Horror movies are like pornography -- what does it for me may not do it for you, and the reason is best left to psychiatrists. That said, Gore Verbinski's sadistic ''The Ring scared the bejesus out of me in theaters last year, so it was with some trepidation that I screened the widely hailed-as-superior 1998 Japanese original, Ringu, about that cursed video that kills all unlucky enough to watch it. (And no, it doesn't star Eddie Murphy.)
But I don't see how ''Ringu'' is the better film -- largely because ''The Ring'' is a remake that's almost identical to the original. In both, cutie-pie journalists (Naomi Watts and Nanako Matsushima) with saucer-eyed children and scruffy ex-husbands face down that demonically clever plot device that turns universal household items into the stuff of the Brothers Grimm. The plots differ only slightly, but the scares are more or less the same. And I had to watch them twice. So now, if you don't mind, I'm off to the corner of my office to curl into a fetal position and rock slowly.