Reviews: The Manchurian Candidate, The Ring

The Manchurian Candidate (2004), for those who haven’t heard of it, is a remake of a 1962 film of the same name, which was itself based on Richard Condon’s novel…of the same name. It’s not a bad film, but if conspiracy theories irritate or bore you, steer clear of this one. The actors (Meryl Streep, Denzel Washington etc) are all of excellent caliber, and the story really was gripping for the paranoia of the early Cold  War era, but for me, it just made the whole thing silly and unbearable – I finished it merely because the extent of that crazy scenario was only revealed towards the end. Call me a skeptic, but I would probably have enjoyed it more had it been just crazy idea in the head of this one guy.

I finally got around to watching The Ring, the Hollywood version of リング. As with most remakes…I like the original more. That’s probably due to the main difference between Eastern and Western horror films – nowadays, the latter typically rely more upon the shock factor and lots of blood as opposed to tension and mystery. It never used to be this way – think Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and Ridley Scott’s Alien. I think many people would argue that The Ring is suspenseful and really doesn’t rely on blood etc. In fact, using animals to convey the evil hanging over Rachel Keller is quite symbolic and reflective of how they are able to detect approaching natural disasters (I don’t know whether their ‘sixth sense’ extends to being able to identify people will ill intentions). However, the death of the horses – of one in particular – primarily had the effect of raising the gross-out factor. East Asian horror is, above all, creepy. It’s what we don’t know that we fear, and it’s something that we feel but cannot see signs to – and if animals are telling us that something is wrong, it somehow lessens the impact. The impact scene also wasn’t as effective in this version, though that could be because I’d already seen the original and knew exactly what was coming. At any rate, the comparison has been interesting…I’m just not sure if certain stories and themes can be translated into another culture effectively.

About karice
MAG fan, translator, and localization project manager. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

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