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Marvel's Black Widow Review - More of the Same

If today's cinema world was a closet and you pull something out of it, you'd find yourself a superhero costume 70 percent of the times. Marvel's Black Widow is just another pretty looking and flashy costume, with little to no design modifications. Nonetheless, its an entertaining film and here's our verdict.  Film  – Marvel's Black Widow (2021) Duration  – 2h 14 m Director  – Cate Shortland Main Cast - Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz and David Harbour Rating  – 3 / 5 (It's a spoiler-free review) Black Widow acts as a fitting tribute to MCU's fan-favorite character but at the same time it is just more of the same stuff we see in a superhero flick. For one thing this film is about 5 years too late and for another, it doesn't really do anything for Black Widow's character or MCU as a whole. In my opinion it was just a cheap trick to encash the fans' emotions after losing her in Avengers: Endgame. Well, its not a bad film

Ringu (1998): How Silence Terrifies You!

Film – Ringu (1998)

Duration – 1h 36m 

Director – Hideo Nakata

Screenplay - Koji Suzuki, Hiroshi Takahashi

Main Cast - Nanako Matsushima and Miki Nakatani

Rating – 3.5 / 5 (RT - 97%, IMDB - 7.2)

Horror is my favourite genre and the reason is, it’s the most difficult one in terms of filmmaking. While growing up, watching Indian horror films like Makdee (Vishal Bharadwaj) and Bhoot (Ram Gopal Varma) were actually like an unattainable feat for me. They were so scary that till date, they have a deep influence on me. And western horror films actually played a card on me when I was first introduced to “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “The Hills Have Eyes” and shook me to the core. Ghosts/supernatural entities weren’t really into the scene then.

I was aware of the supernatural horror films but wasn’t properly into them till I saw “The Conjuring”. Thanks to a diverse group of western flick fan friends, I repeatedly kept hearing of certain films like “The Grudge”, “Evil Dead” and “The Ring”, whenever the discussion steered towards the horror genre. Today, I’m gonna talk about a Japanese horror film released in 1998, which had zero jumpscares but still succeded in having an eerie effect on the the audiences.


(Image: © Ringu/Rasen Production Committee)

I am talking about “Ringu” or as most people call it “The Ring”. Yes, the original Ring on which the Hollywood version was based. Japanese cinema is rich in weird films. Either they create seriously weird films or they create simple stories with great performances. And both kinds of films leave an effect on the audience.

(Image: © Ringu/Rasen Production Committee)

There aren't many horror films which actually send shivers down the audience's spine, mostly because filmmakers still apply the same old formulas and plotlines to make new films. Franchises like Saw, The Conjuring aren’t providing anything new to the horror genre. They just garnish the same film with an addition of few jump scares. Now, I am not against the jump scares. They can prove beneficial, if used with the right context and at the right moment. Every single frame is important while making and editing horror. Now that I set the context for you, lets talk about what we are here for. 

(Image: © Ringu/Rasen Production Committee)

The plot of The Ring is quite simple and famous too. It is about a videotape which kills its viewer after 7 days of watching it. The film starts with two teenagers (Masami and Tomoko) talking about it and one of them confesses that she watched it a week ago with her friends in a cabin in Izu where they headed for a getaway. The phone rings, one of them goes upstairs to pick it. But downstairs, the TV turns on by itself and a supernatural force kills Tomoko.

(Image: © Ringu/Rasen Production Committee)

Now, this cursed video story is investigated by Tomoko’s aunt, reporter Reiko.  Reiko lives with her son Yoichi and goes to the same cabin in Izu where the friends watched the tape. She takes the tape and makes a copy and the moment the tape ends playing, (while she was watching it in Izu) and she gets a phone call. She hears a distorted sound at the other end, confirming that she’ll only live 7 days.

(Image: © Ringu/Rasen Production Committee)

There are many things in the film which I really don't wanna spoil but the reason I am talking about this film is it's amazing sound design as sound is a major part of horror cinema. Ringu uses silence or “room tone” as its secret weapon to create a scary atmosphere. While darkness and the appearance of the ghost are shown with terrifying background music in most horror films but here, we watch everything in silence. We feel as if we’re actually into it. The last such piece I watched, was Takashi Miike’s horror masterpiece, “Audition” (I really want to talk about him someday too). People who have watched Audition would get what I’m trying to say here.

The room tone, with the silent grainy sound does wonders in this film. Now, it is also important to note that this film came at a time when horror films were not doing good in the industry. But Ringu went on to become the highest-grossing horror film that year, even in Hongkong where it’s competitor was, Wachowski's The Matrix.


(Image: © Ringu/Rasen Production Committee)

There is one particular scene where Reiko is in the cabin, watching that cursed tape. After the tape ends, she sees something as a reflection on the TV and then looks around the room. The whole scene is so well executed that it feels like the same reflection is looking directly at us, making us feel as if we’re in the same room with Reiko. The use of lighting in this scene is also praise worthy.

(Image: © Ringu/Rasen Production Committee)

If you are someone who is looking for a good non-American horror flick, Ringu, or the original Ring is the one to go with. I have no problems with the American remake as it was also directed by Hideo Nakata (that’s the reason I did not compare it with the American version) but as they say, originals are classics and simply can't beat them!


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