Fantasia 2019 Review: ‘Sadako’ is An Overzealous Attempt at Reviving a Franchise

The phrase, “seven days,” has echoed through the heads of my generation since the release of The Ring in 2002. This Naomi-Watts-helmed horror film brought fear and terror to the heart of many in the States. But before 2002, there was Hideo Nakata’s 1998 Japanese film, Ringu, which first brought the fear of a cursed videotape to our collective consciousness. Nakata’s film is about a vengeful ghost, Sadako, and how she murders those who watch her videotape. Since its initial release, Ringu has been adapted into an English remake and spurred an entire Japanese franchise of sequels and showdown flicks (Sadako fights Kayako, the ghost from Ju-On). Now, Nakata has returned to the Ringu franchise with Sadako, which premiered at Fantasia Fest this year. Unfortunately, Nakata’s return did not bring back the scares or originality. 

To be clear about the Ringu canon, Sadako is meant to be a direct sequel to Ringu 2. That sounds straightforward on paper, but really, Rasen was the first sequel. Then Nakata returned to make Ringu 2 due to Rasen’s poor reception. There are two cinematic timelines for this franchise, and yes it is very confusing! None of this really seems to come into play in Sadako, though, other than just knowing who she is.

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