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Ring Virus

South Korea 1999
produced by
Mauricio Dortona for AFDF
directed by Kim Dong-bin
starring Shin Eun-Kyung, Lee Seung-hyeon, Jeong Jin-hyeon, Kim Chang-wan, Bae Du-na, Kim Ggoch-ji, Yu Yeon-Su
screenplay by Kim Dong-bin, based on the novel Ringu by Koji Suzuki, music by Won Il


review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Journalist Sun-ju (Shin Eun-kyung) investigates the death of her niece and three of her friends at exactly the same time from heart attacks, and the only connection she finds is a videotape all four of them have watched a week before ... and when she watches teh videotape as well, she realizes that must be the cause of their deatchs - among other things because the video says you will die exactly in one week. Thing is, now Sun-ju has watched the video too, and thus her life's in danger as well ...

Eventually, Sun-ju hooks up with forensic Choi (Jeong Jin-yeong) who has performed the autopsy on her niece and who is just cynical enough to watch the video as well (so his life's in danger as well) before the two set out to investigate the backgrounds of the video ... and when Sun-ju's daughter Boram watches the video too, she realizes just how much is at stake for her ...

Eventually, Sun-ju and Choi realize that the video was not filmed by camera but telepathically recorded on tape, and when they look through all the recent cases of telepathy in the area, they soon stumble upon Eun-su (Bae Du-na) who was once a famous telepath who later tried to become an actress but who has disappeared 11 years ago without a trace while staying at a sanitarium (where, by the way, a few patients died under mysterious circumstances).

After much to and fro and after Sun-ju and Choi almost get stranded on an island exactly on the day of Sun-ju's death, they make it to the sanitarium and find Eun-su's former lover and the only men who knew her secret: she was a hermaphrodite - and for some reason, that made him throw her into a well and let her die in the well. Sun-ju and Choi now know they ahve to find the well and her corpse in the well, and give her a proper burial, just so her spirit can rest in peace ... and they manage to do so just in time before Sun-ju's proposed time of death ... and she survives.

But does that mean the curse of Eun-su and of the videotape are over ?

Nope, the next day at exactly the appointed time, Eun-su crawls out of Choi's tv-set and kills him.

Sun-ju quickly realizes she hasn't lifted the curse by giving Eun-su a decent burial, but by copying the video for Choi, because only if you copy the video can the curse be lifted ... which is why she has to make her little daughter copy the video too in order to keep her alive ...


I do not quite understand this.

In 1998, director Hideo Nakata made the immensely successful and very creepy shocker Ringu, a relatively loose adaptation of Koji Suzuki's rather mediocre horror novel. Only one year later, director/screenwriter Kim Dong-bin has obviously decided to remake this film that has almost instantly become a horror classic. In this respect it is important to say that Kim Dong-bin did not offer an alternative adaptation of the book, he stayed much closer to the plot of the film than its source novel to begin with (he did however include some of the books more bizarre and unnecessary details that Hideo Nakata wiself left out, like Eun-su/Sadako being a hermaphrodite). Why Kim Dong-bin went through all the trouble remains at anyone's guess, his version of the story is far inferior to the original, totally lacking atmosphere and tension, making whole sequences boring that were nervewreckingly suspenseful in Ringu, and totally lacking the inventiveness of Hideo Nakata's film.

An utterly boring remake.

A few years later, in 2002, director Gore Verbinski made another remake of Ringu in Hollywood, with similar results (which was to be expected from a Hollywood film though) ...


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD