Ringu's Influence on Asian Horror Films

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The 1998 Japanese horror film by Hideo Nakata, Ringu, is the highest grossing horror film in Japan. Its influence on numerous Asian horror films that followed is seen in many of the narrative, visual, and thematic similarities that they all share. The Thai horror film The Victim is one example. This essay will discuss the role that the media and technology plays, along with the treatment of the supernatural in both Ringu and The Victim. Lastly, it will show how both films share similar complex narrative structures.

In both Ringu and The Victim, media and technology are presented as causes of the characters’ demise, and serve as conduits in which the supernatural asserts itself in the characters’ worlds. In Ringu, the cursed videotape brings death upon the viewer unless it is duplicated and passed on. The other medium, the telephone, acts as the bringer of bad news, informing the victim of his numbered days. As such, Ringu vilifies these technological gadgets that have become prevalent in modern day society, providing a social commentary of the infectious nature of the media, and its ability to influence and corrupt. Society’s oblivion towards harmful media effects can be seen in Ryuji’s initial disbelief of the cursed videotape, dismissing Reiko by saying “It’s just a videotape”. Furthermore, the scene of Sadako crawling out of the television set towards a helpless Ryuji, possibly serves to symbolically represent society’s powerlessness in the face of media influence.

Society’s inability to resist the lure of the media is likewise seen in The Victim. Ting’s obsession with making it big in the media industry compels her to take on an acting job that could potentially offend the supernatural. The supernatural also intrudes the protagonist’s world via technological gadgets like that in Ringu. During the filming process, a ghostly voice screams “Why the f*** did you cut?!” into Shane’s headphones. He also witnesses an abrupt change in the television screen...
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