Cursed Video Analysis: Ringu

The following is a scene-by-scene analysis of Sadako's cursed video in Ringu.
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#1

Dr. Ikuma's face looking down in the well.

Meaning: Sadako is well aware of the identity of her murderer and has made his image the very first thing viewers of her video see.
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#2

Shizuko combing her hair in a mirror.

Meaning: Shizuko was obsessive-compulsive and would comb her hair for hours. Sadako may have recorded this because it was terribly characteristic of her mother, and she wanted her parentage to be known.

Cursed Video Analysis: Ring Virus

-coming soon-

Eun-Suh's Nensha Analysis

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The first nensha photograph that Sun-Joo holds up. It is the Chinese character for "mountain". I am not sure why Eun-Suh would create this character as there are no significant mountains in Ring Virus.
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The second nensha photograph that Sun-Joo holds up. It is the first Chinese character that would be used to write Eun-Suh's name, were it written in hanzi (恩) and not hangul (은). It is pronounced "eun" in Korean and could be interpreted as "grace", "mercy", "thankfulness", "blessing", etc.

Cursed Video Analysis: The Ring

The following is a scene-by-scene analysis of Samara's cursed video.

You may notice that some screenshots are square rather than rectangular. This is because I took them from my recording of the video rather than directly from the DVD; it is easier on my computer to play a recording in slow-motion.
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#1

Static.

Meaning: "ladies and gentlemen, please turn off all phones and pagers, the show is about to begin".
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#2

The ring.

Meaning: Fairly straightforward--this is what the well looks like from the inside, with the lid on. It also looks a bit like Samara's killing stare with the lightness and darkness swapped.

Tunnels (the ring sort of is one) and arches (the ladder in #30 sort of is one) indicate passage into another world or another state of being. The ring, in particular, is the way in and out of Samara's world. This may be why the characters in Rings get so enthused over rings and ladders.
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#3

Static.

Meaning: Possibly a conceptual transition of some kind; maybe moving from past to future images or from a concrete image to an abstract one.
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#4

Blood in rushing water.

Meaning: Generally considered foreshadowing of the Rachel/horse/ferry incident. I disagree because that event is not very significant, but I don't have a better interpretation.

Note that the water is moving from the bottom of the screen to the top in a wake, or as though coming from one spot.

Some speculate that this represents Samara injuring herself when she fell in the well; I disagree, because the water in the well would have been still.
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#5

A chair standing by itself in a white room.

Meaning: Possibly representative of Samara's isolation, both in the barn and in the psychiatric hospital.
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#6

The teeth of a comb running through black hair.

Meaning: Probably taken from the original Japanese films.

This is definitely a comb, while in the next scene, Anna Morgan is using a brush.
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#7

Anna Morgan, brushing her hair in a circular mirror.

Meaning: Probably taken from the original Japanese films.

Before the frame switches, Anna pauses, and her eyes widen as though she's spied something unexpected. Possibly Samara sneaked up behind her.
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#8

The same mirror, jumped over to the left side of the wall, with Samara reflected inside. Samara slowly recedes into the darkness.

Meaning: We see in Ringu 2 that Sadako would use her powers to change the mirror's place while her mother was brushing her hair; presumably Samara is doing the same thing. Possibly she is moving away from the mirror because her mother has scolded her for switching it.

Note that Samara doesn't walk backwards--she slides.
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#9

Anna Morgan, reflected in the mirror, looking to the side. The mirror has returned to its normal spot.

Meaning: Anna stops brushing her hair and smiles. She is probably looking at Samara, maybe satisfied with her scolding since Samara has moved the mirror back.
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#10

A nail dripping blood from its tip.

Meaning: Since the blood is coming out of the point of the nail, this may actually be representative of syringes and not related to the other nails in the video. Possibly refers to Samara being injected with various drugs in the psychiatric hospital.
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#11

Samara's father looking down out the house window.

Meaning: This is the view that Samara would have had from her swing set. Her father may have kept close watch on her whenever she was let out of the barn to ensure that she didn't start trouble.
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#12

A windswept cliff, with a fly walking in infinity loops on the "camera lens".

Meaning: The cliff that Anna threw herself off. Since the video was not made with a camera, we can assume that Samara deliberately put the (removable) fly there. Possibly it is meant to make the viewer aware that this is no ordinary video.

The fly could be linked to the maggots later on. Maggots are larval flies; they, like Samara's plot, have matured and can be removed from the video.
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#13

A face with large teeth and some sort of organ coming out of the mouth.

Meaning: Certainly reflecting Samara's feelings of hatred. Some speculate that this face is a combination of human and horse, representing the terror Samara inflicts on both.

The two main guesses as to what is coming out of the mouth are an intestine and an umbilical cord. There are good arguments for both. I initially thought it was a tongue, but the tongue is also visible and the organ is clearly coming out of the throat.

Since the end of the umbilical cord is not seen, it could be linked to the viewer of the tape, implying that one is somehow changed or even reborn (for the worse) by the watching of the tape. Alternately, it could symbolize Samara causing herself to be reborn, as the mouth has only to shut to tear the cord in half.

An intestine could represent general pain (as if one was having one's organs pulled out through the mouth).

The organ could also be an esophagus, representative of Samara's voice going from her to others. Rachel does tell Noah "She just wanted to be heard."
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#14

A thrashing head covered in black plastic.

Meaning: Certainly Samara's own death, as Anna smothered her with a black garbage bag before dumping her in the well.
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#15

The lid beginning to close over the well.

Meaning: On the surface, the lid being put on the well. In this shot, the lid makes it about a third of the way across; it is also about a third of the way through the video, and the watcher is a third of the way toward being cursed.
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#16

A burning tree.

Meaning: This is the same tree seen burned into Samara's wall and on one of her thoughtographs; it is her representation of the tree outside the well. It may be on fire to represent its red leaves, or to indicate that Samara does burn images instead of just making pictures.
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#17

A finger pushing down on a nail, pushing the fingernail off.

Meaning: Probably representative of Samara's fingernails peeling off as she tried to claw her way out of the well.
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#18

A mass of squirming maggots.

Meaning: Probably death and decay. Could also refer to the maggots that can be seen coming out of Samara's skull when her body is found.
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#19

A mass of people thrashing around.

Meaning: Possibly a nod to the "countless faces" of the cursed video in the novel. Samara may also be expressing sentiments of hatred again--that people are just like maggots.
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Picture
#20

A table, a chair, and a glass of water.

Meaning: Probably representative of the questioning sessions while Samara was in the psychiatric hospital. The doctor in the foreground has a glass of water on the table that appears to be the same.
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#21

The same scene as #20, but with an enormous centipede crawling out from underneath the table.

Meaning: If the table, chair, and water are the doctors' equipment, then the centipede may represent the doctor. If Samara thinks that the rest of mankind is a bunch of maggots, then the doctors are worse--they're centipedes.

Some speculate that this foreshadows Rachel finding a centipede in Samara's files. Again, since this is not a significant event, I do not think that Samara's video foreshadows Rachel's search. I think that Rachel found the centipede because one was in the video--not the other way around.
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#22

The hind end of a goat walking behind the barn door.

Meaning: Maybe just proof that Samara was shut up in a barn. The goat could be running away from her.

Some speculate that this is a dog, not a goat--but if you look closely, it has hooves.

Less likely, this could be drawing on the biblical sheep=good people, goats=bad people imagery, indicating that Samara would be classified with the goats.
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#23

A horse's eye.

Meaning: Most speculate that this foreshadows Rachel's ferry trip because this is the same horse eye shot shown on the ferry.

I think that this shot is supposed to mirror the view from inside the well--the light reflected in the eye makes the crescent of light let in by the well lid. It's a horse's eye because of Samara's connection with the horses.
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#24

Seven severed fingers twitching in a box.

Meaning: The best theory I've run across is that the seven fingers represent the seven days, and the box represents the well. This seems especially likely since the fingers are twitching as though they are dying.

The fingers resemble the maggots in #18. It's also worth noting that the box appears to be on the same table as #20, across from the glass of water.
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#25

The same as #14.
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#26

Same as #16
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#27

Anna Morgan turning around to look at the "cameraholder" with a displeased expression.

Meaning: Anna is looking at someone at eye level, which means she's probably looking at the viewer, not Samara. Perhaps Samara wanted the viewer to get an idea of what her mother was like when mad.
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#28

The same shot as #10, but with Richard Morgan gone.

Meaning: Possibly representative of feelings of abandonment by her father, either for sending her to the psychiatric hospital or for shutting her up in the barn.

It could also be that Richard Morgan has left the window in order to get Samara to put her in the barn.
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#29

The same chair as #5, but upside-down and spinning around.

Meaning: Possibly representative of feelings of turmoil at being thrown into the psychiatric hospital.

Alternatively, Samara may have played with her chair psychically because she was so bored.
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#30

A ladder leaning against a wall.

Meaning: While this is probably the ladder used by Samara to climb up into her room in the barn, the white, industrial surroundings seem to indicate lingering resentment for her time in the psychiactric hospital.
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#31

Dead horses lying on the beach.

Meaning: Probably just a reference to Samara killing the Morgan horses.
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Picture
#32

The same cliff as in #11, but without the fly. Instead, Anna Morgan lets herself fall forward off the cliff.

Meaning: Anna's suicide.
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#33

The ladder falling away from the "cameraholder" and down.

Meaning: Richard Morgan probably took the ladder away so that she could not get out of the barn. This may be symbolic of that.

Samara probably wasn't shut up in the barn until after she returned from the psychiatric hospital, so the falling ladder may also represent Samara's hopes coming crashing down with the death of her mother.
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#34

The lid being pushed the rest of the way across the well.

Meaning: Samara being fully sealed in the well; indicative that the video is nearing its end.
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#35

The ladder hitting the ground.

Meaning: Probably representative of the finality of fate, both Samara's and the viewer's--by now the viewer is fully cursed.
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Picture
Picture
#36

The well.

Meaning: The well Samara was trapped in; she climbs out of this scene and out of the television to kill her victims.

Yes, this scene does change. As the film progresses, more and more of Samara is visible coming out of the well--first a hand, then the hand and head.

Cursed Video Analysis: The Ring Two

-coming soon-

Samara's Thoughtography Analysis

It is unclear whether Samara made these thoughtographs at home or in the mental institution. All four appear to be foreshadowing events either in Samara's life or in the events of the first Ring film.

Since the images in all of the cursed videos can be divided into abstract, concrete, and both, it seems natural to do the same with Samara's thoughtographs.
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The first thoughtograph that Noah holds up.

Concretely, it is an image of a skeletal rocking horse over waves with a sun to the right.

Abstractly, this may show Samara's desire to kill the horses at the Morgans' ranch.
  • Samara had a rocking horse in the barn, but rocking horses do not have lifelike bones inside.
  • Here the horse is shown over waves; Samara caused the horses to drown themselves.
  • The "sun" in the corner is identical to the circles that Samara's victims find themselves drawing during their seven days.
  • All this suggests to me that Samara may have had an idea of what was coming and decided to off her parents' beloved horses as revenge ahead of time.
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The second thoughtograph that Noah holds up.

Concretely, this is an X-ray of a doll pierced by syringes and nails. The doll has been buried; a person wearing ankle-high shoes stands above the doll.

Abstractly, this may be Samara trying to predict the nature of the bad thing that would be coming to her.
  • This layout is reminiscent of Aidan's drawings of a girl underground.
  • In Aidan's drawings, the girl underground is Samara; likely the doll here is also Samara. Notice that the ponytail drifts upward as though it were underwater rather than buried.
  • Toward the end of her stay at the psychiatric hospital, Samara was kept heavily sedated "for the staff's protection"; the syringes may also represent her medical treatment in general.
  • The doll being underground represents Samara's death in the well. Notice that one syringe is poking out of the ground--the well's shaft.
  • The person standing over the doll appears to be female by the shape of the legs. However, this person may simply represent all the people who stayed in the cabin unknowing of the well (and Samara) beneath. The fact that the person is facing away from the doll backs this up.
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The third thoughtograph that Noah holds up.

Concretely, it's the tree outside the cabin.

Abstractly, this may be Samara trying to predict the location of her death.
  • The tree becomes the marking place of the area where Samara died. This tree tips Rachel and Noah off that they are looking for something nearby.
  • There are actually two trees in the picture--the white tree in the foreground, and the black tree in the background. This could be the real tree and the tree's shadow. This could also be the real tree (white) and the tree that Samara burned into her wall (black). If she knew that she would die somewhere near this tree, she may have been trying to leave clues to lead people in the future to her body.
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The fourth and final thoughtograph that Noah holds up.

Concretely, it is either two skeletal lizards or two skeletal lizard toys, six jacks, and two television antennae with wires sticking up in between.

Abstractly, this may be Samara predicting what will happen after her death.
  • The television antenna could represent Samara's means of revenge. Since the entire television is not in the picture (even though she knows what one looks like), she may not have known yet what form her curse would take--simply that she would transmit it telepathically and that it would involve televisions.
  • The two lizards could simply be toys Samara owned. However, dinosaurs/lizards are not typically the toy of choice for a little girl. There's a big lizard and a little lizard--I think that Samara knew that there would be a parent and child who would figure prominently in her fate.
  • The jacks would likely be a toy that Samara played with. However, there's no ball, and there's only six of them. Seven is the key number for The Ring--so why six? It could be due to the rolling dice in Sadako's video in the novel, which land on a one and a five, making six. Dice and jacks are both used by tossing/rolling.
  • Alternatively, the four jacks in a row could represent Katie and her friends, whom Samara would kill all at once. The jack inside the wires could represent Noah, whom Samara would kill alone. The jack with the lizards could represent either Rachel, the one who would get away, or Aidan, whom Samara would have control over but not be able to kill.
  • Alternatively, the jacks could represent Samara's curse as the large lizard (Rachel) appears to be handing one to the little lizard (Aidan), and Rachel inadvertently provided the means for Aidane to get cursed.
  • Alternatively alternatively, the jacks could represent the number of days Samara would give her victims (six) before she acted on the final (seventh) day.