The Ring Virus (1999)

DVD Cover (Tai Seng Entertainment)
Genres: Horror, Psychological Thriller, Supernatural Horror
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Dong-bin Kim Dong-bin Kim
Eun-Kyung Shin Eun-Kyung Shin
Seung-Hyun Lee Seung-Hyun Lee
Jin-young Jung Jin-young Jung
Chang-wan Kim Chang-wan Kim
Doona Bae Doona Bae
Movie Connections:
The Ring
> Ringu (1995)
> Rasen (1998)
> Ringu (1998)
> Ring: The Final Chapter (1999)
> Ringu 2 (1999)
> The Ring Virus (1999)
> Rasen (1999)
> Ringu 0 (2000)
> The Ring (2002)
> Rings (2005)
> The Ring Two (2005)
> Sadako (2012)
> Sadako 2 (2013)
> Sadako vs. Kayako (2016)
> Rings (2017)
> ...Show All Connections?

6.1 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: October 29, 2004
In this Korean remake of Ringu, we receive a storyline that is pretty similar to the original with only a few minor changes. We start the movie up with a young girl that is home alone, and she receives a text message on her pager that says something to the effect of "We shouldn't have watched it". The phone rings, and it's her boyfriend (I think) checking up on her. He wants to go out for the evening, but she says that she has to study for her exams that are coming up next week. As they're chatting, she hears some strange noises coming from his line, and then hears the same noises coming up behind her. She turns around, and... cut-scene over to Sun-Joo (Eun-Kyung Shin), who is preparing both herself and her daughter to go to the aforementioned girls funeral. Sun-Joo later finds out that the girl had gone to a resort along with three friends during the week prior to her death, and all four of them had died of cardiac arrest on the same night. She finds this to be just a bit odd, and decides to use her journalist connections in order to investigate further. Her investigations lead her to Choi Yeol (Jin-Yeong Jeong), a doctor who claims that the four teens were killed by supernatural forces. He recommends to Sun-Joo that she stay away from this, as it could become quite dangerous to her. Of course, Sun-Joo doesn't listen, and finds out the location of the resort where the four teens stayed at. The rest of the movie, save for a few details that I won't spoil here, plays out almost identically to the original Ringu.

If you've seen either the original version or the American remake, you already know what to expect in terms of the way the storyline goes, how the movie ends, and most of the details throughout. While I find the general storyline that is shared throughout each of the three movies to be quite interesting, this is by far the weakest in terms of entertainment and execution of the three. The main problem here is that it seems as though the director wanted to remake Ringu almost scene-by-scene, with very little in terms of original content for her version. Sure, there's minor things that have changed throughout, such as Choi Yeol being a doctor instead of Sun-Joo's ex-husband, Sun-Joo has a daughter instead of a son, and the movie starts up with only one female instead of two; but when it comes to the scenes and twists that have anything to do with the storyline as a whole, we find a carbon copy of the original. Now, I'm not saying that remakes should be polar opposites of the movie they're a remake of, as that sort of logic usually ends up with disastrous results. No sir, this wasn't my gripe with the film at all... my problem was the fact that some key parts of the movie were not included here at all. If you've seen either of the other versions of the film, this wouldn't be too much of a problem; both of those versions do a good job in laying out the storyline, and either of those would have filled you in on what's happening here and why. However, if you're new to the series, this version of the storyline is sure to leave you wondering what the hell is going on, as it seems as though the director just went with the assumption that everyone who would watch this had already seen the original. I'm fully aware that Ringu was a huge success in Japan during it's initial release, but making assumptions like that is still sloppy film-making at its finest.

It wasn't all bad, though. This movie did have some good parts, as well as some flat-out great parts. The opening scene in all three movies plays out in identical fashion, but in my opinion, this version of the introduction does it the best. The musical score was also much better than either of the other two versions, as I believe that this one did a much better job of setting the mood and building the tension throughout. Eun-Suh (Du-Na Bae), the girl on the tape, was also done pretty nicely, though there's simply no comparison to Sadako from the original. The special effects were handled decently enough for the most part, though there were a few blunders that tended to bring the entertainment level down a bit. The contents of the tape itself is toned down considerably here, though the addition of the end of the tape revealing how to break the curse, only to have been recorded over, made it a bit more interesting. The most noticeable special-effect screwup is the "skeleton" scene, which came off looking incredibly bad on-screen. I won't detail that part too much, as it would definitely spoil the movie for the three of you who haven't seen either version, but suffice it to say, it'd be horrible by Sci-Fi B-Movie standards.

Overall though, this is a remake that shouldn't have happened. With the exception of a few below-minor changes to details, and one very bizarre change to the girl on the tape, there's nothing new here that would warrant checking this version out even if you thoroughly enjoyed either of the other versions of the film. If you haven't seen either of those other versions, this one would do nothing but leave you completely confused as to what it is that you're witnessing. The subtitles in the American release of this film don't do much to help that, as entire chunks of dialogue are not translated, and there's a sadly large number of very bad translations ("We haven't should tape watched the video!", for example). 4/10 is the final rating.
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