An urban myth circulates about an ominous video that, if viewed, causes death in seven days. TV reporter Reiko (Nanako Matsushima) decides to investigate the mysterious and sudden deaths of four young people, including her niece Tomoko (Yûko Takeuchi). Reiko discovers a strange video with grainy, haunting images at the cabin where the four friends had stayed a week before their deaths. After viewing the tape, the phone rings and Reiko receives a death summons. A consistent atmosphere of eerie dread builds as Reiko and her ex-husband Ryuji (Hiroyuki Sanada) must struggle to solve the mystery in time to save themselves and their son from a terrifying, omnipresent, evil force.
Four teenagers die in mysterious circumstances after inadvertently watching a strange tv programme and receiving equally strange phone calls. Tv reporter Reiko, the aunt of one of the teenagers, investigates and sees the programme for herself. Soon afterwards, the phone rings and she learns she has only a week to live. Reiko, who lives with her small son, becomes increasingly concerned that she may be the next victim, and she elicits the help of her ex-husband. The trail leads them to a remote part of the country and an unsolved 40- year-old disappearance.
Ring, directed by Hideo Nakata and based on a book by Koji Suzuki, has become a cult film in Japan and other parts of Asia, so much so that, since it was made in 1998, there have already been two sequels. The film, which is made with pristine precision, is creepy most of the time and occasionally truly scary. But it's not always clear exactly what's going on, and there were times when I was completely lost. Still, it's good to see a horror film in which the thrills are handled in a low-key style - by pulling back on the overt shocks, the film, with its consistent atmosphere of fear and dread, becomes strangely compulsive viewing.