Eun-Kyung Shin, Du-na Bae
It seems like everyone has tried to make their own take on
Suzuki Koji's The Ring, a story of a cursed videotape
that kills whoever watches it seven days after they view it.
While the American version brought
this story to popular light in North America and the Japanese
version was credited with influencing it, I would have
to say that the Korean version, The Ring Virus, is
actually the most true to the original novel. While I won't
go into the differences here (that's an article for another
day), I will say that The Ring Virus does manage to
do a good job at balancing between the book and the Japanese
Once again, the story finds a female journalist looking into
the mysterious death of her cousin, which eventually leads
her to the cursed tape. She enlists the aid of a doctor with
paranormal sensibilities to help her solve the riddle of the
tape before she dies. Of course, since he watched the tape,
he himself also has a vested interest in solving the riddle.
The riddle leads them to hunt down Eun-suh, a young woman
with paranormal abilities who they believe created the videotape.
Before the seven days are up, they discover that she, in fact,
is dead and they must solve her murder in hopes of breaking
The Ring Virus is really hard to nail down. I really
liked the fact that it was more true to the original novel
and that there was actually more character development in
this version than the Japanese version. Also, the flashback
sequences are excellent, especially the one where Eun-suh
is working in the acting troupe. The music alone in the scene
makes it disturbing and eerie. The problem is that The
Ring Virus really feels like it was slapped together to
cash in on the Ringu craze while it was still hot on
that side of the world. There are a number of story elements
that are left hanging and the movie really requires that the
viewer has a prior knowledge of at least Ringu and
more preferably The Ring novel.
To top it all off, The Ring Virus has quite possibly
the worst subtitles that I have even seen. Yes, there is no
English dub on the DVD I watched. The English subtitles seemed
to have been roughly translated in the span of a single viewing
and feature some exceptionally bad broken English. It's made
worse when whole lines are viewed a few seconds before a line
is spoken. During the course of a conversation, this makes
figuring out who is saying what a massive chore.
If you are a huge fan of The Ring (book or movie)
or Ringu, I'd suggest giving this a rent just to see
what the Korean version has to offer. If you haven't been
familiar with the other works mentioned, don't bother as The
Ring Virus doesn't provide anything new to the mythos.