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Unlike The Grudge and Juon, the original Japanese version of The Ring is the only version you need to get acquainted with.  This restrained Japanese horror classic is coherent and concisely written, unlike many of today's American horror movies.  It is so restrained, in fact, that many viewers that have drunk in lots of contemporary horror films might find this movie decidedly not very scary.  But Ringu owes its success less to "jump scare" contrivances and more to carefully crafted atmosphere and a seriously heavy "race against time" theme.  For my money, the ghost designs of The Grudge are effectively creepier.  However, there's no denying the creepiness and sheer evilness of Sadako.  The infamous "tv crawling" scene is now being talked about as one of the scariest sequences ever put to film, but other parts are sure to make your skin crawl.  And unlike the American remake, Ringu never messes around with random extraneous parts and gets right to point with characterization that's not too shabby in the least.  Japanese language with English subtitles  Grade: A

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