A review of the 2000 Japanese horror film "Ring 0: Birthday"
Last night I saw the 2000 movie Ring 0: Birthday, directed by Norio Tsuruta, and based on a short story, "Lemonheart", by Koji Suzuki, who created the Ring franchise.
It's a prequel set about thirty years before the events of the first Ring film and tells how troubled psychic Sadako Yamamura (played by Yukie Nakama) changed from a promising actress in a theatre troupe to a vengeful spirit. For most of the film, it's more of a backstage melodrama with supernatural overtones. It feels like pretty much an oddity in the Ring series, for one thing the cursed video tape is only ever mentioned once, briefly in a modern day set prologue. Obviously, video tapes did not exist in the late sixties, where the film is set, so it doesn't answer the question of where the tape came from. The film takes a real turn in it's last half hour or so, and has some quite bizarre plot revelations. That don't really make a lot of sense.
It's very slow, and I can imagine a lot of people will get really quite bored by it, but it is atmospheric and there is enough to keep watching. Also the series deserves points for at least trying new things.