I read this book many years ago, after the Americans released their more modern remake of the original Japanese horror movie, Ringu. Back then, this trilogy terrified me, especially since I could picture those horrifying dead faces from the movie in my head, sending chills and goose-pimples down my spine. So much so, that when I found these novels on my bookshelf and decided to re-read this trilogy for Halloween 2020, I found that I couldn’t quite bring myself to begin reading it late at night. Preferring to wait for the comfort of daylight instead.
…possible spoiler warning…
Four school-age teenagers watch a disturbing VHS tape that they find while staying in a secluded log cabin, which foretells their deaths, exactly one week from that moment. Much later, on hearing about the four suspiciously similar deaths, magazine journalist Kazayuki Asakawa becomes curious about the cause, and finds himself embroiled in a nightmarish mystery, with his own life on the line.
Ring was originally written in Japanese by Koji Suzuki and later translated into English for wider publication. Sometimes this transfer between languages throws up an unusual sentence, or an odd order of words, but otherwise I wouldn’t necessarily have guessed that it had originally been a foreign story.
It feels like a fairly short read, especially with its fast pace and simple, easy flowing structure. The story isn’t boring, but I didn’t necessarily find it quite as terrifying as I did all those years ago. Ring definitely has its creepy moments, especially for those with a vivid imagination – or someone who’s recently watched one of the associated movies perhaps. The story is more mystery thriller, than out-and-out horror, with the journalist investigating and reporting on the strange deaths. However, there are undertones of the paranormal and occult, which were a little disturbing.
For the most part, at 3 out of 5 stars, I enjoyed Ring, however I’m rather perplexed at the rapist character of Ryuji Takayama, and just what those elements were supposed to bring to the overall story. I don’t feel that they were really necessary or pertinent to the plot, and therefore could – and should – have been left out of the book. In this way the overall story could have been improved, and made for much better reading.
Also, the conclusion was left open-ended, as a means of convincing the reader to buy the next book in the trilogy. Despite this, there is a preview for the second book immediately following the end of the novel. For me, this somewhat ruined the reading experience for the overall series.