The film opens on two high-school girls sharing ghost stories about a cursed videotape. Rumour has it that those who watch the videotape receive a call soon after and are told by a mysterious voice that they will die in one week. One of the girls admits to having seen the tape with three others a week before. When they all die unexpectedly on the same day a reporter, Reiko Asakawa, begins to follow the case of the cursed tape. When she watches the tape herself the phonecall comes shortly after and she must race to discover the secret of the tape in order to prevent her own death.
With a simple plot and small cast of characters the film builds a believable mythology surrounding the cursed tape and the audience is drawn into the story immediately. From the eerie opening violin stings the score is enjoyable and adds a lot to the character of the film. Although the film is regarded as a horror, it is more of a mystery thriller with horror elements than flat-out terrifying. Director Hideo Nakata does a fantastic job of creating tension and the film is strongest when it relies on subtle camera angles or eerie situations.
A well-made ghost story which uses minimal gore but a great deal of atmosphere and suspense. This is worth a watch as it has become one of the most famous horror films of all time, and the character of the ghost, Sadako, is perhaps one of the best known characters in Japanese film.
Based on the book by Koji Suzuki.