Ring 0: Birthday (リング0 バースデイ Ringu 0: Bāsudei) is a 2000 japanese psychological horror film. It's the prequel to the film Ring. It was directed by Norio Tsuruta, based on a screenplay by Hiroshi Takahashi. The film's screenplay is based on the short story Lemonheart from the Birthday anthology by Koji Suzuki. There is also a manga adaptation. It was nominated for Best Film at the 2001 Fantasporto.
The film takes place 30 years prior to the events of Ring, and depicts the life of 19-year-old Sadako Yamamura (Yukie Nakama), the antagonist of previous films. In this film, her role shifts to that of a protagonist. The story begins with a reporter named Miyaji Akiko, whose fiancé was a reporter killed during Shizuko's ESP demonstration, as she attempts to gather more information on Sadako's past from a grade school Sadako stayed at. Meanwhile, Sadako herself joins an acting troupe and falls in love with one of the members of that troupe, Hiroshi Toyama (Seiichi Tanabe) only to be tormented by her own psychic abilities and the hatred of the other troupe members. As the film progresses, Miyaji soon discovers the disturbing truth that the entire troupe has become "cursed" due to Sadako's presence, and that there is a "second" Sadako, an evil child who is responsible for the deaths of the reporters at the ESP demonstration. At the opening day of the troupe's play, one of Toyama's co-workers is able to help Miyaji in playing the recording of the ESP demonstration. Upon hearing this while on stage, Sadako loses control of her psychic abilities, destroying the stage and killing the doctor who had been counseling her. The rest of the troupe (except for Toyama) then gangs up on Sadako and brutally beats her, leaving her seemingly dead. Miyaji then tells them of the "second Sadako", and that they must rid themselves of the Sadako they have known in order to avoid the second child. Arriving at Sadako's old home, Toyama is shocked when Sadako revives and demands that he leave her before it is too late. Toyama, however, refuses, and tries to escape with her. After running to a cliff, Sadako is suddenly overcome by her "second" self, and kills Toyama and eventually the rest of the acting troupe. She then comes to her senses and mourns her actions. Sadako's adoptive father, Dr. Ikuma, decides that he must destroy her. He drugs Sadako by injecting her with poison, but she escapes and crawls to the family well, backing up it. She sees Ikuma coming towards her with a wood-splitting axe. She pleads for her life, but Ikuma brings down the blade on her head. Ikuma brings down the axe again, and throws the body down the dark well. Sadako wakes to see her lover, but it is just a hallucination. As she realizes where she is, she looks up in time to see a stone being slid into place, sealing her alive inside and cutting off her screams.
- Yukie Nakama as Sadako Yamamura
- Kumiko Asou as Tachihara Etsuko
- Tanabe Seiichi as Toyama Hiroshi