The Ring is, at its heart, a traditional ghost story. Yes, it has been modernized somewhat–there literally is a ghost in the machine, in this case a television set–but it is traditional in that it relies on things like atmosphere, mood, and setting to create suspense. Much of what passes for horror nowadays is about as scary as a rerun of Quincy; if you’ve got a strong stomach and a liking for power tools, you’re set. Traditional horror relies on tickling the more primal parts of our brains, where the basic fears dwell: darkness, loneliness, the unknown.
The plot: rumors spread through Japan of a cursed video; if you watch it, you will die exactly one week later. Reiko Asakawa, a reporter, hears the stories and is curious. She tracks down the video, watches it, and immediately wishes she hasn’t. Hoping to solve the video’s riddle, Reiko makes a copy and shows it to her ex-husband (at his suggestion, not hers), and he agrees to help her. But the clock is ticking…
Teens who like horror will pick up The Ring; it is different enough from the American version of the movie to sustain interest. Also, there is a second volume (not reviewed here), so readers can learn what happens after the movie ends. Recommended.
The Ring, vol. 1
by Misao Inagaki
Dark Horse 2003