ByDaniel Rodriguez, writer at
Daniel Rodriguez

Horror franchises are resurfacing everywhere these days. Sadako, the original Japanese cursed tape girl, came back in 2016 in a crossover battle against Kayako. As soon as the Ringu fire was lit once more in the hearts of horror fans, America rushed to take a new sequel for The Ring out of the paper, 11 years after the release of Ring II.

Rings, a.k.a. Ring III, is directed by F. Javier Gutiérrez and written by Jacob Estes, Akiva Goldsman and David Loucka. It stars Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki, Aimee Teegarden, Vincent D’Onofrio and Bonnie Morgan as Samara. The cast members from the two previous films aren't returning to this sequel.

This is the official synopsis, as it can be read in the YouTube trailer:

A new chapter in the beloved Ring horror franchise. A young woman becomes worried about her boyfriend when he explores a dark subculture surrounding a mysterious videotape said to kill the watcher seven days after he has viewed it. She sacrifices herself to save her boyfriend and in doing so makes a horrifying discovery: there is a “movie within the movie” that no one has ever seen before...

Usually in this series of lists, I don't include films from the same franchise because they tend to see the obvious choices. It is necessary to watch Ring and Ring II before this third installment, so the idea is to gather other films with similar plot points, aesthetics or atmosphere. However, since is a huge cross-continental franchise, it felt necessary to add some franchise-related films.

8. 'Flight 7500'

After the initial J-horror boom, Hideo Nakata and Takashi Shimizu, the men behind Ringu and Ju-on went on to the United States to direct part of the remake's franchises. Although Nakata's passage through the US was a short one, Takashi Shimizu decided to work with American audiences again, many years after his succesful debut with Sarah Michelle Gellar's The Grudge.

Flight 7500 had a troubled production and almost disappeared into thin air after many years in post-prod limbo. When it finally came out, it received little to no love from audiences. As the trailer for Rings suggests, we are going to see a haunting on a plane, which makes Flight 7500 a great pick.

'Flight 7500' [Credit: Lionsgate / CBS Films]
'Flight 7500' [Credit: Lionsgate / CBS Films]

7. 'Sinister'

Still in the United States, you really need to watch Sinister. Besides the completely different approach, Scott Derrickson's film also features an evil force spreading its evil through video. Bhaguul is a hipster who likes shooting on film, while Samara has gone full digital. Sinister also features Vincent D'Onofrio in almost the same role he is going to play in Rings.

'Sinister' [Credit: Summit Entertainment]
'Sinister' [Credit: Summit Entertainment]

6. 'Rings'

Few people know about this, but there was an American short film that works as a follow up to The Ring's universe. Directed by Jonathan Liebesman and released back in 2005, this 15-minute long short features a guy investigating a cult that exists around Samara's tape. It is a far more contrived and interesting plot than most of the sequels out there in the world.

5. 'The Ring Virus'

Before finally arriving in Japan, there is one layover in South Korea. In the wake of Ringu (even before the American remake, The Ring), the good people of South Korea bought the adaptation rights and made their own remake of Hideo Nakata's massive hit. Story says that The Ring Virus was supposed to be an adaptation of Koji Suzuki's novel of the same name that inspired Hideo Nakata's massive hit. However, being released a mere year after Ringu and having too many structural similarities, it is hard not to consider it a remake.

Instead of Sadako Yamamura or Samara Morgan, the psychic evil girl who comes from the bottom of the well is Park Eun-Suh.

'The Ring Virus' [Credit: AFDF]
'The Ring Virus' [Credit: AFDF]

4. 'Exte: Hair Extensions'

The advent of in the turn of the century created one of the most prominent and popular horror tropes of this generation: the long-haired ghost. With that in mind, Sion Sono, one of the greatest Japanese filmmakers working today, created the insane Exte: Hair Extensions, a film that pokes fun at this trope in a most innovative and freaking manner.

Also, puking hair is for the weak.

'Exte: Hair Extensions' [Credit: Toei Company]
'Exte: Hair Extensions' [Credit: Toei Company]

3. 'Pulse'

Another common trope associated with the J-horror subgenre is the fear of technology. Modern devices are often used as channels of manifestation for evil forces, as it happens with the VHS tapes on Ringu or the cellphones in One Missed Call, to name a few.

Pulse, by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, is a film that takes the fear of technology to a whole new level, introducing the internet as a tool that propagates evil in immeasurably fast rates and that reinforces isolation and distances people. Not only does the horror remain frightening, but the social commentary proved to be remarkably ahead of its time, which makes Pulse one of the most relevant films of the 21st century.

'Pulse' [Credit: Toho Company]
'Pulse' [Credit: Toho Company]

2. 'P.O.V.: A Cursed Film'

This mockumentary about a TV crew attempting to help a team member get rid of a curse is a condensation of every J-horror device released up to that point. It basically features a cursed high-school girl that watched a cursed tape, recorded by a cursed long-haired woman in a cursed school.

P.O.V. is one of the scariest faux documentaries ever made and a J-horror flick that deserves a lot more recognition.

'P.O.V.' [Credit: Toho]
'P.O.V.' [Credit: Toho]

1. 'Sadako 3D'

Before facing off Kayako, the ghost of Sadako Yamamura had terrorized people once again in 2012 and 2013 with Sadako 3D Part 1 & 2. Besides the clearly different addition of the 3D element, the most notable aspect of this film was transporting the cursed video from VHS to digital format, which allowed it to be spread through the internet, making Sadako an all-powerful entity, potentially capable of exterminating a considerable part of the human race. It's almost like a prequel to Pulse.

The trailer of the upcoming Rings seems to add many different elements to this universe. Sadako 3D is the closest thing in existence to this new film!

'Sadako 3D' [Credit: Kadokawa Shoten Company]
'Sadako 3D' [Credit: Kadokawa Shoten Company]

Check out the trailer for Rings below:

Which of these Ring-inspired horror films did you like most?

The gifs were found at Sphiraphobia


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