” Characters are then plagued by specters who suck the life force from their victims, driving them to despair and suicide, or death from a virus that spreads throughout the bodies of the infected, leaving nothing but ashy remains.
What seem like crucial characters are killed off early on, the survivors remaining disassociated from one another — we don’t see them bonding or working together in [Kurosawa’s] films very much, and their motivations are left obscure....
The resulting disjointedness emphasizes the ideas that he is trying to express — the disconnection individuals feel with one another, with society as a whole, and ultimately with reality.” The endings of the Japanese and American versions have starkly different subtexts. In both versions, television sets and videocassette recorders (instead of wireless networks) serve as the conduit of evil; after viewing a cursed videotape filled with disturbing images, victims have only seven days to live.
After changing her number to a new, cursed one, the daughter of Ji-Won’s friend, Ho-jeong (Yu-mi Kim), answers the phone and becomes infected by the insidious hex.
The movie takes a number of twists and turns until it is discovered that the evil ghost is that of a young girl Jin-hie (Ji-yeon Choi), who has been walled up in Yu-mi’s home, entombed with her cell phone in hand.
In the title sequence, images and sound bites remind us of just how difficult it is to get away from the invisible communication networks that now weave round the planet.
An announcer declares that we “can now be on the Internet anywhere in the world,” and a shot of spreading cell-phone networks is eerily reminiscent of a shot in , the Dustin Hoffman film about the potential spread of an Ebola-like infection.
Of course, Asian cinema doesn’t hold a monopoly on the theme of “technology as threat,” but most such American releases — like — are usually larger than life action flicks. “Horror movies are best when they give expression to wider cultural anxieties,” Sharp points out.
Asian techno-horror movies, by contrast, are more intimate and in a sense more relatable: While we’re not all adulterers or murderers, most of us have cell phones. “The recent Japanese horror films don’t see technology in itself as a threat ...
At the end of that week, an evil little girl (named Sadako in the original and Samara in the remake) crawls through the nearest television screen in order to attack her prey, literally scaring them to death.
In , after viewing the tape, Rachel (Naomi Watts) begins to take notice of society’s addiction to the medium: Standing on her apartment balcony she sees that every apartment near her has a television blaring; when Rachel and a friend discover the room in the barn Samara was forced to sleep in, they note that the girl’s only companion was a television; TVs are even omnipresent away from the city, as the original cursed tape comes from a VCR in the countryside that failed to record a football game.