Monday, April 30, 2007

Portrait of a Badass: Sadako

Character: Sadako
Actor:Inou Rie / Shirai Chihiro
Film: Ring (1998)
Badass Moment: Sadako is ready for her close-up, Mr. DeMille (pictured).

For a high-contrast example of the difference between Japanese and American horror films, all you have to do is watch Ring (1998) and its American counterpart THE Ring (2002). Each film lays out, in unambiguous terms, the devices of choice for its respective genre: Ring (sometimes romanized as Ringu) creeps you out with uncertainty and indecipherable imagery, while The Ring prefers to make you jump out of your seat with jolting music cues and sudden shots of disfigured corpses.

What most Japanese moviegoers cite, however, as Ring's number one agent of cinematic trepidation is not the creepy business of dead people with contorted facial expressions. That is, unless you count the contorted facial expression pictured above, which belongs to the super-scary killer ghost known as Sadako.

I won't pick one version of this horror story as "better," as both have their strong points. But I will say this: Samara, Sadako's equivalent in the American remake, cannot even approach Sadako's badass factor...mostly because, in a bizarre decision by the makers of the American version, Samara was given dialog. And not good dialog, either. Stupid, bad, un-scary dialog.

Even in a market that is increasingly polluted with movies that use "creepy kids" in their failed attempts to be scary, Sadako stands out (crawls out?) as a shining example of what a great ghost should be: Quiet, lurching and tragically hirsute.

Sadako, you are a silent badass. We salute you.

Technorati: Ringu / The Ring / リング / ghosts / bad dialog

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