film was going to have huge shoes to fill without anyone realizing it. The film just couldnít live up to the first film and both audiences and critics came away perplexed and disappointed, and the film disappeared.

Spiral is, tonally and stylistically, a completely different beast in comparison to the first film. This story focuses around a pathologist who becomes entangled in the story of Sadako and the cursed video tape, all after performing an examination on the body on Ryuji Takayama, who fell victim to the curse in the previous film. He eventually crosses paths with Mai (Ryujiís girlfriend in the first film) and then comes to see the cursed tape himself. As he investigates the video and the deaths around it he starts to suspect there may be a more scientific reason behind it (though I would say more farfetched, but what do I know).

Itís easy to see why audiences would have experienced a sort of whiplash coming to this film from Ring. The first film was an atmospheric horror film filled with tension, dread, and disturbing imagery, while Spiral (though somewhat atmospheric) is a far more serious drama/medical thriller that plays it pretty straight. The first film also left things up in the air while this one sets out to explain everything. It also suffers from not being terribly interesting from a technical/filmmaking perspective, unable to grip its audience like the first film did.

Maybe without being tied to the first film Spiral could have been its own thing but when compared to Ring it comes off terribly mediocre, and itís not hard to see why it was decided to make another sequel and have Nakata behind the wheel again. But having said that, one canít really lay any blame on Iida as the studio had both films made at the same time (with different people leading the creative team) and there was no sharing of information between the two productions. Iida liked the novel on which Spiral was based and decided to stay true to the source, while Nakata and his screenwriter took a lot of liberties on Ringís source, so just from that perspective there is a huge disconnect. Nakata was also intent on making a horror film, while the original novels were science-fiction, which Iida stuck with. Considering just those things this film was pretty much doomed to be lost in Ringís shadow.

After all that, though, I have to say the film also serves as an interesting comparison to the Nakata sequel. Since Spiral apparently sticks true to the original novel (I havenít read it, so I can only base this on the comments made throughout special features in this set) itís interesting to see what elements made it into Nakataís version. Ringu 2 does have a heavier science element, and also takes a few plot points and moments, but again Nakata is interested more in making a horror film, so that aspect is amped up more, keeps the sciences in the background, and he again prefers to a have a woman as the main protagonist, dropping the pathologist from Spiral, promoting Mai front and center (her character also has a very different arc in Spiral). Iím actually not terribly fond of either sequel (though both are better than the American sequel) but chances are Iíll end up watching Nakataís sequel again before this one.

Rather surprisingly the presentation for Spiral is pretty strong, obviously an older high-def master but almost on par with Ringu 2, just more specs of dirt and debris. It also comes with a 2.0 stereo surround PCM presentation and a 5.1 DTS-HD MA surround track.

Disappointingly there isnít much else to be found here, nothing specifically around the main feature itself. There is a 25-minute interview with author Koji Suzuki, which looks to have been recorded around the time of Ringu 2ís release. Here Suzuki talks about his novels, his influences, how he writes, and shares his thoughts on the film adaptations (though he hadnít seen Nakataís sequel yet). The disc then closes with a bunch of trailers, including the UK trailer, a double-bill trailer for Ringu 2 and Shikoku, and then one of the Ring/Spiral double-bill trailer found on the disc for the first film.

Though getting the original sequel is really a great addition (despite how one might feel about that film) Iím still a little bummed that this film didnít receive the same love the other two films did; even Ringu 0 gets some more academic material.

6/10

CLOSING

Despite using an older restoration the film still comes off looking decent enough, but the features end up being the most disappointing in the set as it gets shafted from receiving any academic material that is found on the discs for the other titles. At the very least it comes with the alternate sequel Spiral, which makes for an interesting comparison if not much else.




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