1998 Japanese horror movie

Rating: 15/20

Plot: Japanese teenagers trying to rent Jigoku from their local video store are accidentally given a copy of Japanese remake of Jingle All the Way with Japan's versions of Sinbad and Arnold Swarzeneggar. They quickly learn their mistake but feel drawn to the video and watch the entire movie. One of them had already seen the American original Jingle All the Way and kept pompously talking about how the Japanese remake isn't nearly as good. The phone rings, and a week later, they all die.

I was really disappointed to discover that this movie doesn't have a single Hobbit in it.

This doesn't have the glitz and glam of the remake with Naomi Watts. I actually think that works to make the story eerier. The menacing soundtrack and scratchy sound effects add to the experience. Ringu (and The Ring) has one of those movie moments that will forever be famous; the problem is that you can't watch it for the first time twice. It doesn't take away from the power of the scene or anything, but it's a bit watered down by appearing in two different versions of the story and being spoofed in one of those Scary Movies. It's been a while since I saw the remake, a movie I also liked, but this one seems quieter, more reflective, relying more on characterization and setting a realistic sinister mood than on traditional movie scare tactics. I think I prefer the video in the Hollywood remake, but the one in the Japanese version is sufficiently creepy. And watching either one of them over and over for an hour and a half would be better than watching Jingle All the Way once. But seriously. No Hobbits? That's a little misleading.

1 comment:

cory said...

This is very creepy, but I do prefer the American version that I saw first. This is partly because of the initial shock, and also because of the amazingly disturbing video that set that film apart. A 15 for this version, and an 18 for the Watts version.