It’s been a while since I submerged myself into some good Japanese horror. Unfortunately, this movie was more like rolling around in a shallow puddle in the middle of a Home Depot parking lot.
Ring of Curse (ummm…is it just me or does it sound like there’s something off in the translation here?) begins with three cutesy little teenage girls explaining to us, the viewers, about a movie they created. Naturally it’s based on a true story and the girl speaking says she has taken on the main role of Yuka while her companions look awkward and sad. Enjoy.
Yuka is asked by her literature club teacher to enlist the membership of Hinako, a loner weirdo girl in her class to join the club. Hinako won an award for a novel she wrote and won’t that make her a great addition? Yuka is promptly shut down because hello? Loner.
Not only is Hinako a loner but she’s a great student and her classmates, particularly Sonoda, are sick and tired of not being as smart. So they organize a class wide bullying campaign against her. They also use the opportunity of producing a class play to make Hinako write the script, allowing them more opportunities to be little assholes. Hinako accepts the job, though, and we all know this is probably a VERY BAD THING.
Soon Hinako’s bullies begin dying, usually soon after they read her work. Yuka suspects shenanigans on Hinako’s part and eventually confronts her. Yep, Hinako has discovered the power of putting a curse into words and anyone who reads what she writes is doomed to die.
You might think that’s the end of the story but oh, no. Not by a freakin’ long shot. But that would involve spoilers and I don’t want to ruin too much for anyone!
Overall the movie was rather lackluster. It felt like so many other Japanese horror films. In fact, I’m pretty sure they stole ideas from The Ring and Death Note but put everything in the context of high school so that made it feel more original….not really.
Hinako is dark and weird right out of the gate but her backstory gives us an idea of why. Sure it was a bit contrived but it worked in garnering my sympathy for the poor thing. Personally almost everyone that fell to the curse got exactly what was coming to them. Yeah, we were all shitbirds as kids (well, maybe the Dalai Lama wasn’t) but the students in this film were just so abhorrent that trust me, you wanted them to die.
Most of the deaths related to the curse were unsettling (I have a thing about not being able to breathe) but there were two that had me in shock in their severity. I can’t tell you what they were because that would spoil it but they are worth slogging through the rest of the film to watch.
Certain elements that just sucked, aside from the stolen ideas, were: 1. Hinako researching on the Internet about how to create a curse. Really? She just had to Google it? (insert resting bitch face here) 2. Yuka and some fellow students trying to math their way into a survival solution. Who the hell wants a statistics homework montage in the middle of a horror movie? “Study your math, kids. Key to the universe!” 3. Near the end of the film, the writers just start dumping exposition in to explain multiple layers and elements of this curse and it becomes so muddled and complicated that I had no idea what the hell was going on until one character finally comes in at the end to explain it all.
Aside from a few precious moments of awesome in the movie, the whole film was a let down. Go watch the films Ring of Curse stole its ideas from and you’ll be much happier.
2 Hatchets (out of 10)
About the Author
Peggy Christie has been writing horror fiction since 1999. Her work has appeared in several websites, magazines, and anthologies, including Necrotic Tissue, Code Z: An Undead Hospital Anthology, Black Ink Horror, Elements of Horror, and Vicious Verses and Reanimated Rhymes. Her short story, “Why Be Normal?”, opened the anthology Reckless Abandon from Catalyst Press which premiered at the Horrorfind Convention in 2002. Her collection, Hell Hath No Fury, was published by Hazardous Press in May of 2013. Peggy is also the Secretary of the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers. She even has her own webpage. Check it out at themonkeyisin.com.
Peggy loves Korean dramas, survival horror video games, and chocolate (not necessarily in that order) and lives in Michigan with her husband and their two dogs, Roscoe P. Coltrane and Dozer.