Ring review

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Big in Japan, Nakata's ongoing adaptations of Koji Suzuki's Ring novels mix dense horror with folklore, urban myth and, in fine Blair Witch-style, intense fear of the inexplicable.

This first part starts with a mysterious videotape. Watch it, the story goes, and you'll die within a week. Reporter and single mother Reiko (Nanako Matsuma) just can't resist, and when she takes a peak, along with her ex-husband and young son, she has to race to lift the VHS curse. Her fraught enquiries flesh out an intricate back-story about a vengeful ghost-cum-witch, in a middle act that rejects shock tactics for sensitive performances and an affectingly sombre grapple with mortality.

It's cunning slow-burn, and once the two creepy pay-offs arrive, thick with inky shadows and insidious sounds, all the more potent for it. A sure, stealthy shocker which certainly primes you for the sequel.

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