Ring: The Spiral (Rasen) (1998)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Trailer-Scrapped Princess-Vol 1, Seven Samurai
Trailer-Howl's Moving Castle
|Year Of Production||1998|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Jôji Iida|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Japanese dts 5.1 (1536Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
There seems for all the world to be a curse on the Ring sequels. Despite both the original Ringu and the American remake The Ring being successful and superb horror films, the sequels continue to flounder and disappoint. The American sequel is an easy target - The Ring Two makes so little sense that it's hilarious to watch at times, while the final Japanese sequel Ring 0: Birthday is an astonishingly boring piece of garbage mostly spent with Sadako's acting troupe horsing around what appears to be a school play. Likewise Ringu 2 was an incoherent mess, but it at least had the good sense to bombard the viewer with a lovely epileptic fits and flashbacks and nightmarish imagery to the point in which it has its own cult following.
Released alongside the original Ringu, The Spiral was a bomb while Ringu went on to be one of the biggest film successes ever in Japan. Completely ignored, the more commonly recognised sequel was later released featuring the director/cast of the original, and The Spiral was forgot. This is, incidentally, quite fortunate, because The Spiral is the worst of the bunch - it feels like a student film, shot on handicam with horrible acting, a generally hideous soundtrack, nonsensical flashbacks, poor editing, and a storyline so retarded that it actually tarnishes the original.
The Spiral goes beyond itself as boring, bland, amateur junk to actually commence assault on the plot of the original. Reducing the fascinating techno-fear-cum-technologically-spread-STD subtext to a VHS-spread DNA disease like the chicken pox (what?!) is completely preposterous, but then the film takes off in an all new insane direction that seems to suggest the entire film is an anti-sex-without-love tract, then an anti-cloning tract, then an anti-evolution tract, with each plot twist dragging itself further and further into absurdity. In the end, it turns out that (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) Takayama actually manufactured the entire situation from the first film so that his rival would accidentally impregnate his young girlfriend with a virus that was actually the real reason people died from watching the tape so that Sadako could be reborn from her womb so that he could be reborn through Sadako's womb and also his rival's son could be reborn through Sadako's womb - the magic womb!! - so they could all spread a virus that would make people give birth to psychic monsters that would end mankind through evolution. I am not joking. Please, please, please do not see The Spiral. It is not a "So bad, it's good!" film - you've had much more fun reading my review than you would ever have watching this trash.
The transfer quality is extremely good, featuring a very sharp and detailed picture, with purposely bland colours across the entire film in attempt to give it a similar atmosphere to the rest of the series. Although there are scenes in which light levels are problems (the darkness is occasionally too dark, such as at 23.30) the transfer is consistently great.
There are no problems with interlacing and a surprising lack of grain, even in the darker scenes. Film artefacts are present, but absolutely minimal.
The film features English subtitles which look great, using the SBS-standard yellow-text-black-border that makes for excellent watchability and should, in my opinion, be standard for all DVDs. Unfortunately on this DVD, the subtitles are not always accurate translations, often include spelling mistakes, and are even absent from scenes on occasion. (Note that this doesn't make the film any less coherent.)
The Japanese dts track is the much preferred audio option, utilizing the rear channels many times to establish its atmosphere and delivering the occasional jump scare from behind. The subwoofer kicks into gear occasionally to deliver a jolt (sometimes the only thing that can keep you awake) and it's overall a much better soundscape than the film actually deserves. The 5.1 track is not bad, but lacks the full atmosphere, with a much more subdued surround feeling.
The soundtrack itself relies heavily on dreary, unpleasant music in attempt to establish a Kairoesque tone, but fails due to the lack of emotional range and general lack of immersion. The sound effects and dialogue are all competently mixed, and the overall audio is much better than the film deserves, despite carrying on the film's lack of effectiveness.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The video transfer is very good and atmospheric, unlike the movie, and the two audio tracks are also very good.
There are very few extras.
|DVD||LG LH-D6230, using Component output|
|Display||Benq PE7700. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD Player, Dolby Digital and DTS. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).|
|Speakers||B&W LCR 600 S3 (Front & Centre); B&W DM 600 (Rears); B&W ASW500 (Sub)|