See, I really enjoyed the American version, but found the Japanese one better and more enjoyable. Maybe it does have something to do with having seen it first, but pretty much everything stated above as negatives for the Japanese one, I found as positives.
First of all, the video in the Japanese version is a hell of a lot better than the American one. As something created by an evil force, the fact that the video quality was piss poor was a big bonus. As a friend said about the American curse video, it looked like a student film. The quality was nice, but the imagery was just too nice and fitting. I didn’t like the way every little thing shown in the American version had an explaination. “Ahh, the chair symbolises a chair; the lader is the lader leading to her room.” The imagery in the Japanese one was much more psychologiacally driven and gave a better glimse into the psyche of a tormented, angry spirit, and a glimpse into hell, of sorts. There were a few things in it to be interpreted, thus to help progress the story, but many of the images (the man with the towel over his head, the people crawling backwards, the sheep/horse eye) were just twisted images with no solid explaination.
I don’t like the “Seven Days” on the phone. I really liked the twisted “Noise” over the phone in the Japanese version. It makes Sadako even more intangible and frightening. When the phone rings, the audience only hears the same grating noise played in the video, yet somehow, that noise is able to speak. Really creepy.
Sadako is just more terrifying than Samara. Stand the two next to each other, and which one do you think could kick the other’s ass? Sadako’s body movements (the twitching!!), the attention drawn to her fingers, and long, looooooong hair just made her much more terrifying than Samara. That little teleportation jump cut Samara made was fucking stupid.
[SPOILER]Sadako’s coming out of the television was WAY creepier than Samara’s. Not just the lack of “jump cut” move, but Sadako was solid! Making Samara skip in and out like she was a television image was another dumb move. It made her look fake (if that makes any sense). When Sadako came threw the screen, she wasn’t projecting some televised image, she was IN YOUR ROOM!!! Having Samara go to snow a few times, as well as looking like a black and white image was lame. And showing her face was another horrible decision in my opinion. Seeing that close up of Sadako’s eye…that EYE! WAAAAAAY creepier than an angry girl’s little face. And the Japanese one didn’t cut the suspense by having the action interrupted by having the wife driving to the ex’s apartment halfway through the scene. Another bad decision by the director, and another example of how the slow moving, static camera work of the Japanese succeeded.[spoiler]
There was a huge cultural difference between the Japanese and American one, that can cause a lot of problems. I didn’t really like the whole horse aspect of the American one, and the differences in family were something I really didn’t care about either. The Japanese Ring gives a much better reasoning behind Sadako’s anger and it’s preserverance over the American one.
The whole reasoning behind the ghost’s anger is vengence. Sadako was abandoned as a child in the cave where unwanted babies go. This is a huge deal that’s never brought up in the American version. This gives the daughter real reason to hate and want to punish the mother. But, the mother kills herself, and denies her that. And, after the father ditches her in the well, he murders himself, again, denying her the chance for vengence. So, she takes it out on the world. In the American one, the fact that both parents outlived the daughter, then commited suicide due to the fact her spirit wouldn’t leave them alone means that, with the father’s death, all debts are settled. And having the mother murder her was an interesting interpretation of it, so I guess it’s all how you look at it. Plus, the Japanese one has a bit of an explaination for the creepiness of the child’s parentage. The suspicious townsfolk believe she was fathered by a sea ogre, whereas the American version…they went away and had a kid. Oooo, spoooky.
The Japanese one was a bit more hokey with the whole use of ESP and sometimes got a little too hokey, but it gave a bit more reasoning behind the son’s connection to the spirit world. The ex-husband in the American version was way too silly and wacky for me. It explains the “Not ready to have a family” excuse for why things didn’t work, but why the two characters would ever have been involved to begin with (much less married) I have no idea. And there was no explaination for the son’s psychic abilities. Another thing the Japanese one handled better was the reasoning behind why the kid watched the video. The reasoning behind him watching it in the AMerican one? “I couldn’t sleep.” Couldn’t Sleep? So, you pop in an unmarked tape instead of just channel surfing late night skinemax or watching any of the other movies you have in the family video library? Huh? I prefer the Japanese Ringu’s reasoning. “Why did you watch this?”
“My dead cousin’s ghost gave it to me and said to watch it.”
MUCH more terrifying. Not only is the kid psychic and talking to spirits, but the spirits are now lapdogs of this evil, angry, video cursing bitch! Once you’re dead, the torment’s not over.
Also, I just liked the “simply scared to death” bodies of the Japanese version vs. the “waterlogged, grey skinned, blood spewing, mandible mauled” corpses of the American version. When the parents and main character are talking about how the daughter “just up and died with no reason,” it’s a lot more plausible if the person has no marks on them then if they look all butchered. People who just up and die don’t look like the Americanized corpses do. If you find a body like that, something more happened to it than "Her heart just…stopped."Okay, I’m going to stop now…